August 11th, 2009
01:50 PM ET

Nationwide govt. hiring freeze until after recession?

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/08/11/jc.jobfairs3.gi.jpg caption="Should there be a nationwide government hiring freeze until the recession is over?"]

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

During a recession most people tend to cut back-unless you're the government.

The state of California – which has a budget deficit of more than $26 billion dollars – added thousands of people to the state payroll last year. The state of California has lost nearly 760,000 private sector jobs during the same time that the government was adding 3,600 people to the state payroll.

Taxpayer groups are outraged, and rightfully so. They suggest cutting jobs, not hiring more people, should be the answer during tough economic times... which seems pretty logical. They say, "When there's no money left in the till, you should economize."

But state employees say they're being punished for the government's irresponsible financial decisions – like hiring thousands of additional workers when the state deficit is in the tens of billions of dollars. They point to unpaid furloughs as an example, saying the furloughs equal about a 14% pay cut for some state employees.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger says monthly payroll costs have decreased by about 10% because of these furloughs. Also, the governor says the increase in workers is due to more demand on the state for services during the recession.

One state official insists that "it wouldn't be much of a safety net if we cut down services people needed most" during the recession. For example, some of the biggest increases came in the state's unemployment agency.

SO HERE'S THE QUESTION: Should there be a nationwide government hiring freeze until the recession is over?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Ron in Flint, Michigan
Jack, I'm from a city that has an unemployment rate of 28%. The government is one of America's largest employers. I certainly agree steps need to be taken to get us out of the recession, and one step is to increase hiring.

Simply having a hiring freeze isn't going to fix the problem. Many of those government employees are grossly overpaid along with collecting ridiculous pension and health benefits that nobody else gets these days. I don't know about you, but I'm tired of public servants living better than me on my dime.

There should be a hiring freeze if there is a freeze in the demands that people make of their government. I don't understand why people can't make the connection that government services aren't free, and just because there is a recession does not mean that people's demand or need for those services decreases. In fact, the demand for public services probably increases.

Emma in San Luis Obispo, California
No, Jack. I have four applications/interviews in for a job with the feds and with the state of California. We need jobs and we need to put the American people back to work, no matter who is doing the hiring… I lost my job in Dec. of last year and haven't been able to find another one.

Of course there should be a freeze on hiring more government workers. As a matter of fact, there should be a substantial cut in government workers. Every other business has to do this when you're losing money, why do government workers think they are immune?

Filed under: Recession
soundoff (128 Responses)
  1. Bill of Hewlett, NY

    The taxpayer groups are NOT right to be outraged. Those public employees are necessary for the increased demand for public services. Besides, the furloughs have reduced payroll costs by 10%. In addition, employing people creates more purchasing power that will in turn stimulate business.

    I wonder about the motives behind such outrage. Why is the rage not directed against the banks, the health care industry, and the government that failed to regulate? Why do the poor always seem to be punished so harshly during economic hard times? Could it be that the taxpayer groups simply don't want to land a helping hand?

    August 11, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  2. Kevin Washington

    No there should not be a hiring freeze.
    The goverment needs to lead the way in hiring.
    Corprate america needs t stop the hate and step up to the plate
    obama is tring to bring back the wealth for all like during the clinton gore. administration. every time this president trys to make a difference the conservative hater always have some type of excuse
    They republican party eliminated the middle class,now its rich and poor people nothing in between .They always talk about cost and they soon forget the wrongful spending they did for the past 8 years.This party is disgusted and busted and can not be trusted

    Kevin CA.

    August 11, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  3. Linda in Arizona

    I don't know about a freeze. Maybe just some cutbacks would do.

    August 11, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  4. Sam

    At a time when so many are out of work and government jobs are being created at such astounding rates, it would be foolish to put a freeze on hiring. Government jobs provide people with the means to put food on their tables, while ultimately helping society as a whole.

    August 11, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  5. Dee in Florida

    Isn't one way to help the "recession" get over, HIRING PEOPLE?

    Isn't just about the biggest problem we are currently facing, UNEMPLOYMENT.

    So, how can a hiring freeze be a great idea? Would those hired just sock their money away in a hidey hole, or would they SPEND it, thus stimulating the economy?

    Isn't hiring freezes (and layoffs) in the private sector the major cause of the recession?

    No, there should NOT be a hiring freeze. People need JOBS and they need them now! Maybe if the governments (federal and state) didn't have hiring freezes right now, maybe they would hire enough people to man the phones so the rest of us who are unemployed could at least get something besides a recording when we have a problem or concern with out unemployment benefits!

    August 11, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  6. Ruth Ann Olson

    Living in Southfield, Mi.

    Of course economizing in a recession is a necessity but a nationwide hiring freeze is not wise. Not only would some jobs disappear but since circumstances can change and there may be a need for more employees in some places. Jobs are the most important part of a recovery and they need to increase, not decrease.

    August 11, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  7. OBDAG in Appleton, WI

    The idea of a government hiring freeze does have some merit, The difficulty I have is how did they pay for the CCC and WWW during the earlier depression we got ourselves into. Personally I've been kicking around the idea of chain gangs to cut the weeds along the interstate system as a means of getting a task completed rather than hiring or keeping government paid workers to do the task. Imitially my thought make me think of Cool Hand, Luke, but the more I've considered the idea the better it sounds to have prison and jail immates perform the jobs we don't have the money at present. It would also help keep healthcare costs down by helping the prisoners gewt in better physical shape at the sametime, All we need for this program is some horses, shotguns, and plenty of sunglasses for the guards. It is something that could be done quickly, inexpensively, and serve a useful purpose.

    August 11, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  8. Joel from Cherry Hill, NJ

    Absolutely not! If there's a hiring freeze and the work still has to get done, it'll pay time and a half to current workers to work overtime. (Yeah, the government does that sort of thing.)

