Articles

Government Red Tape (Illustrated)

In Politics on June 16, 2010 by thesignalinthenoise Tagged: ,

Click on the image to enlarge it. It is from Princeton University.

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6 Responses to “Government Red Tape (Illustrated)”

  1. Why isn’t the military on that chart?

    • That’s a good question. You may also note the other excluded entities mentioned below the chart (e.g., the CIA). My guess is that since the emphasis was “red tape,” the focus was on bureaucratic employees. But it’s only a guess.

  2. I guess. But then they wouldn’t include things like Firemen, Policemen, etc. Why include local cops and not feds? Seems pretty fishy to me! Or at least that makes its significance pretty difficult to interpret.

    Also I’m not sure how many of the 2.7 million are part of the military. If I were to add up all of the numbers on that page, I suspect that it would come up shy of 2.7 million.

    What I’m finding is that the 2001 number is closer to 10 million, all told, if I’m reading this right. http://www.bls.gov/oes/2001/oesi2_90.htm#b00-0000 Of that number, an underwhelming half-million is listed as being in management positions.

    Princeton, eh? ;|

  3. I don’t see local cops and firefighters included. Most of them are employed at the local level — they aren’t federal employees. Looking at the chart more closely, there are listings for the Department of the Army and the Department of the Navy, and the numbers are pretty big. The Bureau of Labor Statistics puts the total number of federal employees at about 2 million (http://www.bls.gov/oco/cg/cgs041.htm) without including the USPS, so I think the chart is pretty close to correct.

  4. Look at the left hand list. Police officers and firemen are listed in red at the bottom. You also see them repeated in the link you provided (scroll way down).

    (Also, be sure to keep in mind that the chart is looking at the 2001 stats. You linked to a summary page of the 2010 stats, while I linked to the 2001 data itself. But let’s assume that they’re sufficiently similar.)

    You appear to be correct — the military et al. are included. It’s very, very weird, though, that they weren’t included on the graph. 652,000 people work in defence; around 820,000 if you add Homeland Security. That’s more than enough to rival middle management.

    The 2010 summary page is difficult to parse on its own terms. You’re probably right to point out that the 2.1 million figure refers to the feds only, while the 10 million figure applies to the whole US Government. One is left to wonder how much of the bureaucracy owes to lack of centralisation.

  5. Hmm a 1% bureaucracy for an advanced civilization doesn’t sound bad at all.

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