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#WashingtonWatch: The Swamp Remains Undrained

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In assessing the “Republican” tax bill signed into law last week by U.S. president Donald Trump, one of our primary criticisms was its failure to sufficiently cut government spending.

Bigger, deeper cuts to the bureaucratic state could have created expanded tax relief for middle income earners and small businesses … relief that could have then been made permanent.

Such cuts are vital to empowering America’s consumer economy and expanding employment and income levels across the country.

Unfortunately, the GOP-controlled congress failed to make these cuts … and failed to target the relief it did provide where it is needed most.

“At the end of the day, the GOP simply wasn’t willing to make long-overdue cuts to the bloated bureaucracy in Washington,” we wrote earlier this month.  “They refused to fully repeal Obamacare.  They refused to enact budget cuts submitted by the (Trump) administration.”

They chose the swamp over the people, in other words.

Will the bill still help the American economy?  Probably … which is why we didn’t oppose it. 

Still, the bill represents a tremendous missed opportunity … and as a result “Republicans” have a huge sales job ahead of them if they want to hang on to their legislative majorities this fall.

Underscoring our point about the need to cut government?  A new report issued by national transparency website OpenTheBooks.com.  According to the organization, there are 1.97 million disclosed federal employees currently on the payroll drawing $136 billion in annual compensation.  On top of that there are approximately 2 million undisclosed federal employees (most of them working for the U.S. Department of Defense, America’s various intelligence agencies and serving on active military duty).

Which means we’re probably looking at more than $270 billion in annual compensation costs.

Of the 1.97 million disclosed federal employees, more than 406,000 of them are earning at least $100,000 per year.

That’s one out of every five federal employees …

Big salaries are on the rise, too.  Between fiscal year 2010 and 2016, the report found that the number of federal employees making $200,000 or more increased by a whopping 165 percent.

The report also found that, on average, federal employees receive ten federal holidays, thirteen sick days, and twenty vacation days per year.  That’s 43 days off – which costs taxpayers an estimated $22.6 billion annually.

Yeah … no wonder the federal government is more than $20 trillion in debt (with interest payments on that debt fast approaching half a trillion dollars annually).

For those of you keeping score at home here’s the full report.  And here’s a nifty search feature the group created so you can see who all of these federal employees are – and where they are working.

Bottom line?  The swamp remains undrained.  Which means Trump and the handful of “Republicans” in Washington, D.C. who legitimately care about cutting government have their work cut out for them in 2018.

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