American Government 1 3 1

American Government 1 3 1

In this module, we’ll bendiscussing the bureaucracy. The bureaucracy is notnwritten into the Constitution, nor is it one of the threenbranches of government. But Congress has thenpower to pass legislation which creates government agencies and the guidelines thatnthese agencies should follow. The agencies which make up the bureaucracy have the power ofnadministrative discretion. The way these agencies interpretnthe law then sets policy. But implementing the lawsnCongress enacts is the main purpose of the bureaucracy. Although a bureaucracy hasnexisted within many governments since their inception,nthe U.S.’s bureaucracy was initially very small. When Andrew Jacksonnbecame president in 1828, he awarded his supporters,nparty loyalists, jobs by the thousands. These jobs were awardednbased on patronage, the concept that to thenvictor of the election go the political spoils, the jobs. The Pendleton Civil Service Act of 1833 was the first to deal with this issue, just after Jackson left office. And the Pendleton Civil Service Act made some government jobsnoff limits to patronage and made it illegal tonfire or otherwise punish civil service workers fornstrictly political reasons. So it established thenCivil Service Commission to enforce parts of the law. Now most jobs at the federal level are civil service positions. They’re not awarded on patronage. The Pendleton Civil Service Act required the passage of a Civil Service Exam, usually an exam where younwould fill in the bubbles. Today, it is much more common the individual will be interviewed about his or her education, background, knowledge, skills and abilities, also known as KSAs, and these are similar to what’s called core competencies in the private sector today. But it is important to note that the jobs are based on merit rathernthan political patronage as in the age of Jackson. Congress also passed the Hatch Act, or the Political Activities Act of 1939 to ensure that civil servants did not work on political campaigns ornuse their position within the government to influencenthe outcome of an election. Today, the federalngovernment is the single largest employer in the United States. The pension and benefits tend to be good in the government sectornrelative to the jobs in the private sector. A general schedule, or a pay schedule, based on 15 levels withn10 steps or ranks in them. Each exists to ensure uniformity in pay. The bureaucracy isnstaffed by professionals, or people who intend to make a career out of the position they’re in. Many of the years on thenjob leads to expertise in a particular area of specialization, such as foreign policy if younwork in the State Department, or perhaps rainforest habitat if you work in the Environmental Protection Agency, although there’s only onenrainforest in the United States, in Puerto Rico. The public demand for,nand the expectation of, social services, beginning in particular in response to the Great Depression, best explains the growthnof the federal bureaucracy over the past 100 years. The president at times increasednthe federal bureaucracy. FDR created the Office of War Information by executive order in 1942, during World War Two, for example. It was disbanded in 1945. Then the high-tech military establishment required by the ColdnWar was the main reason for the expansion of the bureaucracy and the enlargement of the federal budget, four-fifths of which wasngoing to defense-related activities by the 1950s. Later, in the 1980s, evennPresident Ronald Reagan, who ran on a platform of reducing the size of the federal government,nfound that he had increased the size of the Department of Defense, and the government grew bigger because of his commitment to Cold War armaments. So it grew bigger, not smaller, during his eight years in office. Speaking of defense,nthe federal bureaucracy serves a great number of functions, from keeping track of who isneligible for the military, the Selective ServicenAdministration does that, to housing, organizing andnrestoring important documents at the National Archivesnand Records Administration, to delivering the mail,nthe U.S. Postal Service of course does that. Be sure to review the videonas many times as is necessary so that you feel comfortablenwith the material. Also do the readings andnanswer the questions.
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American Government 1 3 1

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