MORE BUREAUCRATS, PLEASE….It is widely understood that a possible government shutdown could put hundreds of thousands of federal employees temporarily out of work. Less well known is the fact that congressional conservatives plan to make that state of affairs permanent.

The influential House Republican Study Committee, home to many Tea Party freshmen, has called for a long-term 15% cut in the federal workforce. Their ostensible aim is to reduce government spending and deficits. But as John Gravois makes clear in the upcoming March/April issue of the Washington Monthly, slashing the federal work force will likely have the opposite effect: it will drive spending and deficits further through the roof.

Looking back over the past 20 years, Gravois shows that major cuts to the federal bureaucracy in the 1990s led to many of the cost overruns and expensive disasters we’ve seen in recent memory. Again and again, federal agencies have seen their responsibilities increase as their workforces dwindle, resulting in breakdowns that cause a hemorrhage of red ink. As strange as it may sound, if we really want to save money, what we desperately need is a set of targeted increases in the federal workforce — which hasn’t really grown since the 1960s.

Read Gravois’ story “More Bureaucrats, Please.”

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.