D.C.'s Race Quota Job Boom

Employment's only a problem if you have the wrong skin color.

While millions of jobless Americans struggle in the rough-edged recession, Washington employment is booming, driven partly by new racial and gender quotas.

The swollen federal government under President Obama has guaranteed a robust job market for regulators, policy wonks, contractors, Washington elitists, and plenty of under-qualified job-holders. Helping Washington’s job boom is a provision of the new financial regulation law requiring race and gender employment ratios in private financial institutions that do business with the government. A new diversity overseer, with staff, will take office in each of the many federal financial regulatory agencies, including new ones created by the new law. At least 20 “Offices of Minority and Women Inclusion” will be thrust into agencies and offices ranging from the Securities and Exchange Commission to the 12 regional banks of the Federal Reserve System. They will be among the 264,000 government regulators (as calculated by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce).

The federal government now has moved “from outlawing discrimination to setting up a system of quotas,” wrote Diana Furchtgott-Roth in RealClearMarkets. She is an adjunct fellow at the Manhattan Institute. The inclusion rule would apply “not just to the agency’s workforce but also to the workforce of its contractors and subcontractors. The mission of this troupe of monitors is to assure “fair inclusion,” a definition as wide open as the mouth of the Grand Canyon. Governmental Inclusion entities also would include the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the National Credit Union Administration, Controller of the Currency, and the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The result, says Ms. Furchtgott-Roth: “redundant hiring and wasteful expansion of payroll overhead.”

The law also dictated that recruiting for the Offices of Minority and Women Inclusion should be at historically black colleges and universities, Hispanic-serving institutions and women’s colleges, at job fairs in urban communities, and at inter-city high schools with mainly minority pupils. Recruiting ads are to be placed in newspapers and magazines oriented toward minorities and women, Fox News radio detailed.

Wasn’t this supposed to be a “post-racial” Administration? But apparently not post-racist. We most recently have seen the ousting of the now famous Shirley Sherrod from her Department of Agriculture job when the White House with hair-trigger speed acted to avert what they mistakenly thought was racial action in play.

Cabinet level Departments of the federal government already have individual offices of Civil Rights and Diversity. Many minorities are in high and low posts in Uncle Sam’s service. One of President Obama’s closest advisers, often called his “alter ego,” is Valerie Jarrett, a black woman from those good old Chicago political days.

But the inordinate build-up of minorities and women in the federal workforce is only part of the rampant growth of the Washington Metropolitan area since Obama took office. Like iron filings drawn to a magnet, those with even tangential connections with government have flowed into the area for the near-guarantee of a more prosperous existence. The Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University released a set of charts showing the population growth in the Washington area and the growth of the federal government over the years. The university has four campuses near Washington.

Stephen S. Fuller, university professor and director of the Center for Regional Analysis pointed out that projected growth in full-time federal jobs is calculated to be 125,550 between 2009 and 2012. To put the ballooning of the federal government in perspective, Fuller mentioned that “when government moved to Washington in 1800, 14 wagons carried the entire paperwork (archives) of government” through the muddy streets of D.C. where only 8,140 people lived. Now the District of Columbia has 604,000 residents, and the metropolitan area encompasses 5,580,000.

The housing market in the District of Columbia, but especially the outlying areas or northern Virginia and south-western Maryland, where many of the high-income bureaucrats, members of Congress and professionals live, is far outpacing other parts of the country. So, as an article in Politico points out, there’s “a yawning gap between the American people and D.C. powerful when it comes to their economic reality—and their economic perceptions.”

The huge expansion of the federal bureaucracy under Obama has “guaranteed a robust job market for policy professionals, regulators and contractor for years to come. According to a Politico poll, close to half of the “Washington elites” said the country and the economy are headed in the right direction. In contrast, only about 25 percent of the general population said they felt that way.

Federal civilian employees (1.9 million of them) had an average pay of $79,197 in 2008, according to an examination of data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis by the Cato Institute. The average pay for the nation’s 108 million private-sector workers was only $50,028. With enormous federal deficits for years to come, the Cato study said one place to find savings is the generous compensation of the (now 2.1 million) civilian employees.

“Total wages and benefits paid to executive branch civilians was $230 billion in [fiscal year] 2010.” A job-to-job comparison found that “federal workers earned higher wages than private-sector workers in four-fifths of the occupations examined.” When health care and pensions are included, those on the federal payroll averaged $119,982, double what ‘Joe Six-pack’ makes. Routine adjustments move federal employees into higher salary rackets regardless of performance. Federal job-holders are more unionized (37.4percent) than in the real world of the private sector (7.2 percent), according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. More union members are black than are white.

As George Mason University’s Stephen Fuller puts it, “We have an Administration that’s clearly expanding the role of the federal government as manager and provider of funds. That hasn’t been the case in the past, except in the case of wars.” As Fuller’s charts show: From 2009 to April 2010, the Obama Administration boosted employment by 28,000 to a total of 125,000 jobs. In the 8 years of the George Bush Administration, federal jobs fell by 35,000. Fuller explained that there is such considerable outsourcing now that many thousands are working indirectly for the government through contracts. So, about half of the total federal spending is for procurement in the Metro area, including all manner of goods and service from a new hair-do for a lady lobbyist in Silver Spring, MD, to Northrop Grumman  moving operations from Southern California to Northern Virginia. Federal procurement alone in the Metro area in 2009 totaled $519 billion.

In the atmosphere of ultra-liberal hiring policies brought on by Obama Administration policies and new laws, many stories have been carried in the media that said, to enforce the collected of  health law mandates, the IRS will have to hire 16,000 new agents. But Senate Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) got the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to study the matter and send him a letter saying only about 11,800 new workers at IRS will be hired in connection with the new health care law.

What a relief!