Gov Actually Episode 3: Trimming the fat of the federal government

Dan and Danny take a look at recent propositions to wage war against bureaucracy by cutting the workforce and discuss whether it's really that simple.

Every candidate who campaigns for presidency does so with the idea that if they win, they’ll cut the red tape in Washington and clean up the waste.

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., proposed last week that President-elect Donald Trump should wage a “straight-out war” on federal bureaucracy, feeding into the soon-to-be president’s desire to cut the federal workforce.

While Gingrich didn’t offer many specific approaches on how to achieve that, Gov Actually hosts Danny Werfel, former acting commissioner of the IRS, and former GSA Administrator Dan Tangherlini address this hot topic in episode 3 of Gov Actually, arguing that even if the president were to somehow cut the entire federal workforce — which would end all necessary government functions, like the IRS’s tax collection and military forces’ defense of the nation — it wouldn’t solve the problem.


“The problem is conflating this idea that reducing the number of federal employees reduces the cost of government,” says Tangherlini. “I think that folks who are really thoughtful about it should say, ‘How do we align those human resources toward actually delivering the services in a more efficient and effective way?’ The cost of salaries … is a fraction — a small fraction, not even a meaningful fraction — of the expenditure.”

It’s the old tooth-to-tail adage — “How do we find that right balance so that you have an efficient organization and not a bloated one?” Werfel questions in episode 3 of Gov Actually.

Hear that and more on the latest episode of Gov Actually, and catch all of the episodes on iTunes and SoundCloud.

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