Paul Challenges Krugman to Debate Over Government Employment Figures

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., is calling out New York Times columnist and economist Paul Krugman following a brief debate over public sector employment on Sunday.

The two appeared on ABC’s This Week and had a disagreement over the size of government with Paul arguing that the size of government employment has ballooned since President Obama took office. Krugman pointed out that public sector jobs have actually declined since January 2009, but Paul says he was talking about federal workers only.

Paul says Krugman is being dishonest and “playing games with numbers”, adding a challenge to a public debate to the mix.

From Sen. Paul’s office:

“Professor Krugman argues statistics in his usual fashion: making them up or adding in irrelevant information to prove his predetermined point. On Sunday’s “This Week,” he and I were debating the size of government workforce under President Obama. The only logical number we could have been discussing was the number of federal workers. Since the last time I checked, Barack Obama was the President, not a mayor or governor.

Under President Obama, the federal workforce has grown by 143,000 according to the Labor Department . That’s a lot of new federal workers, though it pales in comparison to the enormous growth of government spending and debt accrued in his same Administration.

Yet Professor Krugman added in local and state workers to inflate this number, an irrelevant point at best. In fact, it was a disingenuous argument, which he then astonishingly gloated about making on his blog.

I prefer to stick to the facts – and the facts are, there are 143,000 more federal workers since President Obama took office. I urge Professor Krugman to join me in debating actual, relevant statistics.”

A review of ABC’s This Week shows Paul never said “federal” government when criticizing the growth of public sector employees. Krugman never indicted that his position included state and local government workers until his blog post, but the two were discussing national employment.

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