Chapter Summary8 - rules and procedures to achieve desired...

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Chapter Eight: The Bureaucracy Study Chapter Summary Bureaucracies are the agents through which elected officials execute policies. As with any principal- agent relationship, the elected officials face the risk that the bureaucracy will use this power to suit its own ends. The huge expansion of bureaucratic power and responsibilities in recent years has led some to conclude that the bureaucracy is out of control. In reality, elected officials and especially Congress have worked to establish and maintain a great deal of control over the bureaucracy. Although it is nearly impossible for elected officials to monitor all the activities of the bureaucracy directly, politicians have the ability to subject wayward bureaucrats to severe punishments, including dismissal, reduced funding, or even legislation that puts the offending agency out of existence. Elected officials also have the ability to structure the bureaucracy and its
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Unformatted text preview: rules and procedures to achieve desired ends. Such rules and procedures compose the red tape that constrains and guides the operation of the bureaucracy. However, political considerations also figure into the establishment or modification of agencies. The difficulties faced by President George W. Bush and Congress in establishing a new Department of Homeland Security only served to highlight this problem. In the past, political parties used positions in the bureaucracy to reward their loyal partisans. Currently, parties are able to court key constituencies or clienteles by establishing, expanding, or promoting key agencies. In other cases, politicians choose to "wash their hands" of unpopular or troublesome policy decisions by delegating them to bureaucracies insulated from political influence. In any case, bureaucracies are complex because of, not despite, the needs and desires of elected officials....
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