After reading this new report, you might be shocked, but you will certainly come to understand clearly that the federal government has a lot of room for cutting.
The amount of spending pouring like an unstoppable wave out of the federal government is something that our founding fathers would find not just shocking, but un-American. And while you may imagine you understand the massive amount of money our government spends, I am guessing that the actual numbers will stagger even the most cynical American.
Now, it is beyond question that some of what the federal government does is necessary and it is true that our civil servants perform critical duties for all of us. However, there is little doubt that there is room for cuts.
The political left, of course, claims that everything the federal government does is critical to the success of our nation. They imagine that every civil servant helps the “little guy” through his life by providing vital services.
On the other hand, the right sees much of what civil servants do as a drag on our nation and fraught with wasteful spending, not to mention unconstitutional.
The truth is probably somewhere in between. But one thing is certain, the amount of money the government spends is mind boggling.
A new report has emerged from the Washington watchdog group Open The Books, a group that has done yeomen’s work tracking spending in “The Swamp” of Washington D.C.
The new report, “Mapping The Swamp,” literally reveals the location and costs of two million federal bureaucrats across the country.
Some of the key findings are shocking in scope:
1. The federal government pays its disclosed workforce $1 million per minute, $66 million per hour, and $524 million per day. In FY2016, the federal government disclosed 1.97 million employees at a cash compensation cost of $136.3 billion.
2. Over a six-year period (FY2010-2016), the number of federal employees making $200,000 or more has increased by 165 percent; those making $150,000 or more has grown by 60 percent; and those making more than $100,000 has increased by 37 percent.
3. On average, federal employees are given 10 federal holidays, 13 sick days, and 20 vacation days per year. If each employee used 13 sick days and took 20 vacation days in addition to the 10 federal holidays, it would cost taxpayers an estimated $22.6 billion annually.
4. In FY2016, a total 406,960 employees made six-figure incomes – that’s roughly one in five disclosed federal employees. Furthermore, 29,852 federal employees out-earned each of the 50 state governors receiving more than $190,823.
5. At 78 out of the 122 independent agencies and departments we studied, the average employee compensation exceeded $100,000 in FY2016.
6. With 326 employees at a total cash compensation of $28.8 million, we found a federal agency in San Francisco – Presidio Trust – paid out three of the top four federal bonuses including the largest in the federal government in FY2016. The biggest bonus went to an HR Manager in charge of payroll for $141,525.
7. Together, the United States Postal Service (USPS) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) employ more than half of the disclosed federal workforce. As the largest civilian employer within the federal government, the USPS employed 32 percent of all disclosed federal employees, totaling 621,523 people on payroll in FY2016. The VA employed the second most employees with 372,614 or 19 percent of the disclosed federal workforce.
8. Only one-third of the 35,000 lawyers in the federal workforce work at the Department of Justice. The entire staff of federal lawyers earned $4.8 billion in FY2016.
9. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) employed 3,498 police officers at a total cost of $172 million in FY2016. When asked about corresponding crime statistics, the VA was unable to provide any information on the number of crimes or incidents.
10. There are an additional 2 million undisclosed employees at the Department of Defense and in the active military. Their estimated cash compensation value, combined with $1 billion in undisclosed bonuses and $125 billion in hidden pension data, amounts to roughly $221 billion in undisclosed federal cash compensation per year.
If President Donald Trump needed a roadmap to cutting down the size of this massive and wasteful federal government, “Mapping The Swamp” couldn’t be a better guide.
Note: In my original headline I said “billion” when I meant to write “million.” Apologies to you, the reader, for my slip of the finger.