A quick read of Paul Dutram’s letter of April 29 might make one believe the writer is a fan of small government, perhaps someone who supports the ideas of Republican Rep. Ron Paul or Republican Gov. Gary Johnson, both presidential candidates who are serious about slowing federal government growth.

However, the phrases “trickle-down,” “voodoo economics,” “specious Republican claim” and “Republican canard” suggest that the overriding objective is to discredit Republicans.

Dutram compares federal civilian job statistics for 20 years of Republican administrations to 12 years of Democrat administrations. Even if Democrats and Republicans were inclined to add federal jobs at the same rate, with the extra time, Republicans would have added many more jobs.

Timing is everything. How about adding in the Johnson and Nixon/Ford years? Between Sept. 30, 1963, and Sept. 30, 1968, executive branch civilian employment increased by 522,000. Between Sept. 30, 1968, and Sept. 30, 1976, executive branch civilians dropped by 187,000. Dutram’s grand totals would change to 134,000 jobs added by Democrats and 74,000 added by Republicans.

It’s all great fun, just pick dates that favor your team. But, don’t sell us the idea that this is actually meaningful.

Let’s look at President Barack Obama’s numbers: In the two years between Sept. 30, 2008, and Sept. 30, 2010, executive branch civilian employment increased by 84,000. That compares to the 53,000 increase between Sept. 30, 2000, and Sept. 30, 2008 — roughly during the eight George W. Bush years.

Comparisons by administration are complicated by the fact that www.opm.gov numbers are based on the federal fiscal year end (9/30).

In his promised “more to come,” Dutram might consider being a little more objective or at least acknowledge the limitations of his statistics.

Neal Patterson

Waterville


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