The Employee Cost of Government Bureaucracy

We all know that our government spends on tax money on stupid projects.  Sometimes it’s because some legislator owes a favor to donors or lobbyists, and sometimes it’s because of some military official’s pet project.  However, there are inherent costs in our bloated government–just the overhead to keep it running.  Our federal government alone is the largest employer in the country world.  The number of government employees is out of control, and they go to work every day to find creative ways to spend our tax dollars:

Number Average Pay Total Pay
Federal Civilian Employees 2,800,000 $80,000 $224,000,000,000
Federal Civilian Retirees * 2,600,000 $40,000 $104,000,000,000
Federal Military Employees 1,600,000 $45,000 $72,000,000,000
Federal Military Retirees * 2,100,000 $45,000 $94,500,000,000
State and Local Government Employees 22,000,000 $60,000 $1,320,000,000,000
State and Local Government Retirees * 20,000,000 $30,000 $600,000,000,000
 Total 51,100,000 $2,414,500,000,000

* Retirees include survivors or beneficiaries.

As this table shows, we have over 26 million people on government payrolls, and another 25 million who have retired on government pensions.  Those 51 million people cost us $2.4 trillion each year.  That’s about the amount of money the federal government spends on all entitlements, including Social Security (42.8 million people), Disability (9.7 million people), Medicare, Medicaid, and Welfare combined.  This amount is nearly as much as the federal government collects in all income taxes.


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