    How about if the government takes the opportunity of renegotiating its next contract with its workers, excluding its obligation to pay a pension for the rest of the worker's life to all new hires. Instead, civil servants (and, new teachers) could have a 401K (or, 403B) to which the government could contribute a percentage of the worker's salary.

    We could get the same high quality service one might expect from someone who is virtually "unfireable" and we might be able to either realize a tax savings or start to pay down the deficit.

    August 11, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  9. Jay in Texas

    I don't think the Federal government has the right to dictate when states can hire and when they can't. It is the voters of each state who are to blame for the actions of their own state government. If they want to correct these terrible problems, they need to develop a longer memory and remember who not to vote for in the next election. Hint: stop electing greedy Democrats and Republicans.
    Brownwood, Texas

    August 11, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  10. Donna Colorado Springs,Co

    Absolutely! There's enough government people taking up space while doing squat!

    August 11, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  11. A. Davis, Sacramento, CA

    WHAT? OMG no. We need to put as many people to work as possible. I didn't vote for Arnold (and never would), but I have to feel sorry for him–California is ungovernable. I'm a liberal and support social programs, but people bus in here to be taken care of. The program Jerry Brown (Moonbeam) started "welfare to work" or some such name was destroyed after his term ended. It was a social program that taught people how to look for work, trained them for a job and got them off welfare. Hopefully cash for clunkers will put our auto makers back to work?????

    August 11, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  12. Ken in NC

    Yes Jack. After everyone goes back to work there should be a hiring freeze until the recession ends. The only jobs to be filled during the freeze should be those jobs that become open due to the loss of an employee and unemployment benefits should be extended for Republicans until such time as Mexico decides to accept them.

    August 11, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  13. Rich, Kankakee, IL.

    All I know when business is bad you don't keep increasing your payroll by constantly hiring more people that you can't afford to pay!

    August 11, 2009 at 4:27 pm |

    It depends on what state it is. California is in a very bad situation, so far in debt, some states are doing pretty good. This should have been taken care of during the last administration, and not let it have gotten so far out of hand. The Gop got this Country in such a huge mess, knowing that it would be passed to the Democrats to fix. Bush doesn't show his face anymore. I guess the GOP are ashamed of him.

    August 11, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  15. Doris/St Louis

    The Gov. should stop hiring people inorder to correct a poor economy, is that the question? Let me get this right, loss of jobs=increased homelessness=increase in poverty= an end to the recession? This just does not add up, in my opinon.

    August 11, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  16. Richard Sternagel

    No if it entails necessary services i.e. police, firemen, teachers.

    August 11, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  17. John

    Sure, hire away, my kids will be good for it!

    New York, NY

    August 11, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  18. jolene davis/yoakum yx

    I would hope someone has already thought of this in the federal gov...Oh wait we have all those politicos to repay for the hard work they have done....Yes freeze the hiring do the homework to see if all those positions truly need to be filled or is someone trying to save there slice of the budget pie..Is there no common sense left in goverment any longer, have they all forgotten how to balance there budget no wonder we are in this trouble...spend spend then explain why

    August 11, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  19. Ron from SF

    No, making it harder to find a job, only makes the problem worse. Each suggestion like this, scares people even more and causes them to close their wallets even tighter. What we need is a massive WPA to stimulate spending and our crumbling infrastructure needed that yesterday. Sadly, 40% of the stimulus was wasted in tax cuts, so I'm not hopeful for the future, especially when we have right wing demands for hiring freezes like this. Every time I turn around, what the Republicans propose—seems to be designed to make matters worse.

    August 11, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  20. Jane (Minnesota)

    I'd rather see people hired to work on infrastructure projects that need to be completed than hired by the government. Unfortunately one piece of the increasing deficits is the number of people who are not working and paying their share of taxes.

    August 11, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  21. Paula From GA

    Every state has gone in the Hiring freeze. Companies are changing shifts of people. A few are giving choices to take early retirment or be fired on the spot. Oh yea, you spinned the Economy is BETTER!! You better Yell I don't think they heard you in Small businesses or Companies across this country. The only thing they see is Higher taxes and mandates to cover the Democrats Social Agenda. you can't have a profit in your Accounts. We get every penny and dimes you got.

    August 11, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  22. Ralph

    Jack that would be the wrong thing to do. At a time when ever company in America is laying off workers the last thing we need is for the Government to stop offering the only door a lot of people have at getting a good paying job. Americans still need more teachers, fireman, police officers and our infrastructure is falling apart and in need of major repairs. Can you imagine what America would look like if the Gov. stopped hiring the skilled labor that we need to keep us afloat? How many more bridges have to collapse and water mains have to brake before we are pushed back into the dark ages. Its bad enough that we only have enough people working on these problems just to put a band-aid on it. No, if anything we need the Gov. to hire as many people as they possible can.

    August 11, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  23. Susan from Twin Falls Idaho

    Of course, and get rid of a lot of the ones on the payroll. Many of them have been promoted beyond their ability to function properly at that level. Longevity doesn't always equate to productivity.

    August 11, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  24. Wm in PA

    Till we realize that greed; – increasing profits by sending our productive jobs to the lowest wage parts of the world, and using deficit taxpayer dollars to pay Wall Streeters billions in bonuses we are doomed to failure and our current depression will deepen. A family with no living wage earner is in serious trouble. Jobs of any type are good. Better to have people work than only draw benefits. But building a base of productive American jobs for Americans is necessary to stave off poverty, strife and turmoil.
    The hate mongers and right-wing-nuts cheered on by the likes CNN's own Lou Dobbs et. al., are instigating violence: American on American. All our real enemies are cheering as we self-destruct. When on active US military duty we would have called them traitors – which they are.

