A Smaller Government, at Least at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

by Jim Geraghty

From the first Morning Jolt of the Independence Day holiday week . . . 

A Smaller Government, at Least at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

On Friday, the Trump administration released its annual report on White House office personnel, disclosing the name, salary, and position title of all 377 White House employees. OpenTheBooks.com, a private organization that tracks government spending, calculates that the Trump White House is costing taxpayers $5 million less, and employing 110 fewer staffers, than the the Obama White House in 2015.

Perhaps the biggest reduction comes in the size of the first lady’s staff: “There are five staffers dedicated to Melania Trump vs. 24 staffers who served Michelle Obama (FY2009).” God bless Melania.

In the eyes of a fiscal conservative, this is good. This is not even a drop in the bucket of our overall government spending problems, but it is good to see the White House leading by example.

One point to consider is whether the White House might work a bit more effectively if it had, say, a few more assistants for legislative affairs attempting to coordinate with Capitol Hill. (I notice that in the final year of the Obama presidency, the White House had 68 people with the word “policy” in their job titles; the new Trump administration has 27.) Yes, fewer White House assistants, deputies, support specialists, project managers, analysts, and so on qualifies as cutting government. But then again, these are among the very few positions in the entire federal bureaucracy with the duty of implementing conservative policies across the government.

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