When I was watching the debate last night I did a double-take when I heard Newt say that ‘reforming’ the federal Civil Service system could save “a minimum of $500 billion a year.”
That sounded pretty crazy to me since that’s like 15% of the entire federal government. And the vast majority of federal spending goes to the military and transfer payments like Social Security and Medicare.
Well, we looked into it and it turns out that the federal government’s entire payroll, even including the military, came to just $432.6 billion in fiscal 2011. In other words, if you fired everyone who works for the federal government you couldn’t save $500 billion.
Our requests for comment from the Newt campaign have yet to be returned.
Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.