Wednesday, August 2, 2017

"Government work"

The size of government in long-term decline, relative to the size of the economy (where the size of government is measured by the number of government employees):

Graph #1
A slight drift downward from the latter 1940s to 1975, and a definite decline since 1975.

But there are a couple issues with this graph:

1. I'm pretty sure that by "government" they mean all levels of government, not just Federal. But only pretty sure. And

2. According to the notes below the graph at FRED: "Government employment covers only civilian employees; military personnel are excluded. Employees of the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, the National Imagery and Mapping Agency, and the Defense Intelligence Agency also are excluded."

Wikipedia shows what looks like a decline in the number of U.S. military personnel for the years 1950-2003. There are two peaks early (for the Korean War and the Vietnam War). Setting those peaks aside, the decline is smaller. Much of it occurs in the Clinton years. And what happened after 2003 is unclear.

The CIA doesn't have to disclose the number of personnel it employs.

The number of NSA employees is "somewhere between 37,000 and one billion".

According to Wikipedia, the National Imagery and Mapping Agency is now known by a different name. The word "personnel" is not found in the article.

Again Wikipedia: The Defense Intelligence Agency's "personnel numbers are classified."

So I'm not gonna find more than that on government employment numbers. But no matter how much U.S. security has grown, I cannot imagine that it would be enough to make the government-employment-to-RGDP ratio run up hill. That "one billion" number, that was a joke. C'mon guys, that was a joke.

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