- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Want to trim the bureaucracy? Then vote Republican.

The above statement reflects what many people know or think they know. Like buy-low, sell-high, or turn your wheels in the direction of the skid when sliding on a icy road. We know it, but do we believe it. And is it true?

Many people think of the Democrats as big government, the Republicans as small government. But how’s that going?

If an impartial Civil Affairs unit, from the Planet Mars National Guard, landed on the Mall tomorrow, odds are their Earth-government specialists would conclude that the Republican Party loves big government while Democrats oppose it.

Why would visitors from the Red Planet think that? Well …

If you crunch the numbers, the biggest bureaucracy-chopper, hands down, was President Clinton. His administration launched a downsizing drive to eliminate “overhead” jobs in government.

To protect women and minorities who would have been hit hardest under the federal last-hired, first-fired policy, the government paid $25,000 (before taxes) buyouts to tens of thousands of mostly white, mid-level male military veterans.

About 30,000 feds were fired, but the majority of the 411,000-job reduction claimed by the administration came via buyouts and an almost total freeze on hiring and contracting out many functions.

Pay vs. pensions

White-collar civil servants are going to get a pay raise in January. The only question is whether it will reflect the White House proposal, of 2.3 percent, or the congressional plan, which is for 3.1 percent. Given what has happened the past 12 years, Congress will prevail. Either way, uniformed military personnel will get 3.1 percent.

Meanwhile, retired federal workers have to wait an additional seven months to see where the Consumer Price Index takes their January cost-of-living adjustment. Not quite halfway through the COLA countdown, the former feds — and military retirees and people who get Social Security — are due at least 1.2 percent, based on the rise in inflation to date.

Mike Causey, senior editor at FederalNewsRadio.com, can be reached at 202/895-5132 or mcausey@federalnewsradio.com.

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