House Dem: GOP should expand government jobs like Reagan did

Connolly acknowledged that Reagan cut taxes, but said Reagan raised taxes several times, and also allowed the number of government workers to rise, which Connolly said helped improve the overall jobs picture.

"The other notable thing Ronald Reagan did was to preside over a nation with a sharp increase in public sector employment from local, state and federal levels," Connolly said.

"While today's Republicans may try to argue otherwise, teaching jobs are jobs, firefighters have jobs, police jobs are jobs," he added. "Three of the last four economic recoveries had one thing in common — public-sector employment increased."

Connolly said jobs in the public sector increased by 1 to 3.5 percent in the recessions of the 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s.

"In contrast, today's recovery from the recent recession has seen total public sector [employment] decrease by 2.5 percent, largely because the Republicans have gotten their way in trying to shrink the public sector," he said.

Connolly added that if public-sector employment had remained steady for the last few years, the unemployment rate would be 7.8 percent, not 8.2 percent. And he said that Republican attempts to freeze spending and push for cuts has hurt construction jobs around the country.

"It's unfortunate that today's Republicans have lost sight of the value of investing in America in a fiscally responsible manner, because the nation's construction industry has been the hardest hit," he said.

The government on Friday released jobs data for May that showed the United States created a net 69,000 jobs for the month, a number that was much lower than expected and prompted each political party to blame the other for the poor showing. Democrats said the numbers show that Republicans need to allow legislation to pass in Congress that would expand federal spending to create jobs, while Republicans said the numbers showed that the Obama administration's stimulus spending has failed to spark meaningful job creation.

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