    August 11, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  25. Carl D.

    Not only should there be a government hiring freeze, they should start cutting some of the dead-beats they have on there pay roll now.
    Carl in Illinois

    August 11, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  26. julie

    As a laid off state employee who has spent months putting in applications, sending in resumes and trying to get an interview, I say if the only one hiring is the government at least it's gainful emplyment that will give someone a paycheck that they can then spend at a local store who then might have to hire another unemployed worker because business picked up. That person will then have money to spend etc,etc and hopefully at some point we can all get back to work without having to move to India or China. Anyone know of any jobs out there???

    August 11, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  27. Angel, Birmingham, AL

    Yes. They should freeze government hiring during this recession. They should also freeze PRICES - since many are earning less or have lost jobs - but they aren't likely to do that, either.

    August 11, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  28. Sherri-Illinois

    Its a 2 edged sword Jack! 6.7M jobless Americans who desperately want to be employed again BUT if the States can't afford to hire because they are financially straped then so be it, I just hope they don't start laying their employees off so save money because that just adds to the problem i.e. more unemployed!

    August 11, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  29. Bill in Sacramento, CA

    A total Govt. hiring freeze is like cutting off your nose to spite your face, we need to increase TSA, Border Patrol and FDA inspectors to protect the American people.

    August 11, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  30. joe

    Is this not the administration that said there would be hundreds of thousand of new jobs create through government backed stimulus driven projects and the ushering in of the new green economy? Failed! This administrations is having a hard time raising the funds it needs for an economy it has not helped at all – time alone has helped this economy. China is demanding a higher interest rate on our debt to lend us more money, so of course this administration will have to have a hiring freeze – and this time he cant blame it on Bush.

    August 11, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  31. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    Hi Jack,

    instead of hiring more people or having a freeze, why not allow federal employees be utilized where there are most needed (some other areas in the federal government may need less personnel in their own department during the recession) which for some would be a new opportunity to learn a new field...but it is interesting to read a republican hiring more federal employees...!:>)

    August 11, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  32. Larry Oklahoma

    If the government can give billions to the auto, investment and banking industries then why not give an American a job. Just one billion would give 20,000 Americans a $50,000 a year job. The government would rather give unemployment, housing assistance, food stamps, and engery assistance than a job. Remember the CCC that Mr. Roosevelt started. Worked then. Give Americans jobs not handouts. Hiring freeze, no. Stop handouts, yes.

    August 11, 2009 at 4:51 pm |
  33. Agnes from Scottsdale, AZ

    Jack: No, there should not be a government hiring freeze. In working our way out of this recession, we need to do the right thing – not another knee-jerk solution so reminescent of the past 8 years. Government hiring often has to lead the way out of a recession. As for California, what do you expect from GOP leadership?

    August 11, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  34. Lynn, Columbia, Mo..

    No, we need jobs and people in those jobs pay taxes. It's much cheaper to hire government workers than it is to contract out to private businesses that the government can't control.

    August 11, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  35. Kristine from Manchester,Connecticut

    Depends on the specific state. California and Florida perhaps, since they are suffering the most. Connecticut just offered STATE EMPLOYEES early retirement (my husband took it after 35 years) but they pay a hefty loss. They do not get any earned vacation or sick time until 2012! Meanwhile, the state invests THEIR MONEY and profits off of it. they do not get any interest, just what they had on the books. There was no way to avoid this. Take it or leave it....everyone is suffering~

    August 11, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  36. SHARON: Anchorage, Alaska

    Absolutely, what is good for the goose is good for the gander. Business & private citizens have to tighten their belts, cutting in all budget areas. Why should the government be an exception?

    August 11, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  37. chuck

    I believe we need to actually let some go,as well as put a freeze on hiring.The only president to actually terminate some government jobs was Bill Clinton and the Republicans raised total hell.They like to pearch for votes,back they don't know how to run government.

    August 11, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  38. david doherty

    I think a freeze would be a good idea, but I think what would be a even better idea along with the freeze is to cut the pay rate of the useless congressmen and senators, I know this wouldn't make up the short fall, but just maybe they would start to feel what the rest of America is feeling and maybe it would jolt them into actually doing something
    Dave from NH.

    August 11, 2009 at 4:59 pm |
  39. Jeff Crocket in New Britain, CT

    There should be a freeze on all the government union perks given away and burying us the past thirty years!!!

    August 11, 2009 at 5:00 pm |
  40. Robert in Fayetteville, Ar.

    Oh, I get it! We've got a hole in the boat and water is coming in. All we have to do is put another hole in the boat so the water can run back out. That's what a hiring freeze would be, another hole in the boat.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  41. Bruce

    from DE;

    No, this is mostly a massive transfer of wealth, dependency, and power from the states to the Feds. The Feds are morally obligated to return all stolen moneys to the states.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  42. Carla - Wyoming

    It might make sense if we all knew when the recession would be over. Do you have an exact date?

    August 11, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  43. Gregory Miami Beach, FL.

    A hiring freeze in many areas may be apropriate, but not in areas like social services, healthcare , and education. We have already taken our childrens future earnings and prosperity away, and a hiring freeze in those areas is certainly inviting disaster with soaring crime rates and further shortages in skilled and professional workers. Sure make cuts, but don't cut our children!

    August 11, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  44. Russell, Bethel Alaska

    I think a nationwide freeze would be an overreaction. Should a hiring freeze be issued in national programs such as NASA? Of course. The government is probably going to need all the help it can get in social services such as Food Stamps, Welfare, and Medicaid.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  45. AndyZ Lynn, MA

    If you mean should there be a halt to Czars, then I would answer a most emphatic, YES! I'm starting to feel like I'm living in Romanov Russia with all the Czars running around D.C., tripping over each other. What needs to be done is another analysis of what government provides and then cut out the fat, to include Czars!

