Home School Life Journal From Preschool to High School

Home School Life Journal ........... Ceramics by Katie Bergenholtz
"Let us strive to make each moment beautiful."
Saint Francis DeSales

High School American Government, Part 12: Bureaucracy

  1. Assess the nature, sources and extent of bureaucratic power. Bureaucratic power has grown with increases in the size of  government,  advances in technology and the greater complexity of modern society.  Congress and the president can no longer decide the details of policy across the wide range of needs throughout the nation. For this reason, bureaucracies must draw up the detailed rules and regulations that govern the nation.
  2. Describe the types of agencies in the federal bureaucracy and the extent and purposes of the bureaucracy.  The federal bureaucracy has 2.8 million civilian employees in 15 cabinet departments and more than 60 independent agencies  as well as the Executive Office of the President.  Federal employment is not growing but federal spending is rapidly growing. 
  3. Trace changes over time in the size and composition of the bureaucracy and assess the repercussions for democracy.  Most bureaucrats believe strongly in the value of their own programs and seek added power,  pay and prestige. Over time the merit system replaced the spoils system in federal employment, but the civil service system raised problems of responsiveness and productivity in the bureaucracy. Civil service reforms have not resolved these problems. 
  4. Outline the budgetary process and the advantages and the disadvantages of the current system.  Departments and agencies send their budget requests forward to the president's Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The OMB usually reduces agency requests in line with the president's priorities. The president submits spending recommendations to Congress  (The Budget of the United States Government). Congress passes it's appropriation acts prior to the beginning of the fiscal year. Most budgeting is incremental and the question is usually about proposed increases, not justifying every dollar spent. Non-programmatic budgeting, although is supposed to help reduce conflict over the value of particular programs, tends to result in established programs continuing long after the need for them.
  5. Outline the federal regulations that are in place.  Congress can create, abolish or reorganize departments and agencies, alter department and agencies authority and functions by requiring bureaucrats to testify before congressional committees, by undertaking investigations and studies through the Government Accountability Office, by intervening directly on behalf of constituents,  by instructing presidential nominees in Senate confirmation hearings, by withholding agency appropriations, by writing very specific provisions into appropriations acts and by delaying or defeating nominations. Interest groups also influence decision making by their testifying at public hearings,  by contacting the media,  lobbying Congress,  initiating lawsuits and providing information and commentary. 
  6. Summarize the constraints that Congress can place on the bureaucracy.  Judicial control is limited to determining whether agencies have exceeded the authority granted them by law or whether they have abided by the rules of procedural fairness.
  1. Bureaucratic power stems from which of the following powers: (circle all that apply) 
    1. develop formal rules 
    2. adjudicate individual cases 
    3. use administrative discretion 
  2. Which of the following can be said to be true of the Federal government bureaucracy?  
    1. Federal bureaucracy consists of about 2.8 million civilian employees  
    2. the federal government spends about 50 % of the nation's GDP 
    3. the senior and most important cabinet office is the Department of the Interior 
    4. legislation is crafted by agencies and take effect unless Congress otherwise passes a law to the contrary 
    5. agencies are exempt from executive orders
  3. Historically government employment was based on party loyalty, political support and friendship.  This was known as:
    1.  the compare system 
    2. the spoils system 
    3. the patronage system 
    4. the merit system 
    5. the Borda method 
  4. Government contracting with private firms to perform public services is known as: 
    1. privatization 
    2. private - public partnerships 
    3. socialism 
    4. outsourcing 
    5. cooperation 
  5. A method of budgeting that tries to review the entire budget of an agency (not just the requested changes ) is: 
    1. management by objective budgeting  
    2. incremental budgeting 
    3. zero - based budgeting 
    4. Non-programmatic budgeting 
    5. rescission 
  6. The agency that is responsible for conducting studies of the federal bureaucratic performance is the:  
    1. Office of Management and Budget  
    2. Congressional Budget Office 
    3. General Accountability Office  
    4. Office of the Comptroller 
    5. The Federal Reserve 
  7. In an effort to influence the bureaucracy,  interest groups may perform which of the following activities  (circle all that apply): 
    1. hold press conferences and create media events 
    2. lobby the bureaucracy directly 
    3. testify at public hearings 
    4. institute potential rules through private action 
  8. The courts became involved in agency actions when they: (circle all that apply): 
    1. violate congressional legislation 
    2. have exceeded the authority granted to them  
    3. have engaged in activities that have been determined to be arbitrary 
    4. the issue is only constitutional 
  1. All
  2. A
  3. B
  4. D
  5. C
  6. C
  7. Only 1 and 4
  8. Only 1 and 4
High School American Government


  1. Anonymous6.4.17

    If there is one thing I will fail my children in completely it will be politics. I haven't even touched on it and I only have one more year with my son :(

  2. I read bureaucracy and groaned before I even read the post. I know some level is necessary, but man do I dislike it.

    1. I do know how you feel. I can't believe I have a son who is majoring in Political Science and wants to go into politics.

    2. I do know how you feel. I can't believe I have a son who is majoring in Political Science and wants to go into politics.


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