A Modest Proposal: Cut 15% Of The Federal Government Workforce, Save $1.4 Trillion In Ten Years

Tyler Durden's picture

While Washington is baffling everyone with male cow manure, presenting 7-slide powerpoints full of talking points and empty of actual actionable cost-cutting proposals, while draping the melodrama in ever more evanescent haute couture of "emperor's clothing" du jour, the one true solution to all our problems is so simple that it is perfectly logical that it would have been avoided like the plague by D.C. In a nutshell: do to the government, what the privates sector has done to itself in the past 3 years, and fire 15% of the federal government workforce. After all everyone, even the government, complains about the bloat in the system. Here is the chance to fix it. And the benefits, unlike the back-end loaded and extremely loose "bipartisan plan", which happens to invoke such pseudo-totalitarian constructs as the "Super Congress", can be quantified immediately, with the applicable savings made abundantly clear to all from day one. In this case - slimming the US government ever so modestly, by just 15%, would generate savings of $117.4 billion a year, of $1.4 trillion over the next 10 years. And no, these are not reductions in future spendings: these are real actionable cuts from the day they are enacted, with fungible cash able to be used for any other, much more needed purposes, up to and including economically stimulative projects, which actually generate jobs for the private sector.

John Poehling explains in more detail:

It appears from the Congressional Research Service (http://assets.opencrs.com/rpts/RL34685_20110419.pdf) that the Federal Govt has 2.9 million employees with an average all in wage & benefit package that averages $146,100. 

 

This includes $140.4 billion in retirees costs allocated to the 2.9 mm active workers (adds about $49,500 to the all in cost per employee).

 

If we cut the size of the federal govt workforce by 15% (as most companies did) & reduced the all in cost per employee by 15% we could save $117.4 billion per year (a reduction from $423.2 bn to $305.7 bn).

 

Over the next 10 years, this would save $1.4 trillion (assuming an annual COLA of 3%).

Obviously, since this is a sensible, logical proposal, it will never succeed, as it entails actual, real sacrifices from the government sector. And that is impossible -  after all they don't call it a Kabuki for nothing. DC doing something to cut costs, even if it does not impair the private sector, instead of promising to do so in the future, would make a mockery out of all those who made a mockery of the past several weeks on the Hill. Which is impossible.

Last but not least, we should never forget that Congress gets its primary modus operandi from the immortal advice of the Simpsons' Troy McClure: "And now that you know how it's done... don't do it" (except when Fluffy Bunny happens to be America's middle class of course).