    August 11, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  46. jack akins

    probably a good idea jack..........unjustified......i don't know. but we for sure should insist that our state governments are run more efficiently. most state governments i know about are required to live within their budgets.....california......always something and different from them.......

    August 11, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  47. Annie, Atlanta

    I’d rather see a hiring freeze than to see cost cuts in programs that will help people in desperate need right now.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  48. Ralph Spyer chicago Il

    I want my mail on time 6 days a week. If my house is on fire I want the firemen to show up. If i need a cop or be killed I would like a cop to show up.The trash pick once a week so who jobs get the freeze? Who does the work when they are on furlough???

    August 11, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  49. jack akins

    last report i heard about california they were treating their inmates cruelly........overcrowding almost double the numbers the prisons are built for.........bad idea........riots will continue......wouldn't to live there.........

    August 11, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  50. Mario/Las Vegas

    I think the government should have a hiring freeze till after the recession. Mostly every other job is doing it plus with the debt we already have I don't see how they are hiring?

    August 11, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  51. Bob S. Racine WI

    Hiring freezes are great ideas, the problem is, great idea's don't work in Washington. If we institute a hiring freeze, Sarah Palin will tweet about how everyone hates America, and it'll be this town hall meeting non sense all over again. Sometimes Jack, we're just stuck on stupid!!

    August 11, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  52. Brian Smith PhD

    No no….. not a freeze.. we need a government job reduction. For example we can eliminate 535 people immediately. These people have been caught lying to their bosses. They take money from the organization that isn't theirs, which is extortion. They have been proven to be hypocrites. They misrepresent their initiatives and policies. They largely are unqualified to do their jobs. Instead of winning their job on talent and skill, they simply won a thinly veiled popularity contest. Who are these reprobates? Members of the House and Senate.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  53. John, Fort Collins, CO

    Federal, state, and local governments should match their staffing level to the income available, just as the small business I work for is forced to do to stay alive. When a small business goes in the red, sad but true, the only variable expense left to cut is the payroll. It amazes me how our out-of-touch elected officals keep trying to beat the drum long after the batteries have gone dead.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  54. Andrew of Lincoln, NE

    I say YES Jack, the government is spending money for the infrastructure, police, the fire departments, etc. the last thing we need right now is more government people using more red tape.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  55. Chris, Minnesota

    That's a great idea, Jack. The private sector's been taking it on the chin while the public sector's adding jobs? My grandfather was right so many years ago when he suggested I get a job with the government.
    Yes, freeze government hiring.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  56. Abe Silberstein


    The government should not be laying off workers, or freezing the hiring process till after the recession. The idea that the government needs to show that they are feeling the same pain as the citizen is infantile economics. The government is the largest employer in the US, and is a great opportunity to continue the recovery process by hiring new workers, and retaining ones already employed. It does not make sense to cut workers just for show.

    Abe Silberstein
    New York

    August 11, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  57. Adam

    Jack, I think prudence is the keyword of the day. If the State of California needs more employees servicing their unemployed during the recession, then more employees are necessary. However, cuts should be made in departments where less employees are required. Perhaps giving employees in those less needed departments the option of transferring to the departments with greater need would ease the states' hiring process.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  58. mighty white

    The 14% decrease in pay is combined with the fact most have not been getting raises anyway. The Republicans don't believe in taxes and the public goes along with it; not realizing, their decrease in pay is much more than they would ever be taxed. The voters and the Republicans cut their own noses off with their no tax pledges and the rest of the state suffers with cuts to schools and entitlement programs. If any opportunity for a job presents itself, it should not be held hostage to a freeze. BTW, that is the #1 concern of Americans today and one your network points out everyday when speaking about the 9.4% unemployment.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  59. Noel in Nashville, TN

    A hiring freeze? Are you crazy? Haven't enough jobs been lost? Really, Jack, there do need to be more people to administer jobless benefits. You can change the employment policies so that bad government employees get fired, I'm all for that. But don't artificially suppress one of the few expanding sectors of the job market.

    I'm just sick of people railing against government while simultaneously deriving comfort from the fact there is a safety net underneath them.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  60. Cameron

    No, I don't think so. When people aren't hired is what's feeding this recession. If the government continued to hire people during the recession, I believe in the long run, it will pay off, and not hurt us in this current recession.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  61. Nell, Clemson, South Carolina

    If you need a computer expert to keep the books of the state, you'd be a lot better off hiring one than having the job not done. Same thing for people handling employment and unemployment. You'd hear a lot more complaints if people didn't get their unemployment checks.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  62. Terry

    What was the stimulus plan ? Money was sent to the States for projects that didn't justify spending the regular budget, but now qualifies for money we don't have. What is the difference in pay the employees or sending the money to construction companies that paid campaign contributions ?

    August 11, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  63. dan from horseheads

    Yes. How are we going to pay for new jobs,raising taxes as inflation sets in?Hiring people when you are broke is as smart as buying new aircrafts for government officials or peeing in the wind! Not smart!

    August 11, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  64. doris castonguay

    No, I do not think so because with millions of people out of work now that means more people filing for unemployment and that takes a lot more people to take care of the paper work. As it stand here in New Hampshire it can take as long as 8 week to get your first unemployment check. If you're unemployed you can't afford to wait 8 week before you get your first unemployment check. Who knows that maybe why there are more people on the state payroll right now. We should not assume anything until we know all the fact.


