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By Phil Piemonte

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So be it or not so be it

At a press conference this week, after claiming that President Obama has added 200,000 new federal jobs since taking office, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said that if some of those jobs fall victim to budget cuts, “so be it.”

With the unemployment level being what it is, you might be asking: “Is adding 200,000 new jobs a bad thing?” Or, “Isn’t that ‘job-killing,’ too?” Or, “What constitutes a ‘real’ job?” Or, “Are real jobs only in private sector?”

The president apparently believes they are real jobs. His 2012 budget calls for adding yet another 15,000 employees.

The administration’s position is that adding these employees is not really “growing” the workforce, but helping it to catch up to where it should be. That case is grounded in the White House’s observation that in 1953, there was one federal worker to serve every 78 U.S. residents, and that by 2009, that ratio had dropped to one fed for every 147 residents.

Others are already picking up on that general premise. In reaction to Boehner’s statement this week, National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association President Joe Beaudoin noted that “over the last 10 years, the federal workforce has significantly shrunk compared to the overall U.S. population.”

Of course, no issue is ever as simple as that. But American attitudes, especially these days, seem to be swayed not by reasoned discourse (if any survives) but rather by the simplest notions.

As the budget battles heat up, you’ll probably hear this argument repeated.

So be it.

Posted by Phil Piemonte on Feb 16, 2011 at 4:02 PM

Reader comments

Thu, Feb 17, 2011

The biggest "fat" in the government is Congress. What say we cut 50% of the members. We'd all still be represented and likely the job would get done faster with a smaller group.

Thu, Feb 17, 2011 Steve Chicago

Why doesn't anyone in the new media question Boehners assertion of 200,000 new employees? I've heard that the number is much less--probably 45,000. I have no respect for the speaker.

Thu, Feb 17, 2011

The GOP does not care about Federal Employees, period! They will not be happy until there is no Federal employees left and they are all contracted out. Then, those GOP idiots will soon see that contracting out was a serious expensive mistake. But, they at the GOP will never learn. Contracted jobs are more expensive, period. So, slash ALL contracted jobs and either give some of those jobs to Federal workers or none at all. As for the 1 Federal employee per 147, it sounds right since the population have increased a bit since 1953. So, this makes it seem there are LESS Federal employees now then before, somewhat. Quite possible, but not sure. All I know is Federal Employees are getting screwed again by the GOP mostly and by the Democrats and the Tea Party also.

Thu, Feb 17, 2011

Attrition seems to be a healthy and likely needed approach. The Federal organization where I'm employed continous its hiring and promotion practices even in the face of program and associated funding cuts. In general, anyone whom isn't willing to recognize that there's some personnel "fat" that could be responsibly trimmed is apparently close-minded.

Thu, Feb 17, 2011

"So Be It" will go down in history as the reason the Republicans suffer massive losses in 2012.

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