Presentation on theme: "THE BUREAUCRACY. Bureaucracy It would be difficult to overstate the role that political bureaucracies play in policymaking. Bureaucracies implement policies."— Presentation transcript:
Bureaucracy It would be difficult to overstate the role that political bureaucracies play in policymaking. Bureaucracies implement policies that legislatures have enacted, and they create policies where legislatures have avoided doing so. They can act to regulate industries, to distribute benefits and costs, and to redistribute wealth. They tackle policy areas as disparate as telecommunications, the environment, transportation, and public health. Bureaucratic involvement in policymaking is a pervasive condition of modern political life.
The Federal Bureaucracy After 9/11/01 For much of 1990s, anger at and disrespect for the federal government was rampant in the United States. Perhaps the most dramatic manifestation of this was the terrorist bombing of the Federal Center in Oklahoma City (April 1995). In fact, anti-federal-government anger has a long history in the United States. However, national crises diminish these feelings, as citizens look to the government for aid and protection. For example, after 9/11, popular trust in the government rose from 21% to 64%.
The Return of Big Government After 9/11/01 George W. Bush came into office committed to reducing the size of the federal government. However, the attacks of 9/11 spurred Bush to dramatically expand the federal government Domestic policies –Transportation Security Administration –Department of Homeland Security –Department of Justice and USA Patriot Act Foreign policies –Increase in Department of Defense budget –War in Afghanistan and Iraq
A Comparative View of the American Bureaucracy 1.public’s hostile feelings towards ‘big government’ & ‘bureaucracies’. 2.decentralized: more representational, but less accountable 3.relatively small compared to other countries (except our regulations; Justice)
Incoherent organization — the American bureaucracy has few clear lines of control, responsibility, and accountability Divided control — bureaucratic agencies have two bosses, the President and Congress, who are constantly battling for control Accessibility — individuals and groups can get a hearing and a response from bureaucrats without necessarily starting at the top
Transformation of the Bureaucracy Administrative history: expansion in the size and responsibilities of the executive branch –The corporation and the progressives –The Great Depression –World War II and its aftermath –The regulatory state –Devolution and rollback –The war on terrorism
Transformation of the Bureaucracy Administrative history: expansion in the size and responsibilities of the executive branch –19th century changes –The corporation and the progressives –The Great Depression –World War II and its aftermath –The regulatory state –Devolution and rollback –The war on terrorism
How the Executive Branch Is Organized The executive branch is made up several different kinds of administrative units. –Departments are headed by cabinet-level secretaries appointed by the President and approved by the Senate. Bureaus and agencies are subdivisions within cabinet departments. –Independent executive agencies are federal agencies that are not included in any of the departments and are not corporations or regulatory commissions. –The Cabinet – heads of the 15 executive departments, VP, Chief of Staff, EPA, Trade Representative, OMB, National Drug Control Policy –Inner-Circle – State, Defense, Treasury, Commerce, Justice
What Do Bureaucrats Do? Execute the law –Implementing legislative directives Regulate (rule making) –Vague directives need filling in Adjudicate –e.g. National Labor Relations Board
Who Are The Bureaucrats? Personnel systems in the executive branch –Career civil service –Agency merit services –Political appointees Overall, “bureaucrats” are very much like other Americans with regard to education, regional origins, average income, age, political beliefs, gender,and ethnicity.
Political and Governmental Influences on Bureaucratic Behavior The Public The President –Presidents are often stymied by the bureaucracy –Tools of the President (Chief budget officer; Appointment; media) Congress –Legislating agency organization and mission –Confirming Presidential appointments –Controlling the agency budget –Holding oversight hearings (Fire-alarm/Police Patrol) Interest groups
Common Criticisms of the Federal Bureaucracy “The federal bureaucracy is always expanding.” “The federal bureaucracy is ineffective.” “The federal bureaucracy is wasteful and inefficient.” “The bureaucracy is mired in red tape.”
The Bureaucracy & Public Policy Delegation - Delegate power to bureaucracy to shift the responsibility for controversial decisions. Why? Uncertainty. Defining Uncertainty: 1) Large range of alternative policy choices 2) A legislator has little or no information 3) A legislator cannot discern a clear optimum choice “the political risks associated with policy choices may be large” Rational Legislators: let bureaucrats collect the information on optimal choices and let bureaucrats absorb the political fallout when they are wrong. What does this mean for Democracy? Accountability?
Controlling the Bureaucracy: Preventing Policy Shirking Congressional oversight –Committees: Committees have created separate oversight or investigative subcommittees. Increased # of hearings in order to increase oversight. BUT – lack of time and resources - Much of the information that subcommittees get on bureaus comes from the agency themselves. Monitoring : –Congressional Research Service –Congressional Budget Office –General Accounting Office- has the most resources - most effective Carefully Written Laws (overlapping jurisdictions, etc.)
Why we give bureaucrats discretion? Limiting agency discretion by specifying precise policy details in legislation is costly to legislators. It takes time and skill to write careful legislation. Lack of discretion may also mean less results – a slow and ineffective agency Of course – this may be what we want
Reforming the Federal Bureaucracy Scaling back the size of the bureaucracy –cutting the “fat” –privatizing “Reinventing government” –(introducing business principles) –Silver Bullet? Protecting against bureaucratic abuses of power Increasing popular participation- how? Increasing Presidential control –Reform civil service – more appointees?
Cutting the Red Tape Where do we start? –NSF –FCC –Funding Student Loans –National Parks Service –National Weather Service –CDC –FDA –FEC –FEMA
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