Barack Obama promises that before his presidency is up, he’s going to demand ‘something from everybody’ to get the nation’s fiscal house in order. But there seems to be one sacred cow that will dodge the knife: government. And while it may not come as a surprise to anybody at all, it’s worth remembering that government still seems to be getting fat — as it does during prosperous and lean times, and during war and peace:

Despite the highest unemployment rate in 15 years, government grew at all levels in 2008, continuing a seemingly unstoppable trend that has withstood recessions, wars, and record budget deficits. Health care and education also added jobs in 2008, continuing their iron-clad growth trends as well.

State, federal, county and local governments employed approximately 22.5 million people in 2008, according to a report released Friday by the U.S. Department of Labor. Additionally, 13.4 million people were employed in the healthcare sector, and 3 million worked in education, according to the report.

Unemployment rose to 7.2 percent in December 2008, up from 6.8 percent in November and 5.8 percent in 2007. Government, healthcare, and education were the only three sectors that didn’t shed jobs in 2008.

The federal government added 84,400 jobs in 2008…

State governments added 11,600 jobs in 2008, while local governments added 68,100 jobs. State and local leaders have pressured the incoming Obama administration for federal assistance, saying massive federal aid to states and localities is necessary to keep the economy from deteriorating further.

Here’s an idea for our representatives in Congress: if Barack Obama is serious about his promise to take a pound of flesh from every constituency in the process of restoring balanced budgets and repairing insolvent entitlement programs, why not insist upon a plan to return the overall size of the federal workforce to where it is on January 20, 2009. Surely if all of the rest of us have to tighten our belts, Barack Obama can insist that Uncle Sam do the same.