    August 11, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  65. Charles

    Yes we should freeze hiring for government jobs. They (the government employees) should work understaffed as almost every American worker who is lucky enough to have a job does.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  66. eric

    Simply having a hiring freeze isn't going to fix the problem... many of those government employees are grossly overpaid along with collecting rediculous pension and health benefits nobody else gets these days. I don't know about you, but I'm tired of public servants living better than me on my dime.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  67. Ron Bond from Flint Michigan

    Jack, I'm from a city that has an unemployment rate of 28%. The government is one of America's largest employers. I certainly agree steps need to be taken to get us out of the recession, and one step is to increase hiring.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  68. Ken

    There should be a hiring freeze if there is a freeze in the demands that people make of their government. I don't understand why people can't make the connection that government services aren't free, and just because there is a recession does not mean that people's demand or need for those services decreases... in fact, the demand for public services probably increases. All of the people who don't like government services should join a volunteer fire department or volunteer in a school. Put your money where your mouth is.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  69. RantsRaven

    Ending government hiring is impractical, especially in a recession like the one we have now. A perfect example is in my state, where there is suddenly a critically low level of people to handle unemployment claims or staff to handle the one-stop career centers where people are trying to find a job. Online technical support for government services are regularly overloaded or shut down, and phone service wait times are unacceptably long. City workers for streets and roads are restricted by budget cuts, and they're praying for more stimulus money, and while we're on it, there aren't enough people to effectively manage projects from the stimulus to make sure that the money is being wisely spend. A freeze wont fix these problems – it will only make them worse.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  70. Perry Ray

    No! They already have a Hiring Freeze: I need a Job!

    August 11, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  71. Richard


    A wholesale freeze on federal government hiring is just not practical. There are many critical programs that, for years, have put off hiring and may now really need those new employees. Also, the implication that you can't be fired by the government once you are hired is a very oversimplistic notion. You aren't telling me police officers and firefighters can't be fired? It is easier to be fired in the government than one might imagine.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  72. dannydizle

    should there be a freeze on gov. hiring? Of course not. More jobs should be created and the should be jobs for regular joe shmoe who's out of work all accross america. And what ever happened to all the jobs repairing america's bridges and creating renewable energy industries?? Nobody I know is getting those jobs.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  73. Nell, Clemson, South Carolina

    If you need a physics or chemistry teacher at the high school and don't have one, what do you do? I suggest that failing to teach these subjects is not an option.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  74. Sharon from Mossyrock WA

    I don't know how it works in other places, but in the state of Washington, temporary employees are hired at Employment Security to process increase unemployment claims. There are many cases where temps are hired to get the job done in unusual times. Please don't promote attacks against "civil servants". Citizens want the services, but don't realize that it takes personnel to do the work. My philosophy has been, just give out the money and save the administrative costs, but that cannot be done because there are people who will take that to which they are not entitled.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  75. Dennis North Carolina

    yes and there should be layoffs. government jobs should not be protected in hard times.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  76. Emma, San Luis Obispo, CA

    No Jack,
    I have four applications/interviews in the tube right now for a job with the Feds and with the State of CA. What good would it do for our economy to initiate a nation wide government hiring freeze?

    The question is an oxymoron; we need jobs and we need to put the American people back to work no matter who is doing the hiring. Don't rain on my parade Jack I lost my job in Dec. of last year and haven't been able to find a job since. I would love to work for the Federal government!!

    August 11, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  77. Justin

    "But state employees say they’re being punished for the government’s irresponsible financial decisions"

    Why should state employees be immune from job cuts? How are they any different than the secretaries at AIG or the janitors at shuttered GM factories. The financial health of an employer is a risk every employee must accept.

    Justin, South Carolina

    August 11, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  78. Rob

    There should be but I do not think you can stop this massive buildup in government under this administration. They are converting many contracts to federal employees (i.e. supplemental security at military bases) and they are adding thousands of jobs to the government every day. Unlike states who have to deal with balanced budgets the federal government can do what they want and delay the cost pay back for years. Despite the economy there has been no freeze on hiring, wages, annual increases for government/military retirees, or anything. Unlike the businesses that are being lambasted for overspending the federal government gets a pass because most people cannot comprehend the numbers. Giving a failing CEO a multi-million dollar bonus bothers everyone but having a multi-trillion dollar deficit seems to fly by the scanners. Typical double standard.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  79. TGF

    Government workers don't just pay taxes. They also buy homes, cars, groceries and dry cleaning. If we are going to have an economy based upon consumers we need people with actual money who are willing to buy things to make it work. Because government workers aren't afraid of being laid off, they are more willing to spend their money. If we start laying government workers off, they too will start saving their money rather than spending it, which will hurt businesses.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  80. James McArthur

    Yes – let's start with putting a freeze on hiring any more tzars.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  81. Karl from SF, CA

    Jack this mess in California started about the time I moved here from Michigan. Howard Jarvis sold the taxpayers a bill of goods that basically froze taxes and required a 2/3 majority in the Legislature to raise them. He didn't tell them that, with inflation, in 30 years the state would be bankrupt. Expenses went up and revenue stayed basically the same. Californians have no one to blame but themselves. They are getting what they are paying for. Nothing. If the decline had started last year we would all be in better shape than we are now, after 30 years.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  82. Bill, Cupertino, CA

    I couldn't think of a dumber idea, Jack. The answer to unemployment is NOT more unemployment. You know, we tried something like this back in the early thirties, when Herbert Hoover went out of his way to balance the federal budget. That was his response to the Great Depression. And what did he get for his virtuosity: twenty-five percent unemployment and a thundering rejection at the polls in 1932.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  83. Suzanne

    Yes!!! There should a nationwide hiring freeze on all government jobs until the "Economic Recovery" period has ended. Many government jobs are wasteful and do not produce real results. I strongly urge the US Government to redesign a new workforce policy. A policy that requires updated education over a certain period of time, employment term limits and real accountability. Goverment programs and departments should operate like a business. If there is no ROI or profitablity, and or real time results, then rethink the program or shut it down!!! If government employees worked to produce and stayed sharply tuned, then just maybe....we would have a functioning government workforce, one that doesn't bankrupt a state...like California. What is up with California???? One of the richest states in the USA???

