Today President Obama made a stop in New York to discuss his record of job creation. During his speech, he made an aside about his record as the “bloated government” President. What the President alluded to but didn’t explain is that this decline is entirely the result of cutbacks at the state level which he opposed.
It’s worth noting, by the way – this is just a little aside – after there was a recession under Ronald Reagan, government employment went way up. It went up after the recessions under the first George Bush and the second George Bush. So each time there was a recession with a Republican president, compensated…we compensated by making sure that government didn’t see a drastic reduction in employment. The only time government employment has gone down during a recession has been under me. So I make that point just so you don’t buy into this whole bloated government argument that you’re hearing.
As the Washington Times pointed out, when Obama “took office in January 2009, there were about 2,064,000 federal workers, excluding the postal service. Last month, there were 2,202,400 such federal employees, an increase of 6.7 percent.” So Obama is effectively taking credit for state cutbacks which his administration sought to prevent.
Obama’s stimulus plan included millions of dollars aimed at keeping teachers employed. However, he has never argued that plan was tantamount to “bloated government.” He seems content to have it both ways. If he spends tax money to employ state workers, that’s purely pragmatic and proves nothing. But if he fails to spend tax money to employ state workers, that proves he’s not a big government guy.
Forget the state budgets over which the President has little direct control. Look at the federal deficits which have amounted to $5 trillion in new debt during his administration. If that’s not a bloated federal government, then the word has no meaning.