UB PSC 101 - Bureaucracy (21 pages)

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Bureaucracy



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Bureaucracy

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Pages:
21
School:
University at Buffalo, The State University of New York
Course:
Psc 101 - Intro American Politics
Intro American Politics Documents
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The Bureaucracy October 8 2014 Trivia Often encountered on hot dogs hamburgers or veggie burgers and other cook out favorites this condiment is a peculiarly American invention Answer Tomato Ketchup Ketchup has long been used to describe different kinds of sauces but the tomato variety is an American original What does this have to do with political science Plenty And it isn t just that I love ketchup What is the Bureaucracy Located within the executive branch Made up of Civil servants Political appointees lots of them Basic Divisions Departments independent agencies and government corporations Autonomy increases across the three types Presidents promoting new initiatives that create quick action often push for the creation of independent agencies What Do Bureaucrats Do Impose regulations rules that affect the choices that individuals or corporations make Developed in a process known as the notice and comment procedure Proposed rules are published in the Federal Register Allows for input from interested parties e g those whose behavior would be regulated Lots of agencies issue regulations Most however come from the FTC FCC and FDA Procurement Procurement running a government requires buying stuff Government Services Administration Must first devise criteria for determining what to buy Can be complicated e g procuring a new fighter jet Also subject to executive and legislative mandates What Else Provide services Research and development Managing and directing oversee for instance government contractors Implement laws Settle disputes administrative adjudication Bureaucrats as Policy Makers When bureaucrats fill in the gaps for lawmakers they are in essence making law Bureaucratic decisions have the force of law Chevron deference courts defer to bureaucrats on matters of administrative law Bureaucrats as Experts Key part of state capacity provide knowledge personnel and institutions necessary to implement policies Nevertheless can be cumbersome Red tape or SOPs Stands for Standard Operating Procedures If the bureaucracy is there to fill in the blanks when Congress passes laws that are nonspecific or delegate authority to the bureaucracy why is there a need for such often complex rules The Problem of Control Bureaucracy is open to obvious principal agent problems Also regulatory capture bureaucrats are beholden to corporations or other interests and not to the general welfare Bureaucratic drift tendency for bureaucrats to implement policies that favor their own objectives and not those of the legislature The ideal neutral competence Bureaucrats provide expertise and avoid taking sides in policy debates being swayed by elected officials those outside of government or by their own goals Historical Development of the American Bureaucracy Not a linear process Three relatively short periods of time saw a great deal of growth in the size and scope of the bureaucracy 1890s 1930s and 1960s Why these three What was going on Building a New American State The Progressive Era Saw numerous pushes to reform government Sherman Anti Trust Act Pure Food and Drug Act Meat Inspection Act Civil service reform Pendleton Act was geared toward breaking the grip of the party machines More Recent Periods of Expansion and Contraction The New Deal The Great Society The Reagan Revolution rolled back the size of the federal government Didn t last as even under Republican executives the federal government has been increasing in size Modern Federal Bureaucracy Executive Office of the President EOP is part of the bureaucracy Includes the OMB Executive departments are under the EOP as well Independent agencies that are not subordinate to executive departments Why is the Federal Reserve an independent agency rather than part of the Department of the Treasury The Politicization of the Bureaucracy In theory above politics In practice often hired based on ideology or group ties Bureaucrats are limited in terms of how involved they can be in politics Under the Hatch Act couldn t do anything more than vote or contribute to a candidate Admit of a wider range of activities now President appoints more than 7 000 people to positions in the executive branch Turkey farms are agencies where political appointees can be placed without much risk Problems of Bureaucracy Organizational culture can be difficult to change No guidance from the Constitution Easy to hide behind SOPs Fundamentally a political realm A system at odds with itself rules but also opportunities for access Slave to many masters elected officials professional associations and the media all have a say Poorly defined sense of mission Other Worries Iron Triangles Special relationships often develop between elements in Congress interest groups and bureaucratic agencies or departments Often charges of a revolving door in Washington Fear that the ties might be too close Congressional Oversight of the Bureaucracy Fire alarms vs police patrols Frequent criticism is that Congress often abdicates its responsibility to exercise oversight of the bureaucracy Don t so much abdicate as prefer a different type of oversight


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