President Obama and his top officials embarked on a public relations blitz last past week evidently designed to portray him as "pro growth." All such political PR pushes tend to bear tenuous relationships with reality, but in this case the gulf between the truth and what the politicians are saying is about as wide as the Grand Canyon. Say what he will, Obama's actions since his first day in office have made clear that his business is growing government. On all three basic measures of the size of government -- work force, spending, and taxes -- Obama has stimulated tremendous growth.

Take employment. In the private sector, unemployment stays stubbornly near 10 percent. Obama promised his $859 billion stimulus program would keep private sector unemployment below 8 percent, but his failure to reverse the direction of the economy on this score has been so dismal that he is now left to plead with audiences to remember that "it could be 12, 13 or even 15 percent." The president might as well have conjectured a 20, 22 or 25 percent unemployment rate; it would still just be conjecture. What is real is that, while the jobless rate rises or falls slightly from week to week, there are 7.9 million fewer working Americans today than there were in December 2007.

The story for public sector employment, however, is quite the opposite. At 4.4 percent, the unemployment rate among government workers is almost exactly half that of the private sector. But the insulation of government workers from the market realities that private sector workers face is far from the whole story. The federal work force is expanding, not contracting, thanks to Obama initiatives like a health care program that adds 16,000 new Internal Revenue Service enforcers to ensure compliance with the individual mandate. Between December 2008 and December 2009, the federal government added nearly 100,000 new positions.

And being a government worker in the Obama era can be quite lucrative, too. According to data obtained by the Asbury Park Press via a Freedom of Information Act request, last year, 1.3 million federal employees received bonuses totaling $408 million, up $80 million over 2008. Complete data for the remaining federal workers was not available, but in 2008, the Department of Defense gave $92 million in bonuses to its 687,000 civilian employees. On the salary side, the average annual federal salary is now just under $120,000, compared with $59,909 for the private sector, according to the Census Bureau of Economic Analysis. It is cold comfort to millions of unemployed Americans to hear Obama say he is pro-growth. !