(Bloomberg View) -- Steve Ballmer, the former chief executive of Microsoft, knows more than a little about numbers. He's looked carefully at government spending and arrived at an unexpected conclusion.

"Government spending is more efficient than I thought," he said in a telephone interview. As for the 24 million Americans employed by government at all levels, he says, "I look at that and say, 'yeah, yeah' and most of that is good: firemen, policemen, soldiers, teachers."

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