“The taxpayer: that’s someone who works for the federal government, but doesn’t have to take a civil service examination” — Ronald Reagan
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In this quote, Ronald Reagan is satirically taking aim at the size and scope of the federal government bureaucracy. His interpretation is that many government employees, despite not having to pass a competitive civil service exam, are essentially “taxpayers” themselves since they rely on tax revenue to fund their jobs rather than directly providing goods or services.
Reagan appears to be suggesting that a large portion of government workers are indirectly subsidized by taxpayers but lack accountability or performance standards associated with a merit-based civil service. The overall message seems to be criticism of what Reagan viewed as an bloated government workforce more focused on self-perpetuation through taxation rather than on efficient service delivery and value for taxpayers.