March 13, 2017

WaPo: Panic at the Propagandists' Place

The liberal pulse of Washington D.C., the Washington Post is seemingly aghast and panicked at their own headline about president Trump looking to rollback federal government employment, calling it a contraction.
President Trump’s budget proposal this week would shake the federal government to its core if enacted, culling back numerous programs and expediting a historic contraction of the federal workforce.

This would be the first time the government has executed cuts of this magnitude — and all at once — since the drawdown following World War II, economists and budget analysts said.

The spending budget Trump is set to release Thursday will offer the clearest snapshot of his vision for the size and role of government.
I would have no problem with those paragraphs if they changed just one word.  If I could fix it for you, I would change the word contraction to correction, because that's what it is. Now I am really looking forward to the president's budget.   

Let me drill down on one aspect of this.

If you look at the average number of federal employees per 1000 Americans it went from approximately 5.4 in 2006 to 5.7 in 2015 (most of it coming in 2009 as a result of the abysmal stimulus package no doubt), an increase of 5.6% in a very short period of time.  This despite the fact that the population has supposedly grown by roughly 22.8 million people during the same period (roughly 7% growth in population and yet the number of federal employees has grown enough to cover that plus 5.6%).  Interestingly, population growth was last measured in the census of 2010, when the population was 309 million.  Growth since then is only a Census Bureau projection since the census only takes place once per decade.  The numbers since then seem fairly flat in terms of year over year growth rate.  So population has grown but the number of federal employees per 1000 Americans has grown at a rate 5.6% faster than that.

Whether you feel like you are getting 5.6% better or more service is a moot point.  After all, in business they talk about productivity growth. Between 2007 and 2016 productivity growth has averaged 1.1% per year. Between If government employees got better at the rate of productivity between 2000 & 2007 it was double that rate. But let's say for the sake of argument that they got better by 1.1% per year. Between 2006 and 2015 that would mean that federal employees got 11% more productive. Yet the government felt the need to expand the workforce  by 5.6%.  Either the government employees only grew in productivity by say half the national rate, or else the government has been padding the workforce.  What other conclusion can be drawn?  And in either case, there's an inefficiency now.

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