Focus Point - Shrinking Government

Commentary by Pete du Pont

I'm Pete du Pont with the National Center for Policy Analysis. Today, one of the biggest problems facing the new Congress: Bigness.

Specifically, the size of the Federal Government. Remember how Al Gore as Vice President was going to "reinvent" government and make it smaller?

Well, the Brookings Institution reports that the majority of the 300,000 jobs cut from the Federal Government came from the huge post-cold war downsizing at the Defense and Energy Departments. Non-defense, non-energy jobs increased -- Transportation by 200,000, Justice by 120,000 for example.

Both Al Gore and George W. Bush proposed spending plans during the campaign that would grow both the on-budget civil service and off-budget contract and mandated work force, the total workforce already exceeds 12 million.

But government doesn't get smaller on its own. Somebody in the Congress has to hold up a stop sign and say "enough." We have to stop assigning power to the Federal Government, which will in turn reduce its need for money, which will cause it to shrink. Is there anybody out there who remembers how not to spend?

Those are my ideas, and at the NCPA we know ideas can change the world. I'm Pete du Pont. Next time, Teachers and Charters.