Carter’s Mouse

General characteristics of the bureaucracy

Goals: careerism, long term, pro-government, loyalty to the agency rather than president.

            Internal warfare

foreign policy:  State Dept., NSC, Pentagon, CIA, Arms Control and Disarmament, etc. Ag. Dept. vs. FDA on “beneficial bugs.”

makes it tough for the president to lead.

Problems with the CDC and FBI in the anthrax scare.  FBI vs. CIA in war on terror.  CIA and Pentagon in war with Iraq.



Characteristics of the Bur.

Internal structure, status quo bias

hierarchy, SOPs, incrementalism, “muddling through.”

Types of bureaucracy.

Cabinet level agencies (State, Treasury, Agriculture, Education, etc.). 15 of these.

    Independent agencies, NLRB, Federal Reserve, CIA, FDA, FEC, Peace Corps, etc. About 60 of these.

   Federal corporations:  U.S. Postal Service, FDIC, Export-Import Bank.



Control of the Bureaucracy

Inter-branch tensions:  the bureaucracy is subject to two masters.

Constitutions dictates the rivalry.  Congress given “all legislative powers,” president has to “take care that the laws are faithfully executed.”

Morris Fiorina: mismatch of incentives and capabilities.  President has the incentive to control the bureaucracy, but not the ability.  Congress has the ability, but not the incentive.

Presidential Control of Bur.

Constitutional foundations. Difference between our system and a parliamentary system (Campbell article).

Historical evolution -- Presidential control of the bureaucracy is relatively recent.  “Iron law of emulation  -- Congress and the president respond to each other.



Techniques of Presidential Control

Frontal assault:  appointments, management, and reorganization.  Reagan and Labor, EPA, and Interior Dept.  Bush and NASA (global warming), EPA, NSF, the Justice Department (controversy over the U.S. attorneys).  Articles on the surgeon general – politics over science.

End run:  avoid the bureaucracy.  Centralize authority in the White House. Dangers of this approach.   Iran Contra:  State Dept. was “out of the loop.”  Planning on SDI and the war in Iraq.



Control of the Bur., cont.

Controversy over the creation of the new cabinet level agency on Homeland Security.  Turf battles and labor issues.

            Terry Moe’s argument from the week on rational choice:  structures, incentives, resources.  Create institutional structures to minimize long-term harm, so the president will want to politicize the bureaucracy and  centralize authority in the White House.

            Delegation is another alternative, but this can backfire – Dubai ports deal last year.




Reorganization  -- this is a direct way to give the president more control over important topics.

Deregulation – more power to the free marker.

Citizen participation – public hearings, comment periods.  Current debate over FCC and media ownership.

Analytical budgeting and OMB oversight.

Party government – more ability to get things done if you are all on the same page.

Reinventing government  -- Clinton/Gore initiative in the late 1990s.


Growth of the White House Staff