Gov Career

By Phil Piemonte

Blog archive

Get those resumes in order

Consider yourself on notice, all you folks at the Education, Labor and Commerce departments: We’re just going to have to shut you down.

It’s just the best thing for everybody.

At least, that is, according to Rep. Dennis Ross (R-Fla.), chairman of House Subcommittee on Federal Workforce, U.S. Postal Service and Labor Policy. He noted this necessity in a recent op-ed in the Lakeland (Fla.) Ledger.

He was laying out some of the things that divide two major political parties in terms of the debt ceiling crisis:

“Granted, the Department[s] of Education, Labor, Commerce, and other bureaucracies that have enjoyed double-digit budget increases the past 10 years will have to shut down. But this is where our differences truly materialize. I believe that states like Florida can educate our kids, ensure a safe workplace, promote our products and are closest to the people.”

A quick Web search turns up some ballpark employment numbers for 2008 from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (while it still exists): 39,000 positions at the Commerce Department, 16,000 at Labor and 4,000 at Education — or 59,000 positions in all.

That seems likes small potatoes compared, for example, to the 652,000 Defense Department employees listed by BLS. If cost-cutting is the goal, one might suggest that the Florida National Guard take up the defense of Florida as well.

Of course, the likelihood of that happening is probably on a par with the likelihood of closing down the three aforementioned federal agencies.

But the fact that the lawmaker who chairs the federal workforce subcommittee suggests that several agencies simply “will have to shut down” can’t bode well for feds — no matter where they work.

Posted by Phil Piemonte on Jul 12, 2011 at 4:02 PM

Reader comments

Mon, Jul 18, 2011

The Dept of Education was just a payback by the Carter admin for union/labor buddies anyway and has not improved education in any way since its inception. The Dept of Labor is just a platform for union hacks to force unions into all work arenas and ends up strangling the free market. States can and should run these themselves. I also agree that it doesn't go far enough since the EPA and the Dept of Energy, etc., weren't included.

Fri, Jul 15, 2011

If left entirely up to the states, citizens could be protected in some states but not in others. Wait, aren't the states broke, too? Some or all of these functions could be done away with in some states in the name of saving state budget money. Who will protect the citizens then?? No one.

Thu, Jul 14, 2011

To the commenter who wrote: "As a federal employee I think the federal government has its hands in too many things that should be managed by the states. This country operated just fine for decades without the department of labor or education." You are incorrect. The federal government has long been involved in education. Prior to the creation of the Department of Education, the same functions were being performed by the former HEW (Health, Education, and Welfare). What HEW previously did in education is now being done by the Department of Education.

Thu, Jul 14, 2011

Remember, the Dept. of Commerce also includes the Weather Service Forecast Offices and the people who maintain nautical charts.

Thu, Jul 14, 2011 ironroom

Hey, let them go to work for the automotive industry and Wall Street. That's where all the money went. Right? We thought Congress was just stupid throwing all that money away. They were setting things up to reduce the size of the government workforce. They're not as dumb as they look,... or sound,... or act,...

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