(CNSNews.com) – President Barack Obama said today that the private sector is doing fine but that the economy is suffering because of cuts in state and local government.
“The private sector is doing fine,” Obama said at a press conference on Friday. “Where we’re seeing weaknesses in our economy, have to do with state and local government -- oftentimes, cuts initiated by governors or mayors who are not getting the kind of help that they have in the past from the federal government and who don’t have the same kind of flexibility as the federal government in dealing with fewer revenues coming in.”
State and local leaders were not the only ones to blame for a bad economy, as the president also blamed Republicans in Congress.
“If Republicans want to be helpful, if they really want to move forward, and put people back to work, what they should be thinking about is, ‘How do we help state and local governments and how do we help the construction industry?’” Obama said. “Because the recipes that they’re promoting are basically the kinds of policies that would add weakness to the economy, would result in further layoffs, would not provide relief in the housing market, and would result – I think most economists would estimate – in lower growth.”
Obama’s remarks about not enough state employees comes the same week that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican, survived a union-backed recall election because he curbed some of the state employee benefits and collective bargaining rules. Walker won the recall by a 9 percent margin, 54 to 45 percent.
“I was extremely disappointed to hear the president assert this morning that ‘the private sector is doing fine,’” Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) said in a press release today. “Just as disappointing was his statement, ‘where we’re seeing weaknesses in our economy had to do with state and local government’ and what our nation needs is an expansion of government to cure our economic ills.”
“We have had 40 consecutive months of unemployment above 8 percent,” said Johnson. “The economy is teetering on the edge of recession. And just last Friday, the Obama administration announced that unemployment is on the rise. This president may be seriously out of touch with reality, and that is frightening.”
Unemployment rose from 8.1 percent in April to 8.2 percent in May, according to the U.S. Labor Department. Real GDP growth for the first quarter of 2012 was 1.9 percent.
“The economy is not fine. Private sector job creation is not fine,” Johnson continued. “Millions of Americans are suffering from the president’s constant focus on growing government, instead of reasonable, bipartisan steps to promote private-sector job creation. It is high time we had a president who was focused on economic growth. It is time for a change in course. It’s time for real leadership.”