Revised–How big is big government?

Revised — How big is big government?

by Jon Rappoport

March 5, 2010

A week ago, I posted this article. Since then, I’ve had time to reflect further, and I’ve also gotten suggestions from readers. The situation is far stranger than I thought. So I’ve revised my numbers.

I hope you’ll take the time to move this article along to people in media (and others) who might understand its implications. Give it some effort. Okay?

It’s easy to say government is too big, but when we get to the actual numbers, what are we talking about?

An October 6, 2006, article in the Washington Post by Christopher Lee, “Big Government gets Bigger,” states that 14.6 million people work for the federal government.

This includes civil servants, military personnel, groups that obtain federal grants, postal employees, and—here is a key—those people who work for companies that are federally funded contractors.

When we go to the 2008 Census, we discover that 5.2 million Americans work full or part-time for state governments. 14.4 million people work full or part time for local governments. Total: 19.6 million.

Add 19.6 (state and local) and 14.6 (federal), and you get 34.2 million people who work for the government.

According to the US Census Bureau, the population of the US is 308,676,685.

Roughly speaking, this means there is one government employee for every nine people in the US.

I can’t believe my eyes.

A few days ago, I was working on another article, and I wrote: “The goal of the governments of all modern industrial societies is: everyone works for the government.”

I had no idea how close we were, in the US.

The US Census Bureau states that, in July 1776, there were 2.5 million people living in the 13 colonies. If we applied the present 1:9 ratio, it would mean 277,777 people would have been working for governments in those colonies. Forget about England and King George—I think that alone would have been enough to foment a revolution. I’m sure of it.

UPDATE #1: Since I published this article, several people have pointed out that there are more people who, in some sense, work for government than I tallied. For example, the Census figures on numbers of state and local government employees do not include people who work for private contractors that are state-or-local-government-funded. Including those people would inflate the total considerably. Then we have the millions of government workers who are retired and are on government pensions. Then we could conceivably count all the employees who work for those companies the federal government has bailed out. And all the US farmers who receive regular federal subsidies. And all the employees of oil and nuclear-power companies who have obviously benefited from long-term government subsidies. What about those doctors, nurses, hospital employees, medical-school employees, medical- journal employees who directly benefit from billion-dollar sales of medical drugs that have been approved as safe and effective by the FDA—when in fact the drugs are highly dangerous and shouldn’t be in the marketplace at all? What about all the employees of companies that overtly, and without question, pollute the land with chemicals—but are protected by the government from prosecution and huge fines and prison sentences? Then we have, stretching things a bit, every non-government union member in the US who benefits directly from, and therefore owes his loyalty to, the government for special treatment—for instance, the recent deal by which union members would avoid paying taxes on some health insurance plans. Finally, without stretching it, we could say that every bread winner who works, in some form, for government in America forms a small net of immediate family members who should be added to the rolls as well. The enormity of all this is eye-opening, isn’t it?

UPDATE#2: Roughly a quarter of the US population is made up of people under the age of 20. So if we’re talking about adults, and we probably should be, since they are most of the citizens who vote and hold the overwhelming number of long-term jobs, my figure of 1 person in 9 working for the government would turn out to be 1 person in 7. And this new figure doesn’t factor in all the add-ons I mentioned above in UPDATE #1. If I did factor those people in, would the ratio move to 1 in 6? 1 in 5?

You need to grasp the fact that government employees support whatever will anchor their jobs and futures and security. You work for the Man, you support the Man. You shelve your other ideas and fancies. You’re inside the zone.

If you’re supposed to shuffle papers for eight hours a day, you do it. You don’t make waves. You don’t look for ways to make things more efficient or effective. After all, that could result in other people getting fired. Then you’d be a prime target. You’d be walking around the office with a fat bull’s eye on your back.

And if you’re under the government umbrella, are you going to campaign hard for government innovation? Limitation on government power? Are you kidding? Are you out of your mind? You’re not within Hubble-telescope striking-distance of anything like that. Suggestions along those lines will get you a diagnosis of bipolar or outright psychosis before you can pour your morning coffee from the 147-54-AW federally-issued communal pot.

If your gig is driving in circles around the block and counting pedestrians wearing blue hats, that’s what you do. You might invent the numbers, but you drive.

If you’re supposed to install video cams in toilet stalls, you do it.

If you’re at a desk counting the number of squares in rolls of postal stamps from 1960, you count.

If you’re responsible for making sure all the hangars in closets are turned the same way, you make sure.

If somebody starts talking about the Jeffersonian ideal of limited government, you blow your nose loudly and put a Valium in his coffee.

It’s SOP. You work for the Man.

The Matrix Revealed

Big government has one overriding plan. Find ways to hire more people. Then the future is secure. Fewer and fewer people on the outside, more and more people on the inside. It’s brainwashing by personnel placement. Simple, neat, workable.

Larger government budgets equal more people on the inside.

Of course, you reach a limit where everything in the country collapses. But that’s not a real problem, because you’ve got plenty of people to fix it. And you’re all in the same boat. So who’s going to object?

Taxes? Who cares about taxes? It’s just the cost of doing business. Big Daddy will make it come out all right for you.

And you’ll be taking your daily marching orders from the nation, because everybody is the nation, all the time, under one roof.

Isn’t that what you’ve always wanted?

Jon Rappoport

The author of two explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED and EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free emails at

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