Massive layoffs were both a cause and a symptom of the recent recession, but job creation began to revive late last year. Unfortunately, in May, the U.S. added only 58,000 jobs, and layoffs may be on the rise again. This time, they're taking a particular toll on state and local government workers.
The notion that somehow public workers' pay packages are breaking the state budget just don't hold up. These workers' entire compensation package -- salary, health care, pensions, etc. -- make up a tiny fraction of Wisconsin's spending.
Unlike an illness caused by microscopic invaders of your body, which might raise your temperature and cause you physical aches and pains, Baumol's Cost Disease raises wages and causes some painful shifts in a nation's labor balance. Unfortunately, it's natural, and there's no miracle cure.