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The Federal Bureaucracy

The Federal Bureaucracy

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The Federal Bureaucracy

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  1. The Federal Bureaucracy

  2. The Federal Bureaucracy • Max Weber Bureaucracy Characteristics • Hierarchical authority structure – chain of command • Task specialization – individuals have unique jobs, division of labor • Extensive rules – clear policies for the organization to follow • Clear goals – clearly defined mission • Merit principle – hiring and promotion based on qualities, no jobs for favors • Impersonality – performance judged on productivity • Is this a good thing or a bad thing? The Department of Motor Vehicles; a good example of impersonality

  3. The Federal Bureaucracy • Large, complex organization of appointed, not elected, officials • “bureau” – French for small desks, referring to the king’s traveling business men who set up small desks in town squares • Bureaucracy = “government of small desks”

  4. The Federal Bureaucracy • Max Weber • Famous early 20th century German economist • Bureaucracy – well organized, complex machine that is a “rational” way for society to organize its business

  5. The Growth of The Federal Bureaucracy The Federal Bureaucracy has only one task— to faithfully execute all the laws The Framers believed that the bureaucracy would be relatively small and left most of the details up to the president and Congress

  6. The Growth of The Federal Bureaucracy • The Spoils System • Federal bureaucracy was originally drawn from an elite group of upper-class white males • Proclaiming “to the victor belongs the spoils,” Andrew Jackson awarded federal posts to party loyalists • Known as patronage

  7. The Growth of The Federal Bureaucracy • The Civil Service • The Pendleton Act (1883) created the federal civil service • Civil Service system -- workers are selected according to merit, not party loyalty • The 0ffice of Personnel Management (OPM) • Administers civil service laws and regulations • Is in charge of hiring for most federal agencies

  8. The Growth of The Federal Bureaucracy • Effects of Civil Service Reform • Govt. employees are much more competent • Creating nonpartisan civil service means insulating workers from risk of being fired when new party comes into power; this means it’s pretty hard to fire anyone • Hatch Act (written 1939; renewed 1993): employees are prohibited from active participation in partisan politics

  9. The Growth of The Federal Bureaucracy • Why? Society has become increasingly complex • Science and technology • (NASA) is an example • Business regulation • think -- The Jungle • Social welfare • Civil War (veteran pensions) • Great Depression • income security and social services to Americans in need • Ambitious administrators • top agency officials look for new ways to serve clients, which in turn leads to new programs, larger staffs, and larger budgets

  10. The Growth of The Federal Bureaucracy • Constraints • Typical govt. bureau can’t hire, fire, build, or sell w/o going through statutory procedures • Administrative Procedures Act (1946): agency must give notice, solicit feedback, hold hearing before adopting new rule/policy • Freedom of Information Act (1966): agency must allow all citizens to inspect their records • National Environmental Policy Act (1969): agencies must issue environ. impact statements • Privacy Act (1974): keeps citizens’ records confidential • Open Meeting Law (1976): all parts of all meetings must be open to public • Biggest constraint: Congress rarely gives any single job to any single agency

  11. Federal and State Employees • The federal bureaucracy includes all of the agencies, people, and procedures through which the federal government operates • There are approximately 2.7 million civilian and 1.4 million military federal employees • Half of all the civilian federal employees work for the department of defense and an additional 28 percent work for the postal service

  12. Federal and State Employees • Federal government employees currently account for 3 percent of all civilian jobs • Number of federal government employees has remained constant since 1950 • The number for state and local government employees has steadily increased since 1950 • Block grants have contributed to the widening gap between the number of federal and state employees by shifting resources from the federal government to state and local government • Federal mandates have also shifted more responsibility to states, causing an increase in the number of their public employees

  13. Not So Big by Comparison

  14. The Federal Bureaucracy: Organization and Key Functions • Cabinet Departments • There are 15 cabinet departments • Exception of Justice (headed by the Attorney General), each department is headed by a secretary • All 15 heads are chosen by the president and approved by the Senate • Treasury Department has authority over the printing of currency • Cabinet secretaries often develop a strong loyalty to their departments • Cabinet members are often not close presidential advisors

