AP Gov The Bureaucracy Flashcards

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AP Gov The Bureaucracy
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Proxy Government

“Government by proxy”--refers to the practice of the federal government paying state and local governments and private groups to staff and administer federal programs.

The war in Iraq and Hurricane Katrina are examples of “proxy government” efforts


The United States Bureaucracy

Bureaucracy: a large, complex organization composed of appointed officials

Political authority over the bureaucracy is shared by president and Congress

Federal agencies share functions with related state and local government agencies


Growth of the Bureaucracy UP TO THE CIVIL WAR

Patronage in the 19th and early 20th centuries rewarded supporters, induced congressional support, and built party organizations

The Civil War showed the administrative weakness of the federal government and increased demands for civil service reform


Growth of the Bureaucracy POST CIVIL WAR

The post-Civil War period saw industrialization and the emergence of a national economy

The power of national government to regulate interstate commerce became necessary and controversial


Expansion of the Bureaucracy

The Depression and World War II led to government activism

The Supreme Court upheld laws that granted discretion to administrative agencies

Heavy use of income taxes supported war effort and a large bureaucracy


The Impact of 9/11

9/11 attacks could also affect the bureaucracy as profoundly as WWII and the Depression

A new cabinet agency (Department of Homeland Security) was created

Intelligence-gathering activities were consolidated under a National Intelligence Director


Growth of the Bureaucracy Today

Modest increase in the number of government employees

Significant indirect increase in number of employees through use of private contractors, state and local government employees

Growth in discretionary authority


Recruitment and Retention

Competitive service: bureaucrats compete for jobs through OPM

Appointment by merit based on written exam or through selection criteria


Figure 15.1 Characteristics of Federal Civilian Employees, 1960 and 2004

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Recruitment and Retention

Competitive service system has become more decentralized, less reliant on OPM referral

Excepted service: bureaucrats appointed by agencies, typically in a nonpartisan fashion


Firing a Bureaucrat

Most bureaucrats cannot be easily fired

The Senior Executive Service (SES) was established to provide the president and cabinet with more
control in personnel decisions

But very few SES members have actually been fired


Carrying Out Policy

Most bureaucrats try to carry out policy, even those they disagree with

But bureaucrats do have obstructive powers—Whistleblower Protection Act (1989)

Most civil servants have highly structured jobs that make their personal attitudes irrelevant


Constraints on the Bureaucracy

Constraints are much greater on government agencies than on private bureaucracies

Hiring, firing, pay, and other procedures are established by law, not by the market

Constraints come from citizens: agencies try to respond to citizen demands for openness, honesty, and fairness


Agency Allies

Agencies often seek alliances with congressional committees and interest groups

These alliances are far less common today—politics has become too complicated

Issue networks: groups that regularly debate government policy on certain issues


Congressional Oversight

Congress creates agencies

Congress authorizes funds for programs

Congressional appropriations provide funds for the agency to spend on its programs

Congressional investigations


Bureaucratic Pathologies

Red tape: complex, sometimes conflicting rules

Conflict: agencies work at cross-purposes

Duplication: two or more agencies seem to do the same thing

Imperialism: tendency of agencies to grow, irrespective of programs’ benefits and costs

Waste: spending more than is necessary to buy some product or service


Reforming the Bureaucracy

National Performance Review (NPR) in 1993 designed to reinvent government calling for less centralized management, more employee initiatives, fewer detailed rules, and more customer satisfaction


Reforming the Bureaucracy

Most rules and red tape are due to struggles between the president and Congress or to agencies’ efforts to avoid alienating influential voters

Periods of divided government worsen matters, especially in implementing policy