One Percent of Americans Works For The Defense Department

A story today should prompt some discussion in how our society is changing as more and more Americans work for the government. For years, there has been a concern that we are becoming an institutionalized society with millions of Americans serving or working in prisons while millions more work for police and government agencies. Now, a report shows that one out of every 100 Americans work for the Defense Department. That is an astonishing figure. That figure balloons further when one considers the number of citizens working in the internal security, police, and intelligence systems.


The Economist magazine shows that the Defense Department employed 3.2 million people, including 700,000 civilians.

We beat out the Chinese Army and even more frightening Wal-Mart (which comes in third after the Red Army). McDonald’s follows in fourth. The remainder in order are the China Petroleum Corporation, the State Grid Corporation of China, National Health Service of England, Indian Railways, China Post Group, and Taiwan’s Hon Hai Precision Industry Company.

Despite such huge numbers, Sen. Jon Kyl announced that he will resign from the Super Committee if the members consider significant cuts in the defense budget.

Source: Washington Post

168 thoughts on “One Percent of Americans Works For The Defense Department”

  1. Slarti:

    The housing bubble was a combination of government, banks and private investors. The federal reserve kept interests rates low and the congress gave a direction/request to increase the number of low income home owners [not necessarily a bad thing]. The statistics are not as good as you may think concerning low income loans. Banks and construction companies did give people loans who should not have gotten them but they were directed/compelled/had a request made to increase low income mortgages.
    And finally the people making 25,000 per year should have realized they could not afford the mortgage payment.

    The commodities market works just fine and saying it needs to be taxed and is over-leveraged is simplistic. I thought there were government regulations concerning leveraging.

    The oil business does not regulate itself, there are many federal regulations concerning this industry. Drilling for oil is dangerous on land, let alone in 5,000 feet of water. You know absolutely nothing about it, I do. I have worked on both land rigs and on semi submersibles. In fact I used to work for SEDCO. That was an excellent company and they were very serious about safety. In fact I imagine some of the young engineers I worked with then are now in management positions. They were all smart guys and took their work seriously and the safety of the men on the rigs too, I imagine because you had to learn every single job on the rigs as an engineer you would understand the danger involved in each.

    You have some kind of warped view of people who work for a living, that we are all out to screw anyone we meet. It is really fucked up and simplistic [since we are throwing around that word]. People who work for a living [for the most part, a large part] must satisfy the market or they dont make a living. And maybe sometimes they cut corners to satisfy a client, but I dont know too many who would knowingly sacrifice a huge investment like a semi-submersible oil rig to a client’s whim. Nor do I know too many, especially those who once worked in those capacities, who would put the safety of the men under them at risk to satisfy a clients whim.

    Coal mining is a dangerous job, of which I know nothing about. And people should be allowed to form unions if they want to. So we agree on this one that the problem was government and the lack of a good safety program at the mine.

    I dont believe your statistics on health care and would like to see a non-partisan paper.

    Why do you throw your IQ around? It doesnt have any bearing on anything. It only says to me, “look at me, I am smarter than this person so I am right and he is wrong. Why because I am smarter. I know it doesnt have anything to do with anything but I dont have any good replies so I just say I am smarter so people think my comments are better than his.”

    Imagine arguing something from your own authority when your only claim to authority is you have an IQ of 140 but no superior knowledge in the subject. Man you guys really amaze me.

    I hope you didnt pay any money for that IQ test, I think you need a refund if you did.

  2. Roco said:

    who pushed whom to give loans to people who could not afford them?

    I’m guessing that you’re referring to the long debunked meme that the housing crisis was caused by low-income homeowners – the truth is that these type of loans performed far better than average.

    The commodity market still works pretty well. We dont yet have $10 dollar a gallon gas, by your contention gas should be through the roof.

    Straw man. The commodity markets are ticking time bombs as long as people gamble unlimited amounts of highly leveraged money there – a small transaction tax would help drive out the reckless gambling and not hurt the actual buyers and sellers of commodities, by the way…

    The deep water horizon was an accident so what? Caused by environmental extremism in the quest to eliminate drilling for oil in shallower water.