  15. The Federal Bureaucracy: Organization and Key Functions • Independent Regulatory Agencies • Created to protect the public by regulating key sectors of the economy • Best known independent regulatory agencies • Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) • Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) • National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) • Federal Reserve Board (FRB) • Independent regulatory agencies are led by small commissions appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate • Note commissioners cannot be removed by the Senate during their terms of office

  16. The Federal Bureaucracy: Organization and Key Functions • The Federal Reserve Board • Federal Reserve Board’s Primary responsibility is to set monetary policy • Monetary policy includes setting bank interest rates, controlling inflation, regulating the money supply, and adjusting bank reserve requirements • Federal Reserve Board has great independence • This freedom removes monetary policy from politics • As a result, the Federal Reserve Board is usually able to use its economic expertise to develop monetary policies without undue interference from political parties and interest groups

  17. The Federal Bureaucracy: Organization and Key Functions • The Government Corporations • Government corporations provide a service that could be provided by the private sector • Best Known -- • Corporation for Public Broadcasting • Tennessee Valley Authority • Amtrak • U.S. Postal Service

  18. The Federal Bureaucracy: Organization and Key Functions • Independent Executive Agencies • Independent Executive Agencies include most of the non-cabinet departments • Examples – • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

  19. Implementation and Regulation • Implementation • Implementation is translation of policy goals into rules and standard operating procedures • Break down • conflicting goals • faulty program design • lack financial resources • fragmentation of responsibilities • 46 agencies for counterterrorism == Office of Homeland Security (2001) • Congress provides federal agencies with general mandates • Discretion to set specific guidelines for a given problem or situation

  20. Implementation and Regulation • Regulation • Regulation is the use of governmental authority to control or change practices in the private sector • Supreme Court first upheld the right of government to regulate businesses in Munn v. Illinois (1877) • Reagan / Bush1federal government deregulated or lifted a number of restrictions on business • Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB)

  21. Implementation and Regulation • Regulation v. Deregulation • Conservatives say: regulation has become too burdensome, inhibits business, personal freedom • Regulation raises prices! • Regulation hurts our competitiveness overseas! • Regulation doesn’t always work; gov’t can be dumb! • Liberals say: regulation is vital to prevent abuse, corruption, public fraud • There is often environmental damage due to deregulation! • Remember the savings and loan bailout, mid-1980s? Deregulation caused that! • Remember the financial meltdown of 2009? Deregulation!

  22. The President and The Bureaucracy • Appointments • Presidents have power to appoint senior agency heads and subheads • Enables president to exercise influence over an agency • President’s power limited • Senate has power to approve president’s appointments • Agency heads often develop a strong loyalty to their departments / do not aggressively purse a president’s policy agenda

  23. The President and The Bureaucracy • Executive Orders • Directive, order, or regulation issued by president • Based on constitutional or statutory authority and have force of law • 9066 -- Interment • Economic Powers • President may use Office of Management and Budget to cut or add to an agency’s budget • REMEMBER -- Congress has the sole power to appropriate funds to an agency

  24. Congress and the Bureaucracy • Divided Authority • Divided supervision in which both president / Congress exercise authority over the federal bureaucracy • Creates checks and balances while at the same time often encouraging agencies to play one branch of government against the other • Defense appropriations

  25. Congress and the Bureaucracy • Oversight • Congress responsibility to exercise legislative oversight over the federal bureaucracy • Oversight methods: • Budgetary control • Holding hearings and conducting investigations • Reorganizing an agency • Setting new guidelines for an agency

  26. Interest Groups and The Bureaucracy • Iron Triangles • Alliance among an administrative agency, an interest group, and a congressional committee to make or preserve policies that benefit their respective interests • Each member provides key services, information, or policy for the others • So pervasive and powerful often called subgovernments CONGRESS INTEREST GROUPS BUREAUCRACY

  27. Interest Groups and The Bureaucracy • Issue Networks • Coalition of interest groups and people who join together to advocate for a specific problem and for changing a government policy that pertains to that problem • Alliances created through an issue network make it possible for people to join together on their issue to create change in government policies that pertain to that issue

  28. Interest Groups and The Bureaucracy • Issue Networks • Members of issue networks usually are political executives, government officials, public servants, scholarly analysts, reporters, members of foundations and White House staff members • Need for different professions is essential for an issue network to function, because many types of expertise are needed to change existing policy