October 1 2013
The $4 Trillion Government Cupboard is Hardly Bare
Vicki E. Alger
“The cupboard is bare. There’s [sic] no more cuts to make,” says House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi. Scary stuff, indeed.
The editors at Investor’s Business Daily have a different perspective: “Shutdown Preparations Prove Most Government is a Waste.” In response to Pelosi’s “bare cupboard” fretting, the IBD editors say the cupboard’s still full post furlough. Quoting a letter from the Office of Management and Budget, IBD noted that of the 1,701 White House staff members, only 436 are now deemed essential—I mean “excepted”—and will report to work as usual. But the IBD editors rightfully ask, what for?
Activities like what? Turning off the lights?...it'll take 12 taxpayer-paid employees "to support the vice president in the discharge of his constitutional duties.” …
What do these 12 absolutely essential non-Secret Service vice-presidential staff do, guarantee that Joe Biden doesn't make a gaffe during the shutdown?
He also gets one staffer for the vice president's residence. Can't "average Joe," who as a senator famously rode the commuter train with the riffraff from Delaware to Washington every day, make his own meals for a few days? Or put up with Dr. Jill's cooking?...
And how many of the more than 20 members of the first lady's staff, at least four of whom are paid six figures by the taxpayers, will be deemed non-essential?
The White House is just a microcosm of the out-of-control growth in federal government personnel.
Federal spending now approaches $4 trillion—more than 22 percent of national GDP (p. 183). Our government was never supposed to be unlimited. It's time to shrink it back to its Constitutional bounds.