The United Sates of America is often considered one of the most, if not the most powerful country in the world, with the strongest military, and government. The American government is structured to ensure an effective democratic and economic system, rendering it complex. Most people, Americans especially, know that the country consists of an executive branch, which the President of the United States is a member of. Many also believe that the President is, and should be the most powerful government official in any branch of the government. However, with the appointment of bureaucracies, many policies are passed, and regulated, empowering bureaucrats, and blurring the image of the President being most powerful.
Bureaucrats are less visible than the President or members of Congress, and are not elected. Some federal bureaucracies include:
• Department of Transportation
• Department of Veteran Affairs
• Federal Bureau of Investigation
• National Security Council
• Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy
• Office of National AIDS Policy
• Agricultural Research Service
• Farm Service Agency
You can use Max Weber’s theory of bureaucracy to understand it. Bureaus such as these, can implement policies, administer, and regulate them. This sector of the government ensures our safety, and implements policies which give us structure and an organized system. For example, in 1887, the Interstate Commerce Commission was one of the first agencies created by Congress to regulate how the railroads helped farmers, prices for transportation, and the railroads’ functions, in general.
How They Are Chosen
Even though federal government officialdom is not elected by the people, the department heads are chosen by the President. This is where a problem persists for many of the American people. Bureaucracies enforce public policy on the public, but the public did not elect bureaucrats to lead them. This is why bureau heads are chosen by the President, and approved by the Senate. In essence, the President will mostly choose bureau heads who support his ideas and goals.
Methods of Control
All types of bureaucracies do possess much power, and have their own budgets, which can make it hard to be controlled, especially if they, and the President are not on the same page, or agencies have hidden agendas. Here are a few ways the President might try to control a federal agency:
• Get the right people to run the agency
• Give executive orders
• Take money from the agency’s budget
• Dismantle, and re-organize an agency
The United States may, indeed be a global super power. But, it is not easy to keep our government, democracy, and economy in order, as witnessed with our recent recession, and part-government shut down. Bureaucracies and other sections of the government, work together, but bureaucracies have problems, they are very independent, and we put a lot of trust in them to play a role in keeping us safe, and implanting the best public policy possible.