NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Federal Baggage Screeners Swell Employee Ranks

February 6, 2004

President Bush's budget this week reveals that in 2003 the federal civilian workforce increased for the third year in a row. Many of the new employees are airport baggage screeners.

  • Federal employment increased to 1,867,000 last year 89,000 more over three years.
  • Civilian Defense employment has continued to fall modestly, but that has been more than made up by an 83,000 increase at the Homeland Security Department.
  • At 153,000 employees last year, Homeland Security is now bigger than all cabinet departments except Defense and Veterans Affairs.
  • The number of federal civilian workers -- excluding the Post Office and uniformed military -- reached a modern low of 1,778,000 in 2000.
  • The number of nonmilitary Defense workers declined about 300,000 during the Clinton Presidency.
  • The non-Defense workforce fell about 50,000 workers in the Clinton years, mostly from the winding down of the savings and loan workout and less need for veterans' health care.

If the President doesn't also watch the growth of the federal payroll, says the Journal, sooner or later the tax burden will rise again too.

Source: Editorial, "Uncle Sam Expands," Wall Street Journal, February 6, 2004.

For WSJ text (requires subscription),,SB107603125060422581,00.html


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