WASHINGTON, Jan. 20, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr. today issued the following statement:
"As President Obama prepares to deliver his State of the Union address tonight, federal employees are hard at work delivering the programs and services that help make our country the greatest nation in the world.
"Unfortunately, the federal workforce is facing death by a thousand cuts. The number of workers employed by the federal government is currently at an all-time low – less than 2 percent of the total U.S. workforce. The last time the number was this low was in the Eisenhower administration.
"When compared to the growth of the U.S. population, this reckless downsizing becomes even more striking. There is now one federal employee for every 155 residents, compared to one federal employee for every 102 residents in 1965. That means the ratio of federal employees providing services to the population has declined by more than 50 percent in just a matter of decades.
"Sure, the government is more efficient now thanks to the Internet, automation, and other technological advances. But we still need federal employees on the ground and in our communities to care for veterans, inspect our food, keep the air and water clean, rescue victims of natural disasters, find cures to deadly diseases, keep air travel safe, protect communities from criminals, and manage defense contracts worth billions of dollars.
"Slashing the size of the federal workforce leaves the government no choice but to rely on expensive and unaccountable private contractors, who are out to make a profit by charging the government more and delivering less to taxpayers. As the Project on Government Oversight found in a 2011 study, contractors charge the government nearly twice as much as federal employees cost for comparable services.
"The politicians advocating a smaller federal government fail to understand the critical role the government plays in ensuring a vibrant economy. Businesses depend on the federal government to build highways and bridges so they can transport their goods from the factories and farms to the consumers. Government research funded by taxpayer money created the Internet, the first satellite navigation system, the chips in cellphones, and many other scientific and technological advances.
"All Americans depend on federal employees to keep their communities safe and secure so they can live a decent private life. Continuing to slash the federal workforce threatens our nation's security, our economic progress, and our collective prosperity."
The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) is the largest federal employee union, representing 670,000 workers in the federal government and the government of the District of Columbia.
SOURCE American Federation of Government Employees