US - US Texas Bureaucracy Reading Assignments Bardes Shelley Schmidt Chapter Twelve Crain Maxwell Chapter Nine How Bureaucracies Influence Policy

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Reading Assignments: How Bureaucracies Influence Policy: When one speaks of a separation of powers between the three branches of government, executive, legislative, and judicial; it is probably more accurate to speak of a fourth branch of government, the bureaucracy. The bureaucracy is a term for the collection of executive branch agencies at the Federal or State levels responsible for the day-to-day supervision of policy in their area of expertise. Actually, these bureaucracies do more than supervise, they often set policy. They do so in the following ways: (1) Fill Out Details of legislation in the form the "Regs" or regulations drafted by that bureaucracy; (2) by offering advise to the President or Governor on a policy choice or to the Legislature in drafting additional legislation; and (3) in the manner in which they implement policy directives. General Characteristics of Bureaucracy: There are two important things to know about the bureaucracy that this essay will illustrate. First, the executive bureaucracy is not a monolith - indeed it is a collection of separate bureaucracies - with different policy agendas and different degrees of power who often compete with one another for the formulation of policy. At the very least these smaller bureaucracies compete over shares of the budget. The policy which results from this competition may be poorly coordinated, it may be a compromise (perhaps a poor compromise based on the "lowest common denominator") of the various actors or it may simply represent the perspective of the bureaucratic actor with the most political power ; but many times, the policy is often not the optimal policy from the standpoint of the larger public interest. Second, the various bureaucracies are not politically neutral. They have their own political agendas and their own unique perspectives or ways of viewing the world. This is not to say that these agendas are necessarily bad but they are always parochial. The good of the country is viewed in terms of the narrower parochial perspective of that bureaucracy. (What is good for the Army is good for the US). In many instances, the bureaucracy will form a political alliance with like-minded interest groups and like-minded Congressmen to form what is called an Iron-Triangle . For example, in Texas, the Texas Department of Agriculture may form a political alliance with agri-business and certain Texas legislatures they may join in supporting such things as major agricultural subsidies designed for the big agri- businesses. Sources of Political Power: Not all bureaucracies are equally powerful and hence not all bureaucracies are equally influential on policy. It is useful to delineate some of the generic sources of power.
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(1) External Allies with Power. The single most important source of power for bureaucracies is the extent to which they have "external allies" and the relative political
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This note was uploaded on 04/13/2008 for the course POL 1013 taught by Professor Dr.j.philiprogers during the Spring '05 term at The University of Texas at San Antonio- San Antonio.

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US - US Texas Bureaucracy Reading Assignments Bardes Shelley Schmidt Chapter Twelve Crain Maxwell Chapter Nine How Bureaucracies Influence Policy

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