    August 11, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  84. Maria

    It sounds great ....stop hiring. Unfortunately the three days of furlough, causes services to decline for those who need and want those services and businesses that cater to state offices are losing business from those cut backs as well. The public is the first to scream when they can't get government services, protection, etc. Remember the California Highway Patrol, County Sheriff, City Police, Firefighters are also government workers; and they are also losing their jobs.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  85. Camille, Los Angeles, A

    A government hiring freeze??? So in an environment where people are struggling to find employment you want to proposing that yet another hiring entity (in this case the government) create a hiring freeze which then keeps the unemployment numbers high, continuing to drain an already strained unemployement insurance fund and keeping even more people without benefits and health care....is that really smart???

    August 11, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  86. Tony

    No. Since we don't have a crystal ball that will tell us when the recession will be over, a gov't hiring freeze would make things worse.

    By the way, I've just applied to three gov't jobs!!

    Grayson, GA

    August 11, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  87. Wayne

    No. The Gov. has had a hiring freeze for the state for several month already. This is not only covering new positions but prevents filling jobs that are vacant from people retireing,death ,and various reasons. A lot of those positions are in education preventing them from helping people that need to be trained because there jobs were lost. Wayne in NC

    August 11, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  88. Ken in NC

    Jack, after everyone goes back to work there should be a hiring freeze until the recession ends. The only jobs to be filled during the freeze should be those jobs that become open due to the loss of an employee and unemployment benefits should be extended for Republicans until such time as Mexico decides to accept them.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  89. Hank

    Definitely, Jack! California is beginning to look a lot like General Motors. Over time, the legacy costs of a large body of state employees will place a huge burden upon taxpayers and, in the end, will cause states to curtail public services. States must start looking at private contractors.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  90. Kim

    NO...provided that all hirings are really necessary. I was at the local Dept of Labor office to file unemployment benefits, and as you can imagine, those employees were busy, needed, and doing an important job. But perhaps some hirings should be temporary so that if the need is reduced, they don't have to stay on payroll. California should try to cut costs of course and economize but they should look at identifying wasteful spending before cutting jobs. Atlanta, GA

    August 11, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  91. Chris

    Of course there should be a freeze on hiring more government workers. As a matter of fact, there should be a substantial cut in government workers. Every other business has to do this when you're losing money, why do governmentworkers think they are immune? How does the President think they can reform health care when they can't balance their own budget.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  92. Mike from Maine

    I think it would be a good idea. At least go as far as not creating new jobs right now, just replace people who have left or retired.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  93. Denise, NV

    Dear Jack,
    When money is being spent most people only see the dollar signs without considering the big picture. I agree it's important to maintain the safety net. Anyone who feels these jobs are not important are not finding themselves in need of unemployment, food stamps or relief housing; if they were in need of these services they wouldn't oppose the hiring. With so many people ending up in the unemployment lines we would benefit more by getting much needed work from them instead of just sending them checks to look for jobs that don't exist anymore. As far as their jobs being permanent, a hiring freeze will solve that problem as there are always people who leave jobs, get fired or retire.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  94. Vish

    An economy is just exchange of money, when no one is spending someone needs to! A Freeze would be a bad idea.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  95. Amy

    No. With the economy in a recession, the last thing we should be doing is limiting services. However, to avoid increasing payroll costs indefinitely, it would be wise for our government to hire contract workers, that way when our economy turns around and the need for services is reduced, the contracts can expire and we will be left with no dead wood.
    -Amy from Massachusetts

    August 11, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  96. Paul Martin

    Hurst, Texas
    In good times or bad.
    Feeding @ the public trough is a constant
    fight for front row position.

    I know

    Lets just cut all government salary & benefits 25% across the board.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  97. Cookie Cook

    No a hiring freeze is not the answer. Unemployment Offices have long lines in normal times. As a 20 year employee of the Employment Developement Department Unemployment Insurance Division, I worked through the 70's and 80's. Additional employees are hired during heavy load times, however they are temporary employes, having usually 960 hours allowed. The state may if needed renew or extend the length of employment, however these are not Permanent Employees, and in most cases cannot become a permanent employee until a regular opening comes up and the employee passes a test and is reachable on the list by his/her test score. Thus there should be no scare regarding these temporary employess hired during heavy load times. A good suggestion would be to check the State Personnel Board site or call the Central Office of the Employment Developement Department of the the State of CA to find this correct information.
    Kauai, Hawaii (waiting for Felicia to pass).

    August 11, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  98. Gary Webber

    A hiring freeze will onl;y exaberate the problem! Thousands of State workers leave the job every year for retirement, better job elsewhere, etc. Many of these jobs are professional jobs that are essential for smooth government operations. Can you envision a total freeze where a state employed hourly employee transfers to a budget analyst job soley because no one else can be hired to do the job?

    August 11, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  99. Mike

    I advocate going one step further...also freeze wages and benefits or link them to government income. Private companies not implement a hiring freeze but also freeze and even cut back on salaries and benefits to weather a recession, especially a long one.

    Historically, the government employment entailed lower wages taht were offset by job security and retirement benefits as compared to private industry...sadly, that is no longer the case since government employment offers salaries comparable to private industry yet still offer job security and benefits that are significantly more generous than those provided to mainstream employees of private industry. All of this at added cost to the taxpayer.

