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?