Budget and Bureaucracy

a hierarchical authority structure that uses task specialization, operates on the merit principle, develops rules (to handle similar cases similarly) and behaves with impersonality (i.e., treats all clients impartially). They govern modern states.
patronage (spoils system)
Jobs, promotions or contracts given for political reasons rather than for merit or competence alone. Used by political machines
merit system or principle
the idea that hiring should be based on entrance exams and performance ratings to produce administration by people with talent and skill
civil service
system of hiring and promotion based on the merit principle and the desire to create a nonpartisan government service
Pendleton Civil Service Act of 1883
1883 act that created a federal civil service so that hiring and promotion would be based on merit rather than patronage
Civil Service Reform Act of 1978
accomplished reform of the civil service system, replacing the Civil Service System with the Office of Personal Management (OPM)., creating the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) to hear and decide cases involving personnel actions and establishing the Senior Executive Service (SES) for the corps of senior federal executives who serve just below political appointees.
Hatch Act
A federal law prohibiting government employees from active participation in partisan politics.
Office of Personnel Management (OPM)
Office in charge of hiring foremost agencies of the federal government, using elaborate rules in the process.
independent regulatory agency or commission
a government agency responsible for some sector of the economy, making and enforcing rules to protect public interest. It also judges disputes over these rules.
a characteristic of independent regulatory agencies that gives them judicial power to interpret regulations they create and sometimes sanction those who are not in compliance.
a characteristic of independent regulatory agencies that gives them legislative-like power to issue regulations.
government corporation
a government that, like business corporations, provides a service that could be provided by the private sector and typically charges for its services. The USPS is an example.
independent executive agency
Agencies of the bureaucracy other than cabinet departments, independent commissions and government corporations. Their administrators are typically appointed by the president and serve at his pleasure. NASA is an example.
policy implementation
the stage of policy making between establishment (or adoption) of a policy and the consequences of the policy for the people whom it affects. It involves translating the goals and objectives of a policy into an operating ongoing program
administrative discretion
The authority of administrative actors to select among various responses to a given problem.
The use of government authority to control or change some practice in the private sector. They pervade the daily lives of people and institutions.
The lifting of restrictions on business, industry, and professional activities for which government rules had been established and that bureaucracies had been created to administer.
executive orders
Regulations originating from the executive branch. One method presidents can use to control the bureaucracy.
iron triangles
Entities composed of agencies, interest groups, and congressional committees or subcommittees, which have dominated some areas of domestic policy making. They are characterized by mutual dependency, in which each element provides key services, information or policy for the others.
issue network
the loose and informal relationship that exists among the large number of actors who work in broad policy areas
red tape
used to describe the difficulty it takes to get answers from bureaucratic agencies.
key policy document allocating taxes (burdens) and expenditures (benefits), or a sereis of goals with price tags attached
government spending
the financial resources of the government
authorization bill
act of Congress that establishes, continues or changes a discretionary government program or entitlement
appropriations bill
act of Congress that funds programs within limits set by authorization bills
budget deficit
occurs when expenditures exceed revenues for a fiscal year
federal debt
all of the money borrowed by the federal government over the years that still needs to be paid back. (Mostly run-up by borrowing during the 1980s)
continuing resolution
laws passed by Congress that allow departments and agencies to spend at the previous year’s level when Congress fails to meet its own timetable.
policies for which Congress has obligated the federal government to pay a certain level of benefits to all recipients who qualify. (Ex. Social Security, Medicare, agriculture subsidies, veterans aid)
uncontrollable expenditures
expenditures that are determined not by a fixed amount of money appropriated by Congress but by how many eligible beneficiaries there are for a program (ex. Social security) or by previous obligation of the government (ex. national debt).
progressive tax system
one where those with more income not only pay more taxes on their income, but also higher rates of taxes.
House Ways and Means and Senate Finance Committees
writes the tax laws
Appropriations Committees
decide who gets what in each house.
Governmental Accountability Office
on behalf of Congress, audits, monitors and evaluates what agencies are doing with their budgets
military industrial complex
the close relationship between government defense officials and the corporations that supply their hardware needs.
fiscal policy
the deliberate use of the federal government’s taxing and spending policies to influence the overall operation of the economy and maintain economic stability.
monetary policy
distinguished from fiscal policy — a form of government regulation in which the nation’s money supply and interest rates are controlled.