    The dream job of the unmotivated is a Government one...Good compensation, health benefits, no social security obligation, retirement benefits and job security...often with no requirement to perform.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  100. Sharon L

    I do think there should be a freeze on government jobs during the recession. Government workers get great retirement benefits and healthcare benefits. For example, postal workers can retire as early as 55 with government pension and benfits. So then additional expense is incurred by adding payroll and benfits for replacements. This is additional tax dollars that could be eliminated during the recession. There are many agencies like this. We need to trim down the government employee payroll. A lot of these jobs can be done by the private sector.

    Oklahoma City OK

    August 11, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  101. honestjohn in Vermont

    A hiring freeze is a good start but not near enough. We should cut back on the free health insurance Congress enjoys. Now would be a good time to cut the staffs of Congress significantly. Maybe lay-off Congress while we are at it. Then we can start on the Administration and give them a nip and tuck.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  102. Matt Sweazey

    A hiring freeze is the idiots way to satisfy the emotions of an irate public. 3000 hires in a state of this size is a mere drop in the bucket.
    It took ten years for USA Today to make a penny. Did they wait to hire anyone for all those years?
    California's deficit problems are political. We could have a surplus if the Governor and Representatives hadn't fobbed their duties off on the initiative process, giving us a patchwork quilt of laws which often work at cross purposes.
    As to the nation, in my opinion, it would be nice if we quit calling this a recession. A recession is a cyclical downturn in growth, where we are laboring in the wake of a collapse caused by criminally corrupt business practices.
    Unless these practices are changed, another collapse is eminent when they stimulus money runs out.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  103. Roy Lundin; Kenmore, WA

    Yes; then permanently cut state and federal government workforces and wean America off the government teat. This country's move towards bigger and bigger government is the beginning of the end for America. Unfortunately, we stupidly voted for it.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  104. Andrew in Pinehurst, NC

    Jack, a hiring freeze should not be considered until the President has had the opportunity to hire a few more czars and the czars must be allowed to hire their support staff. Lets wait until a national health plan is passed, as I'm sure it will require a few thousand new federal positions to oversee it. While we're at it lets wait until the Congress purchases private planes for themselves. Once these initiatives have been completed an across-the-board hiring freeze should occur in DC.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  105. Jack McKechnie

    NO! Government is needed the most when the private sector fails! I am a retired state employee from Kentucky. State workers earn such small wages and they have such a huge work load that very few individuals or organizations in the private sector would even attempt to do these services.. Increased economic stress brings increased financial, medical and family services. If you need a medical card for your child or food or income these government workers provide essential services. We always had a saying " most people are one paycheck away from being on the other side of the table." I think that is very true today.
    Jack from Madisonville, Ky.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:28 pm |

    The reason California has this large deficit is because of their support for illegal immigration. The cost of illegal immigration for education, healthcare, & imprisonment when justfied is far greater than the deficit. More employees need to be hired to support the programs and aid for these illegall immigration. The solution is simple. Send illegals home snd / or don't hire them. Problem solved. The rest of the country should note what is happening in California and act accordingly before we are completely bankrupt!

    August 11, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  107. TOM

    The government operates exactly opposite of common sense. When an American family or business is low on money they cut expenditures. Our government is so out of control it is pitiful. My major point is we should elect public officials (congress, senate, president) based on each candidate receiving the same amount of campagn funds from the general tax fund (absolutely no special interest groups (NO insurance, oil, pharmaceutical or banking lobbyists etc) should be allowed to get their greedy fingers into our elected officials. People probably wonder why our elected officials make the bad decisions they do, WE ARE A COUNTRY FOR BIG BUSINESS BY BIG BUSINESS instead of a nation for the people by the people. Get mad America and speak up. Fannie Mae and Freedie Mac almost destroyed our nation with the sub-prime disaster. Do you ever wonder why we bailed out AIG insurance? The retirement fund of the federal government is managed by AIG. Our elected officials are using our money to make sure their lavish retirement funds are secure. Half of our elected officials should be in prison.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  108. Randy T

    Yes. The glorious private sector provides for the rest of us. Just look at what has happened to this country since reagan and the republicans handed america over to corporations? Unmatched greed, corruption, massive wealth disparities, bad healthcare, and recession that will last for the middle-class and poor for years to come.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  109. Tina c

    This is ridiculous. No the government should not freeze hiring. There should be a certain amour of discretion to make wise choices, but in times of recession there is an increase in demand for social services such as snap, Medicaid, unemployment etc. We need to keep up with the demand for safetynet programs which ultimately may save the government money. For example, families who have lost their jobs and insurance may need Medicaid. If hey have this insurance, hey will be more likely to seem out less expensive primary care instead of uninsured Ed visits, the costs of which are ultimately passed to the rest of us.

    Also, who is going to dole out all those arra funds? Someone needs to make these decisions and fund programs that are successful and create jobs!

    August 11, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  110. Collin

    Living in California i can see first hand the need for more government employees, i went to the dmv last week and the wait was about 2 hours, i cant imagine what the unemployment line looks like. hiring should me done in moderation and only if needed, however the money spent on those 3600 jobs should had been given to teachers, and immigration officers. being in the construction industry ive expected to see more citizens working on job sites considering there is so few of them left, but the sad thing is that is not happening, im still going to jobs where no one can speak english. maybe if we had better immigration laws more citizens could get what jobs are left.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:31 pm |
  111. kevin Webster MA

    Recession?, When did we go into a recession? I thought we had a healthcare problem because of the swine flu. Now you tell me we're in a recession. I have to get out more!

