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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 12:13 PM


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