“The private sector is doing fine” — a Democratic talking point, not a gaffe

Marc Thiessen points out that President Obama’s claim that the private sector is doing fine actually echoes the words of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid from eight months ago. Said Reid: “It’s very clear that private-sector jobs are doing just fine.”

So Obama’s statement isn’t a gaffe, but rather a window into the world view of the Democratic left.

As Thiessen shows, Obama and Reid have it precisely backwards. Government statistics show that the unemployment rate for government workers is 4.2 percent, far below the overall unemployment rate which exceeds 8 percent. Thus, it is the public sector that, comparatively speaking, is doing “fine.”

We can compare Obama’s “gaffe” to that of Mitt Romney, who famously declared that he is not concerned about the very poor, who have a safety net, or the very rich, but rather about “the very heart of the America, the 90 percent, 95 percent of Americans who right now are struggling.” What Romney probably meant is that his focus as president will be on policies to boost the vast middle, rather than the very poor (who have thay safety net) and the very rich (who don’t need help).

Obama probably understands that the private sector isn’t actually doing fine. What he means is that his focus as president will continue to be on helping the public sector rather than the private sector. In practice, this probably means helping the public sector at the expense of the private sector.

Photo courtesy Shutterstock.

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