What is “shadow government?”
Most of the work of the U.S. government today is performed not by government bureaucrats but by a vast off-the-books “shadow government” — the consulting firms, companies, nongovernmental organizations, and “Beltway Bandits” that occupy entire high-rise bastions in the Washington suburbs. Many of these contractors work solely or primarily for the government.
The shadow labor force, which has grown dramatically in the last two decades, now comprises three-quarters of the people who work for the federal government. It has also grown up from supplying things like food service, printing, and landscaping to also routinely performing core government functions. Contractors today draft official documents, choose and oversee other contractors, run intelligence operations, control homeland security databases, execute military and occupying operations, and manage federal taxpayer monies doled out under stimulus plans and bailouts.