These salaries are underwritten by the $235 billion the federal government lays out to nonprofits each year. To constrain the growth of central government, conservatives have fought to keep down the number of federal bureaucrats.This strategy has failed.Since the 1960s, the number of federal employees has remained constant at about 2 million, yet federal power has greatly expanded.This phenomenon arises because Washington has outsourced many civil service functions to contractors, nonprofit groups, and lower levels of government.According to New York University professor Paul Light, the true size of the federal government’s “blended workforce” is now somewhere between 7 million and 9 million people.The biggest portion of the blended federal workforce consists of federal contractors. Today, there are about 3.7 million federal contractors—almost twice as many as there were in the 1960s.These contractors fill a wide range of functions: security in war zones, statistical analyses, janitorial services, management consulting, and almost everything in between. Many of these functions were once performed by the largely blue-collar federal workforce of the mid-20th century.
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