    I’m sorry, but the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe was caused and exacerbated by allowing the oil industry to basically regulate itself – we see how well that worked… There was a similar spill in shallow water about 30 years ago, by the way – the technology to control and clean up the spill then was pretty much the same as now. Why is that?

    The mine disaster was a problem but your benevolent government didnt do shit to protect those men.

    Unions would have (if the government had protected the right to unionize…).

    Look at the wait times for medical procedures in most every other country on earth. Far longer than here.

    I look at outcomes and costs and see the US dead last.

    Rather simplistic I admit, but to the point.

    Yes, you are rather simplistic – and wrong.

    And maybe scientists are liberal because most have a limited exposure to politics and economics and not much time to worry about it or they dont even care about it. Or maybe they control their own small world so they think they can control the wide world.

    More likely you’re full of shit.

    Even scientists have their feet of clay. Or do you think someone with an IQ above 150 is infallible?

    No – the last test I took, my IQ was only 140. 😉 If it was right, I’m the stupidest genius you’ll ever meet. It’s not about how much raw power you have, it’s about what you can do with it (at least in my opinion). That being said, I don’t think being a genius (assuming that I am) makes me LESS likely to understand things… As opposed to the right these days which seems to venerate stupidity. In any case, given the ease at which I just pointed out the logical fallacies in all of your arguments, I don’t think many people reading this will give you credit for understanding things better than I do – but maybe I’m just a deluded academic…

  3. Slarti, you could have started from the well known, that online surveys have enormous problems, and then, as scientist, you could have explained why you believe that through methodology, this survey is credible.

    Instead what we see is you just saying, uh uh, looks good to me, and then, and no you’re a twit, I’m not answering any questions about it.

    As I said, that’s just a wonderful response. Enjoy your frustration at not understanding tea party votes against dumbass elitist scienticians such as yourself.

    And ironically, your behavior is decried in the survey you have so much faith in.

    tags: total-dumbassery, weasel, rain-on-her-wedding-day

  4. Do you realize that just about every poll and survey conducted is voluntary? And you refer to the survey as an “online” survey as if the very fact of it being conducted over the internet renders it unscientific. This wasn’t a poll that some people wandering by a website filled out in a couple of seconds – this was a 40 or 50 page questionnaire that a professional organization sent to a selection of its membership (which seems to have been controlled to eliminate those who weren’t US scientists…). The only thing I see here that is complete and utter bullshit is your comment. I don’t care to discuss it any further because you have absolutely nothing worthwhile to say.

    Well sad to see that as a scientist you don’t even understand how random sampling works, or how that is perverted by asking participants to go online to answer a 50 page survey.

    What the problems of a 50 page survey might be.

    What the problems of a self-selection bias might be.

    How including students might skew the results.

    How a 50 page survey combined with having students answer can increase the self-selection bias.

    You just pretend none of this exists, although we are all sure you understand it.

    Bad news for you Slarti, this stuff is taught in high school. Your being a weasel doesn’t help ensconce the scientific establishment, it helps destroy it’s credibility.

  5. anon,

    Do you realize that just about every poll and survey conducted is voluntary? And you refer to the survey as an “online” survey as if the very fact of it being conducted over the internet renders it unscientific. This wasn’t a poll that some people wandering by a website filled out in a couple of seconds – this was a 40 or 50 page questionnaire that a professional organization sent to a selection of its membership (which seems to have been controlled to eliminate those who weren’t US scientists…). The only thing I see here that is complete and utter bullshit is your comment. I don’t care to discuss it any further because you have absolutely nothing worthwhile to say.

  6. Gene said, “Your name should be ‘Totally Incorrect is not my name but shh I am trying to trick the spam filter’.”

    I respect you for your articulate posts, but your remarks could have made your point without that sentence.

  7. @Slarti,

    Well you’re the dude who tells us every chance she gets that you’re a scientist.

