~ A more realistic headcount begins with the 1.9 million full-time permanent civilian federal workers who get their paychecks and identification cards from Uncle Sam. Add in the 1.5 million uniformed military personnel and 850,000 U.S. Postal Service workers who were counted in the federal workforce until their department became a quasi-government corporation in 1970, and the total full-time permanent federal workforce was just under 4.3 million in 1996, the last year for which good numbers are available on both the visible and shadow federal workforce. Add in the people who work under federal contracts and grants or mandates imposed on state and local governments and the illusion of smallness becomes clear. In 1996, the federal government's $200 billion in contracts created an estimated 5.6 million jobs, its $55 billion in grants created another 2.4 million jobs, and its array of mandates in such fields as air and water quality and health and safety regulation encumbered another 4.7 million jobs in state, county and municipal governments. Add these 12.7 million shadow jobs to the 4.25 million civilian, military and postal jobs, and the true size of government in 1996 expands to nearly 17 million, or more than eight times larger than the standard headcount of 1.9 million used by Congress and the President to declare the era of big government over. And the count does not even include the full-time equivalent employment of the people who work on a part-time or temporary basis for Uncle Sam--for example, the 884,000 members of the military reserves. More at: The True Size of Government (1/1/99) -- GovExec.com somewhere in the neighborhood of 24% of all US workers are either directly or indirectly working for the govt.