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ART II (Continued) Bureaucracy:

Review of President:

ROLES OF THE PRESIDENT:

    CHIEF OF STATE- The role of the President that is "ceremonial" in nature.

    CHIEF EXECUTIVE- The role of the President that is like that of a CEO of a major corporation.

    COMMANDER IN CHIEF- The role of the President that continues the great philosophy of our country that the Military should be controlled by the people.

    CHIEF DIPLOMAT- The role of the President that places him/her as the representative of our country in foreign affairs both here and abroad. 

    CHIEF LEGISLATOR- The role of the President that calls for the proposal of - or attempted denial of - policy.

    CHIEF OF THE PARTY- The role of the President where once elected, the President becomes the "engine" driving the party towards those policies they believe should be implemented. 

EXECUTIVE ORDER- IS, A rule or regulation issued by the president that has the effect of law.  Primarily, the executive order must be administrative in nature.

EXECUTIVE PRIVILEGE- IS, The right of the president and those executive officials accorded that right by the president to withhold information from, or to refuse to appear before, a legislative committee.

IMPEACHMENT- IS, The initial step of the Congress in removing the president from office.  The impeachment process is not unlike the Grand Jury (where the House of Representatives acts as the Grand Jury) process in a criminal trial -determining if there is sufficient evidence of a crime to move forward.

REMOVAL- IS, The formal action of the Congress when at least 60 members of the Senate (acting as a jury) finds the President has committed "Treason, Bribery, or other high Crime and Misdemeanors" worthy of having their term of office terminated. 

BUREAUCRACY (Or Public Administration) -  

To assist in the carrying out of the "Business of the Government," the president has a little help - like some 4,500,000 (1.4 million military) little helpers (called "Bureaucrats," "Civil Servants," or the "PC" flavor of the day -"PUBLIC ADMINISTRATORS").  As stated in the last chapter, the president acts as the CEO of the business ensuring the business of the people get carried out.  Sitting at the top of this organization is the president's office (or White House) which has a staff to assist them in the every day tasks of the president.  Much like a CEO will have a score of personal executive secretaries - doing the scheduling, travel arrangements, speech writing, letter reviewing, et cetera, et cetera.  And under the CEO's pinnacle office sits a number "vice-presidents" called "Secretaries" which make up the president's appointed "Cabinet." Additionally, there are plenty of other appointed commission, board, council, diplomatic, and military personnel that report to the "CEO."  And, underneath these individuals is the bulk of hired employees that actually do the hands on work of the people -from Middle-Management to "Street Level Bureaucrats (those individuals you and I are most likely to do business with)." See Below: 

The Path A Job Takes Before It Is Accomplished:

Prior to the diagram we underlined the words "appointed" and "hired." There is a specific difference between the two, as well as two corresponding philosophies that go along with utilizing these practices in government staffing.

Again, I turn to a diagram/timeline that highlights the "reform" of government from the inception of the Constitution to today. See Below:

THE ROAD TO REFORM

The "Road to Reform" was a bumpy one.  The practice of PATRONAGE (Rewarding individuals with government jobs for their support in an election) -either "Blue Blood" or "Spoils"- did have the impact of making government inefficient.  Those opposed to patronage recognized the graft and corruption this system allowed.  For example, let's say you knew President Jackson back in 1832, and you helped him get elect to his second term.  In return, he appointed you as Secretary of Treasury.  You then offered jobs to some of your acquaintances, regardless of their capability or knowledge of the workings of the Treasury Department.  In return for this cushy government job, you ask that not only do these acquaintances vehemently support Jackson, but they kickback up to you a portion (say a third) of their government paycheck.  Doesn't sound very efficient does it? I mean, you get rich but the government gets staffed by a bunch of "very loyal," yet very incapable, bureaucrats. 

Still, that term LOYAL becomes really important in ensuring that there is support for a President's initiatives, as well as their re-election bid. If you were President wouldn't you want to be totally surrounded by those who would do what you told them to do?   Where as Blue Blood patronage was somewhat contained by the idea that working in the new government offered one a sense of nobility -and therefore those chosen must be worthy (wealthy, white, property owners, of strong social standing - hence, "Blue Blood"),  the Spoils system was "patronage gone mad." You see, any idiot could become a government employee simply by playing the "game."  The term "spoils," I believe then has two interpretations: 1.) the idea of, "To the victor goes the spoils" (in other words, "I won! I'll appoint who I want to!  AND, when you win, you can appoint who you want to! Until then. . . GET OFF MY BUTT!"), and 2.) that kind of crazy patronage "spoiled" (or "ruined") the system of government.

