Tax Burden: 40 Million Government Workers
by Gary North: When
Government Safety Nets Break
How many people work for governments in the United States. Lets
look at the numbers.
The usual estimate
of the number of employees of the U.S. government is 2.8 million.
The estimate is fake. This does not count military personnel. But
most important, it does not count contract workers paid by
the federal government.
of Personnel Management does not keep track of these workers. That
would give the game away.
One man has
estimated the total: Prof. Paul Light of New York University.
government] uses contracts, grants, and mandates to state and
local governments to hide its true size, thereby creating the
illusion that it is smaller than it actually is, and give its
departments and agencies much greater flexibility in hiring labor,
thereby creating the illusion that the civil-service system is
somehow working effectively. . . .
and grantees do not keep count of their employees, in part because
doing so would allow the federal government . . . to estimate
actual labor costs.
Here is his
estimate: 11 million, broken down as follows: 1.8 million civil
servants, 870,000 postal workers, 1.4 million military personnel,
4.4 million contractors, and 2.5 million grantees. These figures
are from 2006.
federal government isnt all. Despite its huge budgets, state
and local governments dwarf Washington in direct employment. According
to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 3.8 million full-time and
1.5 million part-time employees on state payrolls. Local governments
add a further 11 million full-time and 3.2 million part-time personnel.
This means that state and local governments combined employ 19.5
add up the true size of the federal workforce civil servants,
postal workers, military personnel, contractors, grantees, and
bailed-out businesses and add in state- and local-government
employees civil servants, teachers, firefighters, and police
officers we reach the astonishing figure of nearly 40 million
Americans employed in some way by government. That means that
about 17 percent of the American labor pool one in every
six workers owes its living to the taxpayer.
There is going
to be a government default at some point. Tens of millions of these
people will lose their jobs. The private sector will have to absorb
the rest of the article
North [send him mail]
is the author of Mises
on Money. Visit http://www.garynorth.com.
He is also the author of a free 20-volume series, An
Economic Commentary on the Bible.
2012 Gary North
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