Reprinted from The Economist:
B CA Research produced this fascinating chart in its latest research note which showed the growth in public sector employment in the first four years of recent Presidencies. As you can see, it has contracted under Barack Obama, as it did under Ronald Reagan; the real “big government” types were the two Bushes.
An obvious objection is that the numbers bundle together federal, state and local. State and local numbers are nothing to do with a president* and any decline is the result of a combination of the economic downturn and balanced-budget provisions. But if you break down the numbers, you will see that federal employment has increased by just 16,000 under Mr Obama, hardly a socialist transformation (and not much of a Keynesian stimulus either). Over his two terms, George W. Bush added 37,000 federal jobs; Ronald Reagan added 197,000 federal jobs in his two. Bill Clinton lost 139,000! Federal employment is some 350,000 down from when Reagan left office.