Bureaucracy

Bureaucracy - By Loren Miller “The only thing that saves...

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Unformatted text preview: By Loren Miller “The only thing that saves us from the bureaucracy is its inefficiency.” Eugene McCarthy U.S. Senator, 1959-1971 BUREAUCRACY & BUREAUCRATS A political science professor was once asked: “How many bureaucrats does it take to screw in a light bulb? She replied, “Seventeen: 3 to authorize purchase of the light bulb (at twice the price), 5 to inspect the light bulb, and 8 to turn the chair while I hold the bulb in place.” BUREAUCRACY & GOVERNMENT WASTE Do you think people in the government waste a lot of money we pay in taxes, waste some of it, or don’t waste very much of it? A lot 59% Some 39% Not Very Much 2% 2000 BUREAUCRACY & BUREAUCRATS What is a bureaucracy?-- a form of organization What is a bureaucrat?-- an employee of an organization WHAT DO BUREAUCRATS DO? • they communicate with each other • they keep copies of all those communications to maintain a paper trail WHAT DO BUREAUCRATS DO? • Implementation – implement the objectives of the organization as laid down by its board of directors (if a private company) or by law (if a public agency) WHAT DO BUREAUCRATS DO? • Interpretation • when Congress is clear in their instructions to bureaucrats, implementation is a fairly straight-forward process • when there is disagreement as to what the instructions ought to be, then bureaucrats perform another job, interpretation WHAT DO BUREAUCRATS DO? • Lawmaking • when bureaucrats have to interpret a law before implementing it, they are, in effect, engaged in lawmaking • Congress often deliberately delegates to an administrative agency the responsibility of lawmaking “LAWS” OF BUREAUCRATIC BEHAVIOR Acheson’s Rule: A memorandum is written not to inform the reader but to protect the writer Boren’s Laws: When in doubt, mumble. When in trouble, delegate. When in charge, ponder Meskimen’s Law: There’s never time to do it right, but always time to do it over Murphy’s Law: If anything can go wrong, it will O’Toole’s Corollary to Murphy’s Law: Murphy was an optimist Peter Principle: In every hierarchy, each employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence; thus, every post tends to be filled by an incompetent employee HOW TO BECOME A BUREAUCRAT • Pre 1883 • to the victor go the spoils (partisan)...
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This note was uploaded on 01/06/2012 for the course GOVT 2302 taught by Professor Mackharvey during the Spring '11 term at Collins.

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Bureaucracy - By Loren Miller “The only thing that saves...

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