So, reformers stood up trying to instill efficiency back into the system.  But there were many who believed that patronage was necessary to the process of governing. Especially, in winning government.  For example, if you were a candidate and you wanted support from some big shot (say, John Engler), you could promise that IF you get elected you'll appoint him/her to the Diplomatic Core, and make them the US Ambassador to Jamaica, or Australia, or England.  Now, what does that cost you if you lose? Nothing -you go home and so does the "big shot."  OK, what does that cost you if you win? You? It costs you nothing -you go to the oval office and the "big shot" goes to Jamaica -all courtesy of the taxpayer. So, at a risk of a big fat nothing, you get some awesome support in your campaign bid.

In acknowledgement of the obvious inefficiencies and the obvious benefits of patronage, the Stalwarts (Anti-reformers) and the Mugwomps (Reformers) in the legislature compromised. The vast bulk of individuals doing the work of government would be hired based on "MERIT" (or, "what they knew") - which would be determined by a compilation of their education, experience, and score on the Civil Service Exam - while, those individuals directly under the President would still be appointed (with the confirmation of the Senate), ensuring that support could be garnered with the mere promise of a upper-level position in the government.  AND, this is exactly how the system exists today.  Want a cushy government job? Better know somebody! Want to do the grunt work of government? Better score well on the civil service exam. . . (something, just doesn't seem right about this).

The other thing I do like you to get a handle on from this chapter is "THE IRON TRIANGLE" which was actually eluded to when we discussed Interest Groups, back in Chapter 9.  The text gives a good account of this principle (or phenomenon) of government.  However, though there are Iron Triangles today they are few in number compared to the time prior of explosion of advocacy groups in the mid- 1960's.  The Pre 60's Triangles were much more "Iron," and virtually impossible for a common citizen to breach (hence the term "iron").  This period could best be described as "Elitism" (only the well-to-do guiding policy -which, in turn, keeps them the "well-to-do").  See Below:   

CITIZEN'S ACCESS IN AN IRON TRIANGLE: PRE MID-1960'S

In this relationship, the legislature was controlled by those who controlled the resources (the business owners, ie. Rockefeller, Carnegie, Morgan, etc.), in return for the support of business, legislators would pass legislation protecting certain business prominence.  Members of the businesses would then be appointed to regulatory commissions (Bureaucracy), and there by become the overseeing force of their own interests (the proverbial fox guarding the hen house). AND, the access of the common citizen (those not wealthy) to their government was severely limited.  If a "commoner" had a problem with a business and wanted government to do something about it. . . tough noogie!

CITIZEN'S ACCESS IN A NOT-SO-IRON SQUARE: POST MID 1960'S

With the so called "Fair Deal" programs L.B. Johnson (the period the text eludes to as the period of "Creative Federalism"), came an explosion of not only bureaucratic agencies aimed at protecting the interests of the whole populace, but a wave of new citizen oriented interest groups (CIG's).  These CIGS formed out of necessity to counter the strong-arm control of the business interest groups (BIG's) over resources.  So, now we have "counters" to business applying pressure (as interest groups do) to key officials in government giving them choices of whom to support and whom to screw.  Business interests are countered by labor interests, industrial interests are countered by environmental interests, as well as the old stand bys like guns v. anti-guns, abortion v. anti-abortion, etc. 

SO, do you and I (as commoners) have access to government and, therefore, the policy process???? The answer is YES WE DO, but primarily through our associations with other like minded individuals.  Government policy is really led by the pressure of varying interest groups (called PLURALISM) -BUT, it is you and I that make up these groups. SO, YES, YOU DO HAVE ACCESS, JUST NOT (in general) "DIRECT ACCESS."    

(REMEMBER: ITS ALL ABOUT SELF INTEREST AND CONTROL OF RESOURCES! THIS THING WE CALL GOVERNMENT WAS CREATED TO 'FAIRLY' ADMINISTER WHO GETS WHAT, BUT IT'S A CONSTANT BATTLE OF COMPETING INTERESTS FOR FINITE RESOURCES - IF YOU UNDERSTAND THIS, YOU HAVE JUST BEEN KEYED IN TO "HOW AND WHY" OUR AMERICAN SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT WORKS AS IT DOES -  SO, WHY WOULDN'T YOU WANT TO BE INVOLVED IN YOUR OWN FUTURE?)

Do take a check at the paradox of the WHISTLE BLOWER in the text, as well as get an understanding of WHY it's so darned difficult to get rid of a program once one has been started (remember every bureaucrat makes his living off the program they administer . So not only do the people who benefit from the government program -as few as they may be- staunchly defend the "necessity" of the program, so do the administrators. . .  these are your "advocacy groups.")  That's it!

Below, if you need further information regarding Chapter 14, is a link to the publisher's resources. 

 

But be sure to read the chapter and not simply rely on this summary (it leaves too much out).


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Last modified date: 05/19/10
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