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The Bureaucracy
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The Bureaucracy


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  • Do we really need a bureaucracy? Individuals need rules and regs to live together? Rules and regs must be administered.
  • Transcript

    • 1. The Federal Bureaucracy What is it and how is it organized?
    • 2. Bureaucracy
      • The government organizations, usually staffed with officials selected on the basis of experience and expertise, that implement public policy
      • Hierarchical organization into specialized staffs
      • Free of political accountability (non-partisan)
        • Still affected by Congressional budget and oversight
      • Ideal scenario: members apply specific rules of action to each case in a rational, nondiscretionary, predictable, and impersonal way
    • 3. Max Weber
      • Division of labor
      • Chain of command
      • Formal rules
      • Decision making based on neutrality
      • Fixed authority
    • 4. Bureaucracy
      • What does it do?
        • From protecting the environment to collecting revenue to regulating the economy
        • American bureaucracies implement a $2 trillion budget
        • Vague lines of authority allow some areas of the bureaucracy to operate with a significant amount of autonomy
    • 5. Growth of the Federal Bureaucracy
      • 1789--50 federal government employees
      • 2000--2.8 million (excluding military, subcontractors, and consultants who also work for federal government)
      • Growth mainly at state and local level since 1970
        • Federal government began devolving powers and services to state and local government
      • Total federal, state, local emplyees--roughly 21 million people
    • 6. Organization of Bureaucracy
      • A complex society requires a variety of bureaucratic organizations
      • Four components of Federal Bureaucracy
        • Cabinet departments
        • Independent executive agencies
        • Independent regulatory agencies
        • Government organizations (USPS, FDIC, TVA)
    • 7. Cabinet Departments
      • 15 departments which serve as the major service organizations of federal government
      • Political appointments (Secretaries) at the top who are directly accountable to the president
        • However, staff under secretaries are permanent employees who may resist change
    • 8. Independent Regulatory Agencies
      • Make and implement rules and regulations in a particular sector of the economy to protect the public interest
        • Congress unable to handle complexities and technicalities required to carry out specific laws
      • Are they truly independent?
        • Suppose to work for public interest, but industries can “capture” them ICC
          • Leads to pro-business, rather than pro-consumer behavior
      • Examples: Federal Reserve Board, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Nuclear Regulatory Commission
    • 9. Independent Executive Agencies
      • Not located within any cabinet department, but report directly to the President
        • This gives it some independence from a department that may be hostile to the creation of the agency
          • Secretary of the Interior vs. Environmental Protection Agency
        • Examples: EPA
    • 10. Staffing the Bureaucracy
      • Natural Aristocracy
        • Thomas Jefferson fired Federalist employees and placed his own men in government positions
      • Spoils System
        • Andrew Jackson used government positions to reward supporters
        • Bureaucracy became corrupt, bloated, and inefficient
    • 11. Civil Service Reform
      • Pendleton Act of 1883
        • Employment on the basis of merit and open, competitive exams
        • Civil Service Commission to administer the personnel service
      • Hatch Act of 1939
        • Civil service employees cannot take an active part in the political management of campaigns
      • Rutan v. Republican Party of Illinois (1990)
        • Court ruled that partisan political considerations as the basis for hiring, promoting, or transferring public employees was illegal
    • 12. Political Control of Bureaucracy
      • Who should control the bureaucracy?
        • Bureaucracy should be responsive to elected officials (Congress, the President)
          • Members of the bureaucracy are not elected, and must be held accountable for their actions
          • Making them responsive to elected officials give the public a voice in bureaucratic operations
        • The bureaucracy should be free from political pressures
          • They should be autonomous
    • 13. Theories of Bureaucratic Politics
      • Politics-Administration Dichotomy
        • Bureaucracy should be free of politics
      • Iron Triangles
        • Interest groups
        • Congressional subcommittees
        • Bureaucratic Agencies
      • Issue Networks
      • Principal-Agent Model
    • 14. Politics-Administration Dichotomy
      • Bureaucracy is neutral and not political (Wilson)
        • Bureaucrats are experts in their specialties and must be left alone to do their job without political interference
      • Politics and administration were NOT separate
        • Norton Long: “Power is the lifeblood of administration.”
    • 15. Iron Triangles
      • Reinforcing relationship between:
        • Interest Groups
        • Congressional Subcommittees
        • Bureaucratic agencies
      • Policy decisions are made jointly by these three groups who feed off each other to develop and maintain long-term, regularized relationships
    • 16. Issue Networks
      • The relationship between bureaucracy is not as rigid as the iron triangle theory would have us believe
        • There are more than three actors in the process
          • There are political elites who are involved
            • Members of Congress, congressional committees, the president, advocacy groups, and “issue watchers” (academics or highly interested citizens)
    • 17. Principal-Agent Model
      • Principals and agents both seek to maximize their interests
        • Principals want to control the bureaucracy
        • Agents want to have the least amount of control exerted over it
      • To keep agents in check, 2 possibilities
        • Monitoring/oversight
        • Minimizing goal conflict