With the size and effectiveness of the federal government a contentious topic of debate, candidates in the 2000 presidential election no doubt are preparing their promises to cut government spending by taking yet another slice out of the government workforce. But Paul Light, the incoming vice president and director of the Brookings Governmental Studies program, warns in his new book that the impact of further downsizing could be disastrous–endangering core government services and interfering with a far more pressing purpose. Light argues that it is time to stop cutting the size of the government willy-nilly and start reshaping federal agencies.
During a breakfast roundtable discussion, Light explored the findings of his soon-to-be released book, The True Size of Government. He scrutinized government reform undertaken by the Clinton administration and as envisioned by the presidential hopefuls. Light also unveiled pragmatic reform agenda, which would selectively cull peripheral employees and generate effective criteria for privatizing particular government services.