Letters to the Editor

Letter of the Week: Bigger population, flat SSA workforce

Smaller government

The Star’s March 19 front-page story, “Fighting for her life,” about Barbara Sales’ struggles to obtain Social Security disability benefits is a good illustration of the effects of government downsizing.

The Social Security Administration has been starved of resources, and it takes 513 days on average to get a decision from a judge in Kansas City. The administration has recently been advised that it can hire 100 extra workers nationwide.

In spite of a rising population and an explosion of benefit applications, the workforce for the Social Security Administration has remained practically flat for more than 20 years. This article gets to the reality of a myth about the federal workforce. According to the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association, a 2014 study revealed that the federal sector is at its smallest since 1966.

The U.S. population has gone from 197 million in 1966 to 326 million today, a 65 percent increase. As of 2015, the study reported, there were 2.06 million non-postal civilian federal workers.

Think about this the next time you get on an airplane (air traffic controllers and security), pour a glass of water or breathe (environmental protection), sit down to your favorite meal (food inspectors), drive on our nation’s roads (engineers) or deal with a bank (consumer and commercial laws).

The list goes on.

Edward Acosta