“Government employees multiplying like rabbits”

That’s the title of a thought-provoking article at BizPacReview.  Here’s an excerpt.

By 2015, the Bureau of Labor Statistics stated there were 80% more people employed by government in America than those employed in the manufacturing sector. And federal, state and local governments employed about 21 million people. By October, 2019, this number had risen to 24,421,000 government workers, if we include the 1.4 million military employees. Of this amount, 17.3% worked for the federal government, 21.9% worked for state government, and 60.8% were employed by local governments.

The expanding federal government helps to explain why this country is running a federal debt of $22.03 trillion. This is money the U.S. has borrowed and is unpaid, the result of government spending more than it collects.

. . .

Generally, the states that are losing the highest number of residents are the states that are growing government the fastest. And states with fast-growing governments are the ones charging higher taxes, because their residents need to cough up higher payments for Big Government. Plus, more government employees result in imposing more rules and regulations, more government intrusion, more bureaucratic red tape, fatter government pensions, and higher costs. All a net drain on prosperity.

In short, our nation is being swallowed up by the government leviathan.

There’s more at the link.

We tend to think of “government workers” as those working for the Federal government;  but, as shown above, there are far more working for local (municipal) and regional (county or State) governments.  They seem to grow like weeds.

I wonder what success might be achieved by an electoral platform, at any level (local, regional or national), where the candidate refused to pay any attention to partisan politics, but instead vowed to reduce government bureaucracy by at least 10% during his/her term in office, and during every term thereafter?  I suspect that’d be a slam dunk recipe for success!



  1. Government is where the Peter Principle and Parkinson's Law have their most unfettered expression. The rest is a leviathan of incompetence.

    It os interesting to note that the study that lead Parkinson to formulate his Law was one of the British Colonial Office. He found that, at the time when the British Colonial possessions were rapidly declaring independence, the staff of the Colonial Office was GROWING.

    Even as their jobs ceased to exist.

  2. Mr. Grant,
    That happened in my state governmental unit during the Recession. My organization lost a full 50% of the complement. It wasn't heralded by anybody, but it did happen. I got transferred to a site 2 hours away from my previous billet. Happy to be still able to work, mind you. Public history (I do 17th C. Anglo-American) is crucial in my opinion, because the kids apparently know more than their parents nowadays. I rapid fire…. OK kids, last 5 Stuart monarchs, and James I doesn't count…..go…

  3. what success might be achieved by an electoral platform…[that]… vowed to reduce government bureaucracy

    1. Enormous government-worker contributions to opposing candidates;
    2. total opposition by local media.

  4. Even the bit that President Trump has managed is screamed about by the media and the Democrats. 600 positions cut from Education!? Catastrophe! Reducing regulations!? Inconceivable!

  5. Some of this has been driven though by the Federal Government's interference into every aspect of life both public and private. The EPA makes rules and the states have to hire people to comply with it. Ditto for city and county governments.

  6. The HR departments in state and local government are often led by highly dedicated social justice warriors and have aggressive affirmative action policies for every possible constituency. Every last one of those constituencies has multiple interest groups which will oppose any slowing in government growth, let alone actual shrinkage.

    There is coordination with other parts of the countries and with unions such as AFSCME and SEIO, among others, and with legal groups that will provide extensive litigation support.

  7. AT SSA we're seriously shorthanded, have about half the people we had when the attrition started with the Tea Party congresses in the 2010s. Now those left have so much being shoved on them we're starting to see people quit because the workloads are crazy but upper management wants to hit certain targets regardless of the reality on the ground and wait times for the public are getting ridiculous. Automation only goes so far which is another thing congress and the public don't want to hear. It's easy to say "let's cut bureaucracy" but not everyone wants the consequences.

  8. I'm with TheAxe on this one. For a number of agencies, workload is increasing (partly due to laws or changing conditions, and partly due to headquarters stupidity)and a lack of hiring when people retired has led to too few people chasing what they can – the end result is that the job doesn't get done well and the public isn't served well.
    If you look at government expenses, salaries are a small part of it – I would rather see cutting regs and total expenses over 'just' cutting employees, at least at the federal level; I can't speak for state and local since I don't know details of them.

    There are some, including Newt Gingrich, who advocate increasing federal employment to provide more personalized solutions that actually address problems with flexibility instead of a 'one size fits none' solution.

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