The crux of the matter is “the job”. What exactly IS “the job”. Those who bemoan the deficit, debt, tax burden, etc., tend to turn around and compare public sector X, in terms of size of workforce relative to the population size, and compare ratios.
But let us consider, what services or responsibilities are delegated to states/provinces/municipalities, and what to federal? What sorts of services/functions are incumbent on a national public sector as a function of geography? Khazakhstan, Chad and Bolivia have no coastline, so one can imagine their allocation for coast guard services, or marine affairs in general is nil. While Chad and Bolivia share more national borders than the U.S. does, neither of those countries view themselves as under “threat” from illegal aliens entering in search of work. So the U.S. views allocatons of many many FTEs to securing the border as imperative, where those nations may not be so inclined.
On this continent, we have expectations about standard of living, trade, full employment, health, and education (not necessarily in that order). So, we have expectations abut the number of FTEs that will be preoccupied with that. Moreover, since it IS a pretty big country with a substantial population, we presume that issues like employment will not simply be delegated locally, OR addressed only at the federal level, but addressed at both levels; I.E., we view some areas as warranting duplication of effort and budget.
Davidson correctly makes the point that: “Reducing the number of employees doesn’t necessarily mean smaller government. It may mean hiring private contractors for the work.”
I draw your attention to another well-written article on what amounts to the same topic, from about 2 months ago.