Drudge Ignores That Many New Federal Employees Take Care Of Veterans

Blog ››› ››› TERRY KREPEL

The Drudge Report hyped an Investor's Business Daily claim that President Obama has hired an average 101 new federal employees a day. But federal employment is not keeping pace with population growth and a significant number of those new jobs are necessary to handle the care of returning and wounded veterans.

A headline on the Drudge Report linked to an Investor's Business Daily article by Andrew Malcolm under the headline "Obama has hired 101 new federal employees A DAY since taking office..." The article claimed that during the Obama administration, "the federal government has daily hired on average 101 new employees. Every day. Seven days a week. All 202 weeks":

But both Drudge and Malcolm ignored that a significant portion of the increase in federal jobs are a result of defense spending, including an increase in hiring associated with caring for military personnel returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Examining claims about increased federal employment, PolitiFact found that "all told, national defense, assisting veterans, and protecting the national borders account for close to 90% of all federal civilian employee growth." PolitiFact quoted John Palguta, vice president for policy at the Partnership for Public Service, a nonpartisan group that studies the federal workforce, as saying, "Just about all of the increases are at the Defense Department, Veterans Affairs, Homeland Security and the Department of Justice."

Further, a significant portion of those new jobs involve taking care of military veterans. According to Palguta, "The sad fact is that the VA has had to increase staff at the hospitals to care for the wounded warriors coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan." PolitiFact also noted that "the single largest increase in manpower at the Defense Department" is Tricare, the military's health insurance program, which "added some 5,000 people over the past three years. The general growth of the military over the past decade further drove up that number."

Drudge's hyping of IBD's numbers also ignores the fact that the number of federal workers as a portion of the U.S. population is declining. Washington Post columnist Ed O'Keefe calculated the number of Executive Branch employees, including Postal Service employees, in the first full calendar year of the term for each elected president since John Kennedy, and found that since 1970, the number of executive branch employees per 1,000 population has been on a longtime downward trend, from 14.4 in 1970 to an estimated 8.4 in 2010:

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