(By Fay Paxton, cross-posted at The Pragmatic Pundit)
Republicans talk about being conservatives who believe in small government and reducing the federal workforce. The numbers don’t bear out their claims. In a press conference, House Speaker John Boehner said, “In the last two years, under President Obama, the federal government has added 200,000 new federal jobs.” The Republicans even advanced legislation calling for a reduction of 200,000 federal employees.
Here’s the truth:
According to the Office of Personnel Management, it is true that the federal workforce increased by 237,000 employees. What Boehner does not tell…150,000 of the employees added to the roles were uniformed military personnel, no doubt to accommodate the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The 237,000 figure also includes temporary Census workers.
Despite claims of huge government expansion, historically, Democratic presidents reduced the size of the federal government workforce. The federal employment numbers, according to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the department charged with tracking the number of employees, the data shows the following:
Today, we have 35,000 fewer nonmilitary employees under President Obama than we had 30 years ago. As once again, Reagan proves to have expanded government more than any modern-day President. His was the largest non-military workforce in three decades. In fact, the only president who had a workforce that surpassed Reagan’s was President Johnson’s. Of course, Johnson presided over the nation during the Vietnam War, while Reagan was in office during peacetime.
If we combine the totals for all federal employees, including the military:
Reagan began office with a total of 4,982,000 employees and ended his term with 5,292,000 employees. While President Obama took office with a federal employee roster of 4,430,000 employees (fewer than Reagan). At the end of 2010 President Obama’s federal workforce numbered 4,443,000; that’s 849,000 fewer employees than Reagan, the advocate of small government! Add to this the fact that President Reagan governed during peacetime, while President Obama inherited two wars.
The Conservative Myth about Job Creation
The Republican Party claims that it is the party of pro-business, pro-growth, and pro-job creating policies, but U.S. Labor Department data indicates otherwise. When it comes to job creation, the Democrats again do a better job than Republicans.
Listed below are the jobs created from the U.S. Department of Labor. Data is listed from the best to the worst:
Bill Clinton, D-Ark., 1993-2001: +22.74 million jobs 2.84
Jimmy Carter, D-Ga., 1977-81: +10.34 million jobs 2.59
Lyndon Johnson, D-Texas,1963-69: +12.18 million jobs 2.38
Ronald Reagan, R-Calif., 1981-89: +16.10 million jobs 2.01
Richard Nixon, R-Calif., 1969-74: +9.18 million jobs 1.64
John F. Kennedy, D-Mass.,1961-63: +3.57 million jobs 1.37
Gerald Ford, R-Mich., 1974-77: +2.07 million jobs 985,714
George H.W. Bush, R-Texas, 1989-93: +2.59 million jobs 647,500
George W. Bush, R-Texas, 2001-2009: 1.31 million jobs 163,750
In a graph it looks like this:
Clearly Democratic Presidents create more jobs per year than Republican presidents. Unemployment rates are higher under Republicans….it’s just a fact.
Johnson 1966-1969 average unemployment rate of 3.7%.
Clinton 1994-2001 average unemployment rate of 4.9%.
Kennedy 1962-1965 average unemployment rate of 5.2%.
Nixon 1970-1977 average unemployment rate of 6.3%.
Bush 1990-1993 average unemployment rate of 6.7%.
Carter 1978-1981 average unemployment rate of 6.7%.
Reagan 1982-1989 average unemployment rate of 7.3%.