Shadow Government

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.