Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Federal Workforce: Biggest Ever

Today's Washington Times carried a story showing how we now have the biggest federal employee total ever, with 2.15 million total jobs.

In a way, that should sort of make sense, because we also have the biggest total American population that we've ever had; if everything were proportional, well, you get the idea. But as it turns out, the rolls had ballooned in the years leading up to the Clinton Presidency before the Clinton-Gore REGO (Reinventing Government) initiative. Since that time of Clinton in the White House and a budget that was kept in balance or even in surplus, something has gone awry.

Remember, Obama has only been in office for just over a year, so you can "make no mistake" that most of the federal workforce ballooning took place under Dubya.

Either way, this is an interesting article, whatever your thoughts on the whys and the consequences. And let me also say I'm not implying here or in the earlier bit that public sector jobs are somehow "bad" -- not only would that be hypocritical in the absolute extreme, but it would fail to recognize all the great things done every day by police, teachers, firefighters, civil servants, etc.

What I do think, however, is that public sector jobs shouldn't be a runaway free-for-all in terms of either hiring or pay and benefits. I don't think I should be able to hit some magical button after 20 years and just collect a check for the rest of my life to sit on my duff solely because I work for the government.

This one time at Band Camp, I did see government civilians make very high five-figure salaries to do very little work within a mandated 40-hour-a-week max. That may happen in the private sector, too, but as I'll heartily confess right here, I wouldn't know. What I do know, however, is that if you are an entrepreneur or a private-sector worker, I fully acknowledge that you are putting food on my table, and I mean it when I say I thank you for it.

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