9.30.2009

The house that government built

Paul Ryan is worried about the ballooning government sector:
Nearly seven months after the President signed his $787-billion economic “stimulus” bill, the U.S. economy continues to shed jobs, and unemployment continues to rise. But at least one sector has managed to grow: the government itself. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has funded about 3,000 government jobs across 14 major agencies, and the Federal workforce overall has expanded by more than 25,000. Several agencies – including the Health Resources and Services Administration, the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, the Government Accountability Office, and the Department of Transportation – have made hires just to oversee “stimulus” spending.

In the 1990s, a Republican Congress achieved significant reductions in the Federal civilian workforce, most of them from the defense drawdown following the end of the Cold War. But in recent years, the Democratic Congress has reversed the trend. Since 2006, Federal employment has grown by more than 15 percent – 20.5 percent in non-defense agencies. The pattern is one clear expression of the overall expanse of government that has occurred in the past 3 years and sharply accelerated this year. Please see the attached document for details.

The truly amazing thing is that for all the new people who are supposed to be overseeing the stimulus spending, nobody has any real idea of what the banks are doing with the money that was given to -- or, in some cases, forced on, them. For all the purported responsibility of the project, and the public lashings of irresponsible private-sector leaders, the government has done an at best equally poor job.