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OPINION

Now Is the Time for Smaller Government

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

The March unemployment report by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that, in February, the unemployment rate remained 4.1 percent for the fifth consecutive month and the number of unemployed persons was essentially unchanged at 6.7 million.

Without question, the economy is humming right along, and America is close to, if not at, full employment. It’s taken longer than many economists expected. President Obama certainly wanted full employment, but he wanted his regulatory agenda more. President Trump has done what he can to release the Obama brake, and the economy has quickly responded, averaging almost 3% GDP growth over the last nine months of 2017.

Of course, according to labor statistics data, we still have 6.7 million workers who don’t have jobs. Some people lack the skills needed for today’s jobs or just can’t find work at the wage they feel they deserve. Some are between jobs and are temporarily unemployed. But the ratio of non-workers between the age of 18 to 65 to the total potential workforce is 3.7%. That ratio was at 3.9% when the economy bounced back from the recession of 2000-2001. This suggests that full employment has been achieved.

With good jobs available, there could be no better time to start decreasing the size of the federal government. Companies looking to take advantage of the economic incentives that are available will need skilled workers and professionals to make their share of the economic recovery possible. People who want to change careers, have skills, and are willing to work can find good jobs. Where do companies get the people they need? Why not from the bloated employment rolls of the federal government.

President Trump has campaigned on the promise to “drain the swamp.” That is a derogatory description of an important mission—decreasing the size of government and the debt it helps produce.

There are duplicate programs, people enforcing unnecessary regulations, automatic spending increases, and lavish salaries. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has found that on average, workers employed by federal, state and local governments make more than those employed by the private sector. Private sector employees report an average salary of over $44,000 per year. Government workers reported an average annual salary of $51,840. That’s over $7,000 per year more than private-sector employees. Federal workers make the most with an average employee salary of $76,470 -- about $32,000 more per year than the average private worker. No wonder our federal debt is out of control.

Many Democrats seem to have difficulty saying “no” to federal employees!” With the decrease in unions nationally, federal employee unions are one of their party’s key constituents. Fewer government employees, means fewer votes to maintain the ever-expanding federal budget and entitlement programs that help ensure more government dependence.

Democrats often “talk” about wanting to curtail waste, fraud, and abuse, but to Democrats, big government is still necessary to meet the needs of our “complex society.” To Democrats, the obstacles faced by some Americans are too difficult for them to face on their own. Government must grow in order to provide programs, establish and enforce regulatory controls, and fund agencies to meet those expanding needs that will help close the income gap between the haves and the have-nots. But they seem to show little concern about closing the income gap between private and public employees!

It’s time for President Trump and the GOP to stand for the principles they campaign on. It’s time to limit government to fulfill only the critical roles that people cannot do for themselves. The president has worked with Congress to lower taxes keeping more money in the pockets of American citizens who pay taxes. Now, it’s time to end unnecessary programs, regulations, and agencies while avoiding the temptation to start new ones.

Ask the tough questions and then act! What’s essential? Where’s the duplication? What government functions are best left to the state or local governments? What can be done to end the automatic budget increases and institute zero-based budgeting? When departments and programs cannot justify their budgets, is this administration ready to lay off unnecessary employees?

What about the federal employees who would lose jobs? It’s frightening to think of losing a government job in a poor economy—there are fewer jobs! With a full employment economy, there are more good opportunities. There’s no better time for federal workers to translate their skills and experience into compelling resumes to fill the need of private companies. Let’s take advantage of our economic expansion to move human resources from the public to the private sector to fuel even more growth.

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