KARIN GALLO: About three years ago, just under three years ago, I took a job with the federal government, thinking it was a secure job. Recently I've been told I'm being laid off as of June 4th. And it is not an opportune time for me, I am seven months pregnant in a high-risk pregnancy, my first pregnancy. My husband and I are in the middle of building a house. We're not sure if we're gonna be completely approved. I'm not exactly in a position to waltz right in and -- and do great on interviews, based on my timing with the birth. And -- so, I'm stressed, I'm worried. I'm scared about what I -- what my future holds. I definitely need a job. And -- I just wonder what would you do, if you were me? (LAUGH)Where did CBS News find this woman? She is at the end of a high risk pregnancy, and was fired from a job after her husband and she began to build a new home. She is articulate and has a good sense of humor with a great sense of comedic timing. What are the odds that another person would have her skill set and experience this series of unfortunate events? She is certainly not a representative American. President Obama starts well suggesting that she should get a job but then gives a normative opinion that does not have positive support.
…let me just first of all say that -- workers like you for the federal, state, and local governments are so important for our vital services. And in -- and it frustrates me sometimes when people talk about "government jobs" as if somehow those are worth less than private sector jobs. I -- I think there's nothin' more important than -- workin' on behalf of the American people.Is someone collecting trash for the government really “working more on the behalf of the American people” than someone who collects trash for a private firm? Is a government doctor or professor really more valuable to society than a private doctor or professor? Taking his statement to its logical conclusion, should we all work for the government to maximize our benefit to the American people?
Economists agree that government can provide valuable jobs within an economy. Milton Friedman, an economist famed for supporting a minimalist government, wrote in “Capitalism and Freedom”
A government which maintained law and order, defined property rights, served as a means whereby we could modify property rights and other rules of the economic game, adjudicated disputes about the interpretation of the rules, enforced contracts, promoted competition, provided a monetary framework, engaged in activities to counter technical monopolies and to overcome neighborhood effects widely regarded as sufficiently important to justify government intervention, and which supplemented private charity and the private family in protecting the irresponsible, whether madman or child—such a government would clearly have important functions to perform.The correct question to ask is, given the current allocation of private and government jobs, should the next job added be private or government.