Comments on: Chart of the day, government payrolls edition A slice of lime in the soda Sun, 26 Oct 2014 19:05:02 +0000 hourly 1 By: TFF Wed, 11 Jul 2012 12:47:07 +0000 “Lost government jobs and the performance is still the same”

Huh? Maybe it is different in your town, but class sizes here are pushing 30. The performance is NOT the same.

By: whyknot Mon, 09 Jul 2012 11:44:17 +0000 Lost government jobs and the performance is still the same

By: TFF Sun, 08 Jul 2012 13:45:33 +0000 Good point, right. You might try to winkle it out from this chart? tml

Social Security (transfer payments) is up $150B over four years
Health and Human Services (Medicaid and Welfare?) is up $200B
Department of Defense (largely contractors and supplies) is up $150B
Treasury Dept is up only slightly, as the interest rates have fallen
Dept. of Agriculture (crop subsidies?) has doubled
Veterans Affairs is up $50B
Dept. of Labor (unemployment?) is up dramatically

Most others level-funded. So this would seem to support your thesis that spending has been increased through transfer programs rather than hiring.

By: right Sun, 08 Jul 2012 04:35:13 +0000 “In any event, this chart must surely put the lie to anybody who claims that Obama is on any kind of spending spree.”

What portion of federal spending is on employee salaries and benefits and what portion is either direct transfers, interest on debt, and purchases from major vendors such as defense contractors, healthcare providers, and consulting firms? I don’t know the answer but it seems to me federal spending could be going way up even if employment were down.

By: CaptnCrunch Sat, 07 Jul 2012 22:00:38 +0000 There’s a huge difference in force reduction by attrition versus firing Felix. Following your logic we should keep a huge standing military even as we wind down actions in multiple theaters.

Government can’t provide all the jobs no matter how much you wish it. Someone has to actually work and produce something to pay the taxes that fund the government jobs.

Keeping bloated government bloated is not the road to salvation. A little fiscal prudence and letting expiring tax cuts expire would serve us well right now.

By: nikacat Sat, 07 Jul 2012 09:26:21 +0000 In my opinion, the federal government could downsize its employment by 30% without any noticeable loss to the average citizen. State and local is another matter. Felix is careful not to break this down for us, which makes his article a little bit less than worthless. I very much doubt that Obama has cut the federal sector at all. After all, these are the votes that will help keep him in office.

By: y2kurtus Sat, 07 Jul 2012 03:12:25 +0000 Thanks so much for posting this chart Felix. It gives me hope. Sanity is returing to America. Within a few years my state may lower it’s income tax rate from 8% down to 7% narrowing the gap with our neighboor NH at zero.

Brunsiwck ME is perhaps the safest place to live on Earth. We’ve decided to review building an indoor firing range for our police force which has thankfully not fired a shot in the line of duty in 7 years.

Our town is part of the graph. We let go our natural resources planner. Our natural resources still seem avalible to the citizenry. We also let go our town arborist. The trees are now growing on their own with out any supervision. They have yet to get into any serious trouble.

Property taxes are still rising… but much more slowly than before. Brunswick continues to be the most wonderful place I can even imagine to live and raise a family dispite the goverment cutbacks.

By: realist50 Fri, 06 Jul 2012 18:17:20 +0000 To my point on cherry-picking data, why does Felix’s chart begin with January 2010? A better comparison is to show growth both during and after the recession, or to compare to maximum employment levels.

Doing just that with seasonally-adjusted BLS total employment data (located here – b1.htm )

– June 2012 total private sector employment is 96.1% of the maximum ever reported (111.1 million compared to 115.6 million in July 2007);

– June 2012 total government employment is 95.4% of the maximum ever reported (21.9 million compared to 23.0 million in May 2010). The May 2010 number included temporary Census employees, as Felix noted above. My understanding is that the BLS’s seasonal adjustment doesn’t account for that impact, because it adjusts for annual seasonality, not a once per decade event. Tossing out 2010, the max government employment ever was 22.7 million in April 2009 (June 2012 is 96.8% of that number). July 2007 government employment – per above, that month was the pre-recession peak for private sector employment – was 22.2 million (June 2012 is 98.8% of that number).

Basically, current government and private sector employment are both roughly equivalent as a percent of the total maximum for each number and government employment is higher than private sector relative to pre-recession. Simple conclusion: private sector employment is recovering faster because it shrank far more during the recession.

By: realist50 Fri, 06 Jul 2012 17:56:57 +0000 “this chart must surely put the lie to anybody who claims that Obama is on any kind of spending spree”

This chart says nothing about that. The appropriate comparison is federal / total government spending as a percent of GDP over a long period of time. And since there’s a whole lot of repetition of the administration’s misleading or massaged data, I’ll pre-empt the false view that government spending has increased only slowly under the current administration. Before quoting stats, make sure that the starting point has appropriately adjusted TARP down to a net number, since it was recorded upfront as a $700+ billion expenditure with the reduction to the dramatically lower net number occurring later as it was paid back.

By: dedalus Fri, 06 Jul 2012 17:15:31 +0000 Louis Uchitelle’s analysis 4 years ago — and its taunting headline — proved to be prescient:

“Think the Economy Is Bad? Wait Till the States Cut Back” review/01uchitelle.html