President Donald Trump promised to reduce the size of government and impose a targeted hiring freeze in 2017. He indicated that his administration would be replacing that initial freeze “with a smarter plan, a more strategic plan, a more surgical plan.” So far, there is no plan. Instead, cuts by attrition have led to increased outsourcing. Since official job counts include only federal employees, the government can appear to be shrinking when it is simply shifting jobs to private contractors.
What we have is not smaller government but a growing private government, one that operates under the radar, often at greater cost and with considerably less accountability.
Linda Stamato, a regular contributor to The Star-Ledger, is co-director of the Center for Negotiation and Conflict Resolution at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy of Rutgers University.