Saturday, January 14, 2012

Ringmaster Without a Whip

Good editorial in today's WSJ on the laughability of President Obama now trying to portray himself as a government reformer after three years of almost unfettered expansion at the federal level. The Reorganization Man:

Another way of putting it is that this new emphasis on streamlining the bureaucracy is Mr. Obama's version of the Texas Governor's "Oops." Having presided over the largest expansion of government since LBJ—health care, financial reregulation, spending 24% of GDP, the surge of industrial policy—Mr. Obama's pollsters must be saying that voters have the jimmy-legs about bigger government and that he thus can't run only as a Great Society man.

But let's go to the videotape. One measure of government size is the federal work force, measured by the White House budget office as civilian full-time equivalent employees, excluding the military and Post Office. The executive branch had about 1.875 million workers in 2008 when the financial crisis hit, a number that held relatively constant throughout the post-9/11 Bush Administration. That number climbed to 2.128 million two years later under the 111th Congress—or growth of 13.5%. That's the largest government since 1992, when the Clinton Administration began to slash defense spending.

After three years of feeding the beast, I find it hard to believe that voters will but into the notion that President Obama is now the one who will tame it.