    And yet, you weasel your way out of discussing just how an volunteer online survey is complete and total bullshit.

    Hey, no problem scientist. As the report says, most scientists such as yourself, constantly screw up opportunities to speak to the public.

    Have no fear when the public makes the right funding decisions.

    Yes Slarti, I can see why you would not want to discuss this.

  8. Roco said “You cannot have a reasoned argument with most progressives.”

    Do you have a thesis or a couple sentences to prove this? Is it just your unsubstantiated opinion? Somebody used the term “glittering generality.”

  9. Noway said “If you weren’t such an idiot . . . ”

    How about sticking to ideas, instead of personal attacks, please.

  10. Roco-

    When the Capitalistic Free Market Fire Brigade,Inc. showed up at your burning Beverly Hills Mansion, Capt. John Galt would arrive in his shiny red Bentley, survey the situation, and inform you that your fire is a “pre-existing fire” and therefore not covered by your free market fire suppression insurance contract. “Sorry, Roco- you bought the Gold Policy. Should have sprung for the Platinum Package. Oh,well- live and learn!”

  11. Robert,

    I would begin a discussion with you if I felt you had anything worthwhile to say. Sadly, that is not the case.

  12. Slarti:

    who pushed whom to give loans to people who could not afford them?
    The commodity market still works pretty well. We dont yet have $10 dollar a gallon gas, by your contention gas should be through the roof.
    The deep water horizon was an accident so what? Caused by environmental extremism in the quest to eliminate drilling for oil in shallower water.
    The mine disaster was a problem but your benevolent government didnt do shit to protect those men.
    Look at the wait times for medical procedures in most every other country on earth. Far longer than here.

    Rather simplistic I admit, but to the point.

    And maybe scientists are liberal because most have a limited exposure to politics and economics and not much time to worry about it or they dont even care about it. Or maybe they control their own small world so they think they can control the wide world. Even scientists have their feet of clay. Or do you think someone with an IQ above 150 is infallible?

  13. “Robert,

    I invite you to discuss how a cursory investigation can leave you looking like an idiot while going to primary sources rarely leads to trouble?”

    Sure no problem, but I do request you first discuss “of the methodological problems of using an online survey to survey the members of your organization that includes students and non-scientists and then projecting those results to all scientists.”

    Unless, “looks good to me” is your discussion.

    Actually, I appreciate your finding that description — it seems to lead to even more questions about the scientific validity of their survey.

    But again, feel free to begin that discussion.

  14. Robert,

    I invite you to discuss how a cursory investigation can leave you looking like an idiot while going to primary sources rarely leads to trouble?

  15. Robert,

    The following is from the pdf Gene linked. Seems like a pretty scientific study to me – but if you’re not convinced they had the entire survey including results (it’s about 50 pages long) just after this bit:

    About the Scientist Survey
    Results for the scientist survey are based on 2,533 online interviews conducted from May 1 to June 14, 2009 with members of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), under the direction of Princeton Survey Research Associates International. A sample of 9,998 members was drawn from the AAAS membership list excluding those who were not based in the United States or whose membership type identified them as primary or secondary-level educators.
    Founded in 1848, AAAS is the world’s largest general scientific society, and includes members representing all scientific fields. AAAS publishes Science, one of the most widely circulated peer-reviewed scientific journals in the world. Membership in AAAS is open to all.
    Each person sampled was mailed a letter on stationery with logos of both the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press and AAAS. The letter was signed by Andrew Kohut, President of the Pew Research Center and Alan I. Leshner, Chief Executive Officer of AAAS. These letters were intended to introduce the survey to prospective respondents, describe the nature and purpose of the survey and encourage participation in the survey. The advance letter contained a URL and a password for a secure website where the survey could be completed. The letter also included a toll-free number for respondents to call if they had questions.

  16. @Gene, I invite you to discuss the irony of the AAAS using what seems to be a totally bogus and non-scientific survey mechanism to describe scientist’s attitudes. I encourage you to speculate on why the AAAS might do this.

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