This data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics should dispel the myth that Republicans are for smaller government:
I’ve added the blue and red coloring to indicate Democratic and Republican administrations, respectively. In my lifetime (I was born in 1976) the United States Federal Government has employed about 2.2 million workers each year. Reagan, Carter, and both presidents Bush & Bush Jr did not change the size of the government. Bill Clinton alone shrank the size of the Federal Government from 2.2 million to 1.9 million, a 15% decrease. Obama has again raised the size of the government, but not to the levels seen under Reagan and Bush Sr. Keep in mind that over this same time period the total population of the US has increased by 50%, and both State and Local governments have doubled in size.
Note: The spikes in employment are real data. They happen every ten years. That is the labor required to conduct the census.
Did you know?
Federal Employees (2012) ~2,200,000
State Employees (2012) ~5,000,000
Local Employees (2012) ~14,000,000
For fun, here is the full scale historical trend about the size of the government.
When the number of Federal Employees is compared with population growth, you can see that it isn’t the size of government that is a crisis – it is pressure that our growing population puts on an economy that just isn’t big enough to support the population anymore.
We can cut out government waste, but that also means recognizing where government is most efficient. Something these numbers hide is the shifting burden from Federal mandates for welfare and social services onto the States in the 1990s. There might not have been any net jobs eliminated. I can’t tell from these data.
Brought to you by your Federal tax dollars via the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Postscript: When comparing dollars instead of employees, Obama comes out as rather fiscally conservative
The job of spending the government’s money is really owned by congress, and how Obama’s people define government spending is not clear – but assuming this is only discretionary spending, Obama is a fiscally conservative president.