The Sun, the Moon, and the Stars | Citizens Against Government Waste

The Sun, the Moon, and the Stars

The WasteWatcher

On November 17, 2008 the Washington Post reported that President-elect Obama “wooed” federal employees in seven federal agencies at the behest of American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO President John Gage.  The Post stated that the Obama letters provided “more specifics than he did on the campaign trail” about changes he would make at the Environmental Protection Agency, the Departments of Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Labor, Veterans Affairs, the Social Security and the Transportation Security Administrations if he became President.  Only the Defense Department was not assured of any increase in spending, just a promise to revise the National Security Personnel System, which was the Bush administration’s attempt to modernize the DOD civil service system.

The letters, a form of electioneering, were distributed among union employees at the agencies.  While federal employees can anticipate larger bureaucracies, bigger roles, and more regulations to enforce, taxpayers should brace for more government spending.

One of the more ironic letters went to HUD, saying, “The Department’s mission – to promote affordable housing and community development available to all without discrimination – is critical to the well-being of millions of working families.”  Isn’t that what got the nation into the current financial mess in the first place, urging people to purchase houses they couldn’t afford?

The letters demonstrate President-elect Obama’s strong desire to strengthen the federal employees’ union, while reducing outsourcing of some government jobs to private contractors, a practice that has been found to save tax dollars.  It is also clear that any downsizing the Bush administration may have accomplished in the last eight years will soon be on a reverse course.

Others argue that because of the cost of the promises Obama made to voters (the most recent tally from the National Taxpayers Union totals about $1 trillion over four years), it is unlikely he will be able make good on all the pledges for federal employees.  Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility Executive Director Jeff Ruch told the Post, “We’ll soon find out if he can deliver when he has to deliver his first budget.”

Taxpayers can probably expect that budget sometime before the end of February, 2009.  Everyone will then have a clearer understanding about which promises the new President intends to keep.

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