Federal job sector needs to scale back

Freedom New Mexico

The federal government “needs” to hire 270,000 more employees in the next three years.

We’re told this, unsurprisingly, by the federal government, which surveyed 35 agencies representing 99 percent of its workforce.

We wish they’d asked us instead.

Such a purported need might seem like a solution to 9.7 percent national unemployment, a 26-year high. The private sector has lost 6.9 million jobs in this recession. But state and local governments have grown payrolls by 110,000 workers. Why shouldn’t the feds?

We agree with John Palatiello, president of the public affairs consulting firm John Palatiello & Associates, who told CNSNews.com that continued government expansion while the private sector struggles is the wrong way to grow the economy.

“If you really want to stimulate the economy, you should do the opposite,” Palatiello said. “You should be trying to get more and more things out of the government and into the private sector because that has a much more stimulative effect.”

But doesn’t the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics say government workers often earn more than those in the private sector? Government economists averaged $89,441 in 2005 compared to the national average of $80,900 and a government microbiologist was paid $80,798 compared to the national average of $63,360.

And unlike most private employees, federal workers choose from several health and life insurance options. Government workers get more paid time off and benefits don’t stop at retirement. Why not add more of these kinds of employees?

One reason is that expanding the federal workforce creates less productive jobs than expansion in the private sector. Federal jobs also require federal taxes, which diverts money that could be used to expand the more productive market economy.

Apart from the economic reasons, however, is a larger issue. The continual expansion of government jobs means a continual expansion of the size and scope of government. The survey conducted by the Obama Administration that concluded 270,000 “mission critical” workers must be added reflects, in the words of the Washington Post, “the Obama administration’s intent to take on several enormous challenges including the repair of the financial sector, fighting two wars and addressing climate change.”

Rather than expanding further an already over-reaching government, Washington should scale back its intrusions into the private sector and its military adventures, thereby reducing the drain on taxpayers, and stimulating the private sector to create more productive jobs.