    August 11, 2009 at 5:31 pm |
  112. wyatt

    Has anyone ever reviewed the number of retirement per day for the governement or your state? My wife works for the state of California and I'm retired from a California County jurisdiction. She has been cut 3 days a month which is more than a 15% cut. I was asked to retire at 53 years old or get laid off to reduce department overhead (another cut to our household income by 50%).
    Where do people think services come from? From unemployment services to JC College instructors, food stamps to your local police& fire, road workers.
    Some services product income, State Workers Comp., Courts, Assessor's Taxes as well as many ours. Its not free.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  113. Nell, Clemson, South Carolina

    A hiring freeze is an overly simplistic answer to the problem. If you need highly specialized people, such as doctors, you better hire them. If you need people for public services (fire, police, etc.) you better hire them.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  114. Sam

    Obviously, the state should act responsibly hiring in a recession. The bigger issue is the main reason the state (Calif.) is in this budget crisis...the immigration problem. I'm not an economic guru but, we'll never have a balanced budget until the immigration problem is addressed. Guess it's not politically correct, but there is no forum for dialog about this issue.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  115. Clarence

    I am a state employee in Georgia. It is an at will state. They hire you at and they fire you at will. we have only had two payraises in the last eight years. My department have a high turnover rate. we are often ask to work on one of our schuduled days off. Refusing to due so is not an option. We were also schuduled for furlow days that was averted on because of the federal stimulas money. In this country many people give a lot and make many sacrifices in many thankless job. Our greatest consolation is thank GOD that we have jobs especially if you are non-caucasion.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  116. Gary In Lexington

    Not only should there be a hiring freeze, but there should be a mandatory 10% to 15% reduction at all levels of government. I do not believe they operate at or near a 60% "efficiency level". I suspect their efficiency rating would be pretty shocking, if we were able to get a factual report regarding this critically important issue. We used to joke in the small town I grew up in, "three city employees standing around watching one working". I suspect it has only gotten worse the last 4-decades. It is sad that public and private companies alike have had massive layoffs, while government continues to grow.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:34 pm |
  117. Carrie

    People need jobs, working for the government is a good opportunity. Like with any other business, hire when needed. Employees mean more money to circulate...it is good for everyone.


    August 11, 2009 at 5:36 pm |
  118. Ron

    Yes. Delagate jobs to other dept's. In my state (Cal) instead of putting state employies on 'furlow' let them do other jobs and keep working. Put the legislators on furlough for a week every month instead of the workers. Maybe then they would get something done..

    August 11, 2009 at 5:38 pm |
  119. Layne Alleman

    Jack, The only people being hired in my neck of the woods are political "appointments" (which, if you look at the state I'm from, you'll understand ) . They, of course, laid-off all the real workers, so now we've all been "asked" to "help-out", "pitch-in", and "all pull together". Face it Jack, as long as politicians are allowed to get away with whatever they want to do( hire every family member they can dig-up), we, the citizenry, will wind up paying for it. Layne A. Antioch, Il.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:41 pm |
  120. Annette of Aurora, CO

    Not only should there be a hiring freeze, there should also be a reduction in workforce commensurate with services no longer performed or where there has been a reduction in services. A good example is the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies. The Real Estate Appraisal Department appears to have the same number of employees providing less support services to fewer Appraisers. Yet, rather than reduce their expenses, the agency raised licensing fees causing increased costs to the remaining Appraisers. What a self-serving world we live in!

    August 11, 2009 at 5:42 pm |
  121. Keith in CA

    Many state workers in California get a bad rap. A lot of these new jobs are temporary with a slim chance of becoming permanent. State employees are generally paid less than those in the private sector with comparable jobs. Perhaps a better way to ask this question is "Which do you prefer: a paycheck or unemployment check?"

    August 11, 2009 at 5:42 pm |
  122. Top of the Hill

    Have you been to the DMV in California these days? I don't have an hour to stand in line to get a number and another 2 hours to waif for my number to be called. . . . . No we do not want a hiring freeze!

    August 11, 2009 at 5:43 pm |
  123. wyatt

    Governement employees are not hired for life! Where do you get that information? Many pickup by private industry & company jobs after the government spends hunderds of dollars training them. Many departments get reductions for seasonal loads, lose of grants, reduced revenues, etc., other have work loads moved to them for more effiency of labor. Yes, government needs to be more accountable and run it (governemt) like private businesses but if you don't back fill vacants for retirements, sick & vacation leaves as well as employees moving on to better things, people will really see a slow down if not a complete stopping of services.
    PS Many state furloughed employees have NOT had their work loads reduced, just trying to do it faster or using short cuts. People can not work very long under such stress.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:43 pm |
  124. kenneth johnston

    Dear Jack,

    Without question a hiring freeze should have been instituted in this situation. All gov'ts should live within their means as all citizen have to live within their budgets. Simply put : you don't spend more money when you don't have it to spend...... it is not rocket science!

    Ken Johnston

    August 11, 2009 at 5:44 pm |
  125. Yvonne

    Absolutely not. There have been so many money cuts on government jobs that worked for the people where the Republicans cut the money down to nil so they could not function. Now there are issues coming up where it shows they were underfunded and yet the Democrates are getting the blame.

    Besides, we need people to have jobs, not make less jobs.

    People get jobs, they pay taxes which helps run our country.


    August 11, 2009 at 5:45 pm |
  126. Chris

    Instead of a hiring freeze, what the government should be concentrating on is getting people off of welfare, Medicaid, food stamps, and all of those other programs that seemed to pop up in the 60's that entire generations of people seem to take for granted that it's there right to sit on their duff all day and live off of the taxpayers of America. Eliminate them from the payroll and we'll have money to use on those who have earned it like vets, the handicapped, the aging, and yes more government employees.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:48 pm |
  127. Bob Morrell

    Why would you freeze hires when you can get unlimited money from China and other sources? This is an insane question with our current administration.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:53 pm |
  128. Waheed

    No, We Need JOBS, regardless of who is hiring!

    August 11, 2009 at 5:54 pm |