In chapter 13, we examine the size, organization and staffing of the federal bureaucracy. Let’s start with a definition. Bureaucracies are hierarchical organizations characterized by a division of labor and extensive procedural rules.
In addition to governments, major corporations and universities have bureaucratic organizations. One of the main differences between public and private bureaucracies is that private bureaucracies are organized to make a profit and public ones are not.
Several theories have been offered to describe bureaucracies. The weberian model posits that bureaucracies are rational, hierarchical organizations in which decisions are based on logical reasoning. The acquisitive model views top-level bureaucrats as pressing for ever-larger budgets and staffs to augment their power.
The monopolistic model focuses on the environment in which most government bureaucracies operate, stating that bureaucracies are inefficient and excessively costly to operate because they have no competitors.
Since the founding of the united states, the federal bureaucracy has grown from 50 paid employees to about 2.8 million employees (including the u.S. Postal service but excluding the military). In addition to the civilian federal employees, there are approximately 1,370,000 men and women in the uniformed services.
Federal, state, and local employees together make up more than 16 percent of the nation’s civilian labor force. The federal bureaucracy consists of fifteen cabinet departments, as well as a large number of independent executive agencies, independent regulatory agencies, and government corporations.
The most recent department to be added is the u.S. Department of homeland security, which was made up of parts of other agencies in an effort to garner more effective lines of communication in homeland security matters.
The department of homeland security, the veterans affairs, and the department of defense are the largest organizational units in government and together, house approximately 50 percent of the civilian employees of the federal government. Approximately 30 percent of government spending benefits older americans via social security and medicare payments.
Military spending accounts for an additional 20 percent of federal budget outlays. With so many dollars going to just a few programs, the expenses for operations and other services provided by the federal government must be squeezed from the remaining budget allocation.
These realities cause conflict, and decisions on how to manage competing budget priorities falls mainly to congress with input from the president. Here is a quick look at the organization of federal government.
Please review it when you have a few moments. A federal bureaucracy of career civil servants was formed during thomas jefferson’s presidency. Andrew jackson implemented a spoils system through which he appointed his own political supporters.
A civil service based on professionalism and merit was the goal of the civil service reform act of 1883. In the merit system, employees are selected, retained and promoted on the basis of competitive examinations.
Significant changes in the administration of the civil service were made by the civil service reform act of 1978. There have been many attempts to make the federal bureaucracy more open, efficient, and responsive to the needs of u.S.
Citizens. The most important reforms have included sunshine and sunset laws, privatization, e-government, and protection for whistleblowers. One of the more notable reforms is the government in sunshine act, which requires all committee-directed federal agencies to conduct business regularly in public session.
Congress delegates much of its authority to federal agencies when it creates new laws. The bureaucrats who run these agencies may become important policymakers because congress has neither the time nor the technical expertise to oversee the administration of its laws.
In the agency rulemaking process, a proposed regulation is published. A comment period follows, during which interested parties may offer suggestions for changes. Because companies and other organizations have challenged many regulations in court, federal agencies now are authorized to allow parties that will be affected by new regulations to participate in the rule-drafting process.
We spoke just a moment ago about bureaucrats as policymakers. What we find in this chapter is a term called iron triangles. That is alliance among legislative, bureaucrats and interest groups to make or preserve policies that preserve their own interests.
That is your video lecture for this chapter. Please use this lecture as well as your study guide to prepare for this week’s quiz.
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