Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Obama's Ohio Visit Points to Jobs Divide between Public, Private Sector

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Obama's Ohio Visit Points to Jobs Divide between Public, Private Sector

Article excerpt

Obama visited Wednesday with Ohioans who have been helped by government spending. In general, government jobs pay more, have higher benefits, and are more secure than private-sector jobs. Is that a good thing? It depends on your party affiliation, a new TIPP/ Monitor poll shows.

In a visit to Columbus, Ohio, Wednesday, President Obama met with a family that embodies the interplay between government and the private sector - and the president could cast that relationship in a positive light.

At a time when America's economy is still struggling for traction, Joe Weithman is an architect who has some extra work thanks to federal stimulus spending on a police station. And his wife, Rhonda Weithman, was able to keep her health insurance after a layoff, thanks to federal help that Mr. Obama pushed for.

But this economic portrait, scripted into an outdoor "town hall" between the president and a small group of Ohioans, stands at odds with another reality - tension in some quarters of the electorate over whether private sector taxpayers are are bearing an unfair burden to support bloated government.

According to some studies, public sector workers enjoy higher pay and better benefits than their private-sector counterparts. And, at a time when Americans are seeing tax rates edge up and the level of federal debt soar, public-sector workers also enjoy much greater job security than the private sector.

A new poll this month suggests that Americans' political mouth on this subject may be where their money is.

New poll

Americans who identify themselves as Democrats tend to be less oriented toward the private sector in their employment, while Republicans have more jobs in the private sector, according to a TIPP poll, conducted by Technometrica Market Intelligence.

Republicans, meanwhile, tend to be more worried about the overall size of government, and about the potential for rising taxes, than Democrats.

The new poll also found that Republicans find the concept of working in government less appealing than Democrats do. …

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