Paul C. Light Releases New Findings on Government Reform and the 2020 Election

Paul C. Light, nonresident senior fellow at the Volcker Alliance and professor at New York University, presented at an event hosted by NYU Washington, D.C. on Thursday, April 18 regarding his latest analysis of how government reform could be a defining issue in the 2020 election. According to Professor Light’s latest surveys, almost two-thirds of Americans now agree that the federal government needs very major government reform, but they are sharply divided about what the federal government should deliver. One group of these Americans, which Light calls the “dismantlers,” wants a smaller government that delivers fewer services, while a second group, which Light calls the “rebuilders,” wants a bigger government that delivers more services. According to Light’s research, the dismantlers and rebuilders form the core of the 2020 electorate.

Professor Light discussed his findings with a panel of experts including Jocelyn Kiley, associate director of research at Pew Research Center, William Kristol, founder and former editor-at-large at the Weekly Standard, Karen Tumulty, columnist for The Washington Post, and Vanessa Williamson, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. In addition to discussing Professor Light's research, the panel discussed the 2020 campaign and policy positions that might activate both groups.

Professor Light's new report was released at the event on Thursday morning. The report, published by Brookings, can be accessed here.

Paul C. Light has conducted extensive research on the nation’s government, with a focus on the size and composition of the government workforce. His latest book, The Government-Industrial Complex: The True Size of the Federal Government, 1984-2018, supported by the Volcker Alliance, delivers a new analysis and estimates the current size of the government-industrial complex since 1984. He observes that the American government has greatly increased the use of contract and grant employees, while the actual number of federal employees has remained steady.

Paul C. Light has also published two issue papers with the Volcker Alliance: "The True Size of Government" and "People on People on People."