Mitt Romney and his campaign aides strongly believe policymakers can "help the American people" by laying off school teachers, police officers, and firefighters. The vast majority of the American mainstream doesn't seem to agree, but Romney has apparently convinced Rush Limbaugh.
"Nobody's opposed to cops or firefighters or teachers -- but they aren't private sector jobs," Limbaugh said. "They do not contribute to economic growth. Their purpose is otherwise. They have an entirely different purpose: public safety, public education, this kind of thing. But there's no growth in the economy. "If you add those jobs -- and if there aren't other types of private sector jobs added while at the same time we're adding to the fire rolls and the cop rolls and teachers -- we are reducing the size of the private sector. This is Marxism 101. It's also Ignorance and Sophistry 101."
There was no reason to think Limbaugh was kidding.
Look, I can't say with any confidence whether Romney and Limbaugh actually believe this stuff. Romney, in particular, has occasionally dropped hints that he's a closet Keynesian, but he can't admit it because his party has become too radical to tolerate the same economic model both parties have accepted for several decades.
But if Romney and Limbaugh actually, sincerely believe what they're saying, I'd just ask them to consider one question: do they believe teachers, police officers, and firefighters spend money?
I mean, really. Limbaugh argued with a straight face today that cops, firefighters, and teachers may work and contribute to society, "but there's no growth in the economy" as a result of their jobs. In other words, there are hundreds of thousands of teachers and first responders, but they never buy things and they never invest, so when they get laid off en masse, there are no economic consequences whatsoever.
Seriously, who's going to believe this? Exactly how many voters are going to hear this and think, "Yep, that makes sense"?