Romney: Save $500B by cutting federal jobs, pay, combining agencies


(Darren McCollester, Getty Images)

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney yesterday said the path to saving a half-trillion each year lies with slashing federal jobs and pay, merging agencies, and cracking down on improper payments.

Romney’s proposals largely reiterated planks in the platform the GOP adopted last month, and other proposals Romney and other Republicans have made in recent years. Romney, speaking to the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Los Angeles, said he wants to save $500 billion a year by:

  • Cutting the federal workforce by 10 percent through attrition;
  • Combining agencies and departments to reduce overhead;
  • Stopping roughly $115 billion in improper payments made annually by government programs;
  • And bringing government compensation in line with the private sector.

The issue of government compensation and whether feds are overcompensated when compared to private sector workers is a tricky one, and largely depends on which study you look at. The government’s own studies find federal employees are greatly underpaid, but other studies (including one by the Congressional Budget Office) have found that feds receive more, especially when benefits are factored in.


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  1. What candidate Romney proposes would be a neat trick indeed!!! Imagine the relatively modest steps he proposes achieving a savings of $500 BILLION per year. This is remarkable when one considers that the ENTIRE federal payroll for all three branches of government, including the military and the post office will total somewhere around $460B for 2012.

  2. HI my name is Mitt Romney and I really cant recall or understand the world I live in.

    Math was very very troublesome for me, so my family hired a tutor and a stand-in for my exams.

    For the record I do believe neither of them, the tutor and the stand -in paid any Federal taxes. 🙂

  3. I never understand why would any Federal worker vote those GOP, is like Chicken vote for KFC. But again those federal worker are most likely closer to retire which they could careless what happen to rest of federal worker.

  4. I really wouldn’t mind cutting the workforce as long as it removes the non-productive, ineffective, overpaid leadership. If one of the candidates wanted to secure a good chunk of the military vote, propose (then follow through on it!) removing 50% of all the generals and Admirals. 25% of GS-14′ and 15’s could go immediately with very little (if any!) reduction in government service.

  5. in response to Grumpy, you can subtract the Post Office since the government doesn’t pay any postal salaries. USPS is self funded through sales and services. So yes, a neat trick indeed to save that kind of money when ALL federal salaries are well below that figure. Let’s not let minor things like facts, logic, and reality interfere with the republican party platform which is to strip as much wealth from the 98% and fork it over to the 2 % who really run this country.

  6. There are considerable gains that could be obtained if certain agencies were combined, redundant programs eliminated, and overpayments curtailed. It is a tall order, but one that could be accomplished with effective leadership in the white house and congress. Unfortunately, the politicians (both parties), are more interested in pleasing special interests that keep them in office, rather than do what is best for our country.

  7. In 1980 1% of the U.S. population held 7% of the wealth. Presently, 1 % of the U.S. population holds 25% of the wealth. Maybe Mr. Romney should target the rich and leave us middle/working class stiffs alone…

  8. Merge agencies and remove duplication — great idea and will save huge amounts of money.

    Offer serious buyouts to all those 55 and over and many will take it.

    Cut Welfare and Food Stamps by 25%

    Crack down on medicare fraud and social security fraud

    Seal the borders and exile illegals and stop payments to anyone who is not a citizen

    Bring half the troops home and station them for “training” purposes along the Mexican border

    Before talking about cutting federal worker’s pay, how about thinking back when many feds could have jumped ship to provate industy where millions were being made. Many of us didn’t jump ship and have stayed in for the long haul, no shortcuts, and just going to work until we are 65 or 70. We didn’t get bonus money to sign on, free cars, laptops, cell phones, trips, stock options, and so on, so why are we the punching bags now?

  9. Pingback: Romney: Save $500B by cutting federal jobs, pay, combining agencies | American Federation of Government Employees AFGE Local 704

  10. I agree with Paul. We are getting the brunt of it. Yes there is fluff in Federal Government (and everywhere else too). But Congress just says cut this amount here. Do they really think that the top level officials are going to cut their own or friends throats? Most of the ineffectual people are at the top levels. There are people up there collecting 6 figures who do NOTHING for it.

    I agree there are some agencies and some functions which could be combined, but figuring out how to do it and deal with the employees is a tall order.

    I don’t mind welfare and food stamps for people who truly need it. I DO have a huge problem with the illegals who are getting benefits off of us. I have a huge problem with everything going into Spanish and English. This is an English speaking country. By putting Spanish in there, you are insulting all the other immigrants (French, German, etc, etc.).

    Come on Congress. Step up to your country and stand behind her and work for YOUR people for a change.

  11. I’ve completed 40+ years federal government service starting out as a GS-2 after serving in the USAF/WAF in the 1970s. Whenever Congress and the White House want to cut the budget Federal Employees are the first to suffer. What I’ve observed over the years is that everyone/anyone who can retire or otherwise get out of the government decides to do so. That causes a loss of knowledge and experience to provide those left with any training and in turn a backlog of work being performed by those who are left trying absorb the 10% decrease in production and effectiveness.
    How about the elected officials actually decide upn what pet programs shouldn’t be funded and take a real look at where all the money actually goes. If federal employees are inefficient, perhaps it’s because the work to be performed is actually more than what any person can do in 8 hours. Look at the time spent in meetings, on line catching up with mail, and time spent to prove you are doing your work (workload statists/documentation.)
    Look at whether projects and programs determined to be successful are only successful because not all factors are considered. Anyone can deem a project successful if you fail to count all of the costs involved.

  12. I want to see specific results showing that federal workers make so much more than private sector. Sure in states like Idaho and Mississippi where few people are paid a decent wage. I do. Not believe it is as true as we are told. When salaries are frozen or cut are thr $100,000 salaries being cut?

  13. He said that he would cut government workforce by 10% through attrition. For those of you who do not know what that means, it means through retirement or leaving to take another job.

  14. I’m angry about Mr. Obama bailing out Wall Street and I’m guessing Mr. Obama may have struggled with the plan and now has some second thoughts, but I’m positive Mr. Romney would have not blinked an eye nor would he have hesitated to continue throwing more money at Wall Street…Not happy with either one, but reducing uncertainty is key and voting in another unknown after just 4 years will only prolong uncertainty…

  15. MSPB certainly needs to be eliminated, and IRS management is grossly overpaid between their huge salaries and bonuses, full of nepotism and corruption, and incompetent people promoted solely on the basis of race or nepotism. He should start with these agencies since they are out of control in their abuses.

  16. Is a no vote the same as a vote for our current president? Congratulations Mr. Romney, as a life long Republican, I cannot see how you will effectively lead our country and will not vote for either candidate. Can we not find a good person to lead our great nation?

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