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Willisms

« Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 388 -- GOP Nearly Bottomed Out In 2006. | WILLisms.com | Wednesday Caption Contest: Part 84 »

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 389 -- Shrinking The Federal Government.

Smaller Federal Government-

Some facts on the size of government:

...total federal employment peaked under President George H.W. Bush at 3.4 million in May 1990. That number, as measured by the BLS, fell to 3 million by the time Bush the Elder left office. President Bill Clinton continued the trend while president, and is one of two Democrats (the other was Harry S. Truman) in the postwar era who presided over a decline in total federal employment. Government jobs also dropped under Republicans Dwight D. Eisenhower and Gerald R. Ford.

As of the latest jobs report, total federal employment under George W. Bush was 2.7 million in May 2006. That represents a loss of more than one in every five federal employees since 1990.

So, some moderate success at the federal level in preventing bureaucratic bloat. However, much of the downsizing of government throughout the 1990s was due to the false "peace dividend" we thought we could get away with following the Cold War. Still, having fewer federal employees is absolutely imperative for the small government movement.

On the other hand, state and local governments have grown substantially over the same time period, often with subsidies from the federal government (for Homeland Security, for example). Nonetheless, bringing the government closer to the people is preferable to growing the leviathan in the District of Columbia.

One also wonders whether, as advancing technology has boosted productivity, the shrinkage could have been even greater. Because of "the internets," one or two people can now do the work of a few people. A few people can now do the work of several people. And so on.

From the BLS (.pdf):

bushadministrationfedemploy.gif

Unfortunately, a lot of this shrinkage is simply attributable to streamlining at the USPS. Still, fewer federal employees, even after the 9/11 Effect, is the sort of thing that "the base" would have loved to hear about. Unfortunately, because so many Americans believe we are in some sort of job-gushing recession, "we eliminated jobs!" was obviously not the slogan of choice for Republicans in '06.


-------------------------------------

Previous Trivia Tidbit: Hope For '08 & Beyond.

Posted by Will Franklin · 18 December 2006 08:38 PM

Comments

If I remember correctly, the Clinton Administration reduced its spending and employment almost soley in the area of defense. Just after the end of that administration came 9-11 and the wars. It would be super to have a breakdown where government employment has been reduced in last 5 years. Might bring even a brighter response from limited government folks. There are areas where government employment is important and areas where it is an intrusion on state's responsibilites.

Posted by: rascompany at December 19, 2006 09:14 PM