- Under Reagan, federal employment increased.
- Under Obama, federal employment decreased.
- Federal employment as a fraction of the total population is at an all-time low since the 1930s.
- The uptick in 2010 was mostly census workers, but also some administration of Obama’s jobs stimulus.
So why do we keep hearing about the ballooning federal government? Who started this rumor?
It’s pretty simple. The Republicans want to cut middle-class programs. So they argue “the government is too big.” But if they admitted it was bigger back in the 1950s and ’60s when growth was stronger, that would sound a little silly.
So they need to tell a story saying that government is getting huge and out of control. So they just tell that story. As I said, it’s pretty simple.