Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson told The Daily Caller that President Barack Obama is “fundamentally wrong” to call for Congress to pay for the hiring of state and local public employees because “it’s not the federal government’s role.”
TheDC asked Johnson about a video released by the Obama campaign alleging that presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney wants to cut firefighters, teachers and police at the state and local levels.
“He’s [Obama] not accurately describing what Gov. Romney said,” Johnson told TheDC in a video interview after his speech at the Heritage Foundation.” Gov. Romney was basically talking about, we don’t need to hire more. Well, put it a different way: The way I would put it is we can’t afford to hire more. Now, Gov. Romney wasn’t talking about laying off teachers. The bottom line is it’s not the federal government’s role to hire teachers, to hire firefighters, to hire police officers.”
“That’s the local government’s problem and that’s their role and responsibility so again, what President Obama wants to do is he wants to take money from American taxpayers and then funnel it to the states and municipalities. He wants to be able to allow himself to make those decisions where America’s hardworking dollars go and that’s just a fundamentally wrong approach.”
“I actually like police, firefighters and teachers,” Johnson continued, “and we need them but we also need to make sure that their pay structure is bench-marked with the private sector for the taxpayers that pay the bill, and it needs to be the local governments that decide what level of firefighting protection, police protection and education systems that they need for their local governments — it’s not the federal government’s role.” (RELATED: Marion Barry: ‘Whatever’ President Obama ‘wants, I think we ought to do’ [VIDEO])
In response to the Obama campaign’s attack, Romney said “the federal government doesn’t pay for teachers, firefighters or policemen so obviously that’s completely absurd.”
During a press conference at the White House last week, Obama told reporters that the private sector is “doing fine” while the public sector is hurting.
“We’ve created 4.3 million jobs over the past 27 months — over 800,000 just this year alone. The private sector is doing fine. Where we’re seeing weaknesses in our economy have to do with state and local government, oftentimes cuts initiated by governors or mayors who are not getting the kind of help that they have in the past from the federal government,” Obama said.
After Republicans criticized his remarks, Obama said “the economy is not doing fine; that’s the reason I had a press conference.”
Johnson views Obama’s initial comment as his “honest” position.
“It wasn’t a gaffe at all. What it was was an honest comment on his part. He does believe the private sector’s doing just fine and that the path toward getting our economy moving again is more growth in the government sector – that’s what he believes, it’s what he’s always believed. It’s obvious,” Johnson told TheDC.
“Take a look at his stimulus package. Take a look at him trying to take over one-sixth of our economy in the health care law. His belief — and the members of his administration believe — that government is the solution to our problems and an elite group of people like him, you know, those angels, can actually control millions of Americans lives. It’s just a false belief. He’s just wrong.”
Johnson added that “public sector employment is actually declining now in the last few months because the [stimulus] funds have run out from the federal government. Of course, he [Obama] wants to keep that spigot going.”