While leaders assess the state of the economy and the enormity of U.S. debt, it is clearly the right time to reduce the size of the federal government.

During President Barack Obama’s State of the Union message, he stated a need for consolidation of several agencies to reduce the cost of government. He’s right! The size of government is obvious to those who visit the nation’s capital. Throughout the city, the numbers of large, multi-story buildings bring questions needing answers: “What in the world do all those government employees do for the taxpayers?” “Did the founding fathers really expect to have the central government do so much to help the states govern the people?”

During the recent economic downturn, businesses acted on the need to downsize and become more efficient to stay competitive. Now is the time for federal, state and local governments to downsize.

Political leaders must realize that government functions should be managed similar to business. The layoff or retirement of tens of thousands of government employees could infuse large numbers of educated, motivated individuals into the national human resource backlog. The motivated former government employees could be set free to become the next inspired group of entrepreneurs to stimulate the economy.

Several states are taking the necessary steps to reduce spending in order to spur economic development. The federal and local governments should show they are serious about governing in a partnership with the states.

Len Greaney, Rumford Center

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