We as Americans have come to expect a lot from our government. We expect billions of dollars’ worth of services on millions of dollars of taxes. And while this in itself is a problem, it would be a much greater problem were there to be no controlling force behind all of it. We have developed this controlling force over the last 300 years of our existence into its own branch of the government. We call this force the bureaucracy, and without it, such a nation as ours would surely plummet into the abyssal caverns of anarchy overnight.
Things began small for the bureaucracy. There were but 4 people in the inner cabinet of the president, and in the face of a people who desired a very limited government, the regulatory bodies of the bureaucracy remained nonexistent. At least, that is, until the Civil War and the reconstruction period after it. The reconstruction of the nation after the bloody battles required oversight, and initiated the first real movement in the direction of more regulatory agencies. The next major leap wouldn’t come until the Great Depression in the 1930s. Until then the rugged individualism notion still had a firm grip on the throats of Americans, and the sentiment that government intervention might be needed was frowned upon. The hardships that America faced until World War II brought forth new institutions such as the Tennessee Valley authority, and such guarantees granted by social security and the FDIC (federal deposit Insurance Corporation.) Later, more towards the 21st century, terrorism, of all forms, has been a major contributor to the expansion of governmental agencies. With the expansion of our efforts to thwart possible terrorist attacks, so does the personnel needed to manage such massive operations. Without government agencies to reconstruct our nation, get it through some tough times, and maintain a safe world in which we can live, this nation would have crumbled many years ago.
Though the bureaucracies are not perfect, they are the best solution we have to the constant need for oversight and policy implementation to date. Red Tape is in place only to keep those who would try to cheat an honorbound system (as demonstrated by the recent banking incident and their involvement in the cost of oil going up), Duplication and conflict only occur when tow or more agencies are merely doing their jobs too well. Most people who are directly involved with a governing body have high customer satisfaction with that agency. It is only when confronted with the question of the bureaucracy as a whole does one immediately sense a connotation of negativity and disgust. Imperialism and Waste are the only two remaining pathologies of the bureaucracy, and being that, in order to diminish one, one must increase another that may be equally as bad or worse, it is acceptable to assume that the bureaucracies in place today are as good as they will get and are doing a decent enough job not to go to pieces over the mention of their name.
The bureaucracy of America is a many faceted body made up of the many individuals that comprise it. The vast Issue Networks that now take the place of Iron triangles have created a very pluralistic take on policy influence: the many different interests that may have stock in one activity merely need include themselves in this network to be heard! The many individuals of the bureaucracy and the many individuals behind those interests come together in a congregation of many to solve the issues of today. The interests bring the opinions of the many, and the bureaucrats bring the discretionary authority (under the National Performance Review, of course) to bring about a better tomorrow.