The word “bureaucracy” has a negative connotation to many people. The fact is that our current system of government would not be able to survive without bureaucracies. The bureaucracy has become the “fourth branch” of the government, it has quasi-legislative and judicial powers and in it’s own field its authority is rarely challenged. The presence of these large, inefficient structures is necessary if the American people want to continue receiving the benefits that they expect.
Bureaucracies are technically encompassed under the executive branch of government. The executive branch, however, does not have control over a lot of the things that the agencies do. Congress tries to control agencies by influencing the appointments that the president makes, it controls the amount of money that the bureaucracies receive, congress also uses their oversight function to see how the agencies are doing, and congress can also rewrite legislation or make it more detailed, to influence bureaucracy behavior. This might seem like a lot power but it is distributed over a wide range of people with different ideologies and interests. The president, however, is only one person and his word is the most powerful in Washington. The president appoints people to head agencies; these people are loyal and have the same ideology as the president. The president can also issue executive orders or simply his word is enough to put an agency into action. The OMB is also under the president so he too can control the amount of money that agencies receive. The president can also reorganize an agency if he chooses. This spread of power is the same way that the founders intended, with the system of checks and balances. The bureaucracy is not under direct control of any branch and it has regulatory and judicial powers that are quasi or semi, these things combined make it safe to assume that the federal bureaucracy is indeed a “fourth branch.”
The American people have come to expect that the government should take care of them. They expect the government to provide social security, regulation of food and medicines, protect consumers, and a whole bunch of other concerns and interests. The government can not provide these things without bureaucracies. People tend to consider bureaucracies as huge overgrown parts of the government, but this is rarely the case with most bureaucracies short on necessary training, funding, supplies and equipment – to carry out the huge task of serving the American people. The government is providing the most it can for Americans with the least amount of spending. The people govern in a democratic government, and if the people want the benefits that only the bureaucracies can offer the government must provide the bureaucracies. This is necessary if we want to continue living in a democracy.
In conclusion, the relationship between the bureaucracies and the American people is a “love – hate” relationship. We do not like the bureaucracies, but we need them to be able to provide an environment where everyone is happy. They should be considered as a “fourth branch” of the government because of their independence and regulatory abilities. The most important consideration to consider is, would we truly have a democracy without the will of the people being heard? The answer to that is obvious, so the bureaucracy most exist.