The Shadow Government

by Iain Murray

In Stealing You Blind, I calculate the total size of the federa-government workforce at about 20 million people. However, it is important to note that most of these are not direct employees. Almost 6 million of them are contractors — far more than the 2 million civil servants. Yet these contractors are not recorded by the Office of Personnel Management. The murky world of government contracts is one that should be paid far more attention.

An example of why surfaces in today’s Daily Caller, which alleges that a State Department contracts officer has funneled $52 million of taxpayer money to a firm owned by her husband and daughter. What makes the story even more interesting is that the officer herself is a contractor:

McGrade works for a company called ATSG, LLC, a State Department contractor that handles the disbursement of federal dollars. A secretary at ATSG and State Department spokesperson Andy Laine confirmed for The Daily Caller that McGrade works on-site at the State Department.

Laine added that, though she handles disbursement of taxpayer money, McGrade is not personally paid with taxpayer funds. ATSG writes her paychecks. The owner of ATSG refused TheDC’s request for comment for this story.

Now, obviously the federal government should use a certain amount of contracts, otherwise we get in the position of the feds making dentures for veterans like it used to, but there is now so much money sloshing around in the form of federal contracts that it takes close to 6 million people to work on them. Many of these contracts are directly related to the size of the government and the military, so shrinking the size of government will shrink these size of the shadow government too.
 
I do not deny that this will hit certain areas, like Northern Virginia where I live, pretty hard. Northern Virginia, however, is home to the wealthiest congressional district in the nation (VA-11), has some of the best housing prices in the nation, and one of the lowest unemployment rates. The area is rich simply because so much money is sent here from the rest of America. Perhaps it is about time that the area felt the rest of the country’s pain.