Reps. Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming and Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina this week introduced a bill that would kill 200,000 federal jobs by replacing only one worker for every three that leave. Their workforce dismantling plan would effectively starve federal agencies of the employees needed to carry out important tasks for the growing population. These tasks include keeping the borders safe and secure, protecting air travelers from terrorist attacks, making sure the food we eat is safe, finding cures to deadly diseases, educating our children, keeping criminals off the streets, caring for our veterans, protecting consumers, rescuing victims of natural disasters, cutting retirement checks, and the list goes on.
Bills like Lummis and Mulvaney’s are harmful to the economy. Federal employees are job creators. They shop. They eat out. They vacation. They pay taxes. The money federal employees spend sustain local economies, as evident during the 2013 furloughs where stores and restaurants lost business and had to cut their workers’ hours.
“If Reps. Lummis and Mulvaney believe the federal government can afford to lose another 200,000 employees in the span of a single year, then they should explain to the American public where they think these cuts should occur and what services they think we can do without.”
Contrary to popular belief, the federal government is small, especially when compared to the population it serves. Since the 1960s, the U.S. population rose by 65%, but the federal workforce went up only 9%. The number of workers employed by the federal government is currently at an all-time low – only 1.94% of the total U.S. workforce. The last time the number was this low was in the Eisenhower administration. As the population grows, the workforce it serves needs to keep up. After all, nobody likes to wait in line for hours to go through airport security or to get a simple question answered at a Social Security office.