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Monday, July 25, 2011
McCaughey Misleads on Federal Employment
Topic: Newsmax

Serial misleader Betsy McCaughey writes in her July 22 Newsmax column:

The Obama administration added a net 107,057 new federal jobs in fiscal 2009 and 2010, according to the Office of Personnel Management. Washington is growing fat and happy. Furlough federal workers before going after Grandma again.

While that may be true, it ignores the fact that the number of federal workers as a percentage of the U.S. population has been on a downward trend for decades, reversed in the past few years due to 9-11 response and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. From an Office of Management and Budget report:

The relative size of the Federal civilian workforce has declined dramatically over the last several decades. Notwithstanding occasional upticks due, for example, to military conflicts and the enumeration of the Census, the number of Federal workers as a percentage of population has fallen over time. In 1953, there was one Federal worker for every 78 residents. In 1989, there was one Federal employee for every 110 residents. By 2009, the ratio had dropped to one Federal employee for every 147 residents. The picture that emerges is one of a Federal workforce that has significantly shrunk compared to the overall U.S. population, as well as compared to the size of Federal expenditures and the work that the Federal Government is called upon to perform.

This overall downward trend began to reverse itself in 2001, following the  September 11 attack. Following that tragic event, the Federal workforce expanded to deal with national security and safety issues and to serve our veterans. Civilians working for the Army grew from 203,000 in 2001 to 260,000 in 2010, for example, while people work- ing for the Veterans Health Administration increased from 189,000 in 2001 to 252,000 in 2010. Customs and Border Protection grew from 38,000 employees in Fiscal Year 2003 to 56,000 today. Overall, security agency employment grew by 22 percent from 2001 to 2010. During the same period, employment in non-security agencies as a percent of population fell by 4 percent.

The 2012 Budget continues these trends. Table 11-2 shows actual Federal civilian employment in the execu- tive branch by agency in 2010, and estimates it for 2011 and 2012. The 2012 Budget estimates a 2012 workforce of 2.1 million, roughly the same level as proposed last year and a modest increase over 2010 actual levels. Consistent with the overall recent trends, personnel increases focus on providing greater security and economic opportunity for the American people. Seventy percent of the proposed increase in the size of the 2012 Federal workforce occurs in five agencies – the Department of Defense, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, and the Department of State. These organizations are all centrally involved in our security interests, including operations and activities in Afghanistan and Iraq, providing care for our returning veterans, protecting our country from the threat of terrorism, protecting our borders, and advancing our Nation’s interests abroad. Other increases aim at implementing the recently enacted Affordable Care Act, assuring fair and thriving financial markets, and restoring some of the regulatory protections eliminated by the previous Administration in areas such as oversight of mortgage lenders and mine safety. Personnel figures at most non-security agencies remain essentially flat over the past two years, with some agencies, including Commerce (beyond the Census), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Agriculture, Interior, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and the Small Business Administration proposing lower personnel levels due to increased efficiencies and hard choices about budget trade-offs.

How many of these people does McCaughey want to get rid of?

Posted by Terry K. at 2:26 PM EDT

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