USA Today ran an article about the ever‐expanding band of bureaucrats on all levels of government. Citing Bureau of Labor Statistics data, the author points to a new 76,800 bureaucrats added to payroll from January‐March this year;
That’s the biggest jump in first‐quarter hiring since a boom in 2002 that followed the 9/11 terrorist attacks. By contrast, private companies collectively shed 286,000 workers in the first three months of 2008.
For the most part, when a public employee is hired the full cost of their labor – including generous government pensions and health care coverage – is not accounted for upfront. With the baby boomers starting to retire, the costs of maintaining the army of bureaucrats will only rise. Tack on the large unfunded liabilities in government‐provided defined benefit plans and retiree health plans, and you easily have a trillion‐dollar problem.
Most governors in “fiscal crisis” states will call for temporary hiring freezes that fail to address the core issue of reckless government expansion. But watch for some states, like Tennessee, to take steps to cut costs by culling a small number of their taxpayer‐funded workers.