MMPP 6280:Week 7: The “Fourth” Branch of Government: The Bureaucracy Essay Assignment Paper

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MMPP 6280:Week 7: The “Fourth” Branch of Government: The Bureaucracy Essay Assignment Paper

MMPP 6280: Policy and Politics in American Institutions | Week 7

If asked how many times the words “bureaucracy” or “administration” appear in the U.S. Constitution, what would be your answer? The answer is none! Neither word is found in any of the drafts of the U.S. Constitution. How can this be possible? After all, how can government possibly function without the administrative state? Is it possible that the Framers of the Constitution simply overlooked these important elements?

This week you explore the “fourth” branch of government, bureaucracy, and its impact on public policy.

Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • Evaluate the impact of the growth of federal bureaucracy on the administrative state
  • Analyze public oversight of administrative agencies
  • Evaluate government oversight of the administrative state
  • Evaluate U.S. federal bureaucracy

Learning Resources

Note: To access this week’s required library resources, please click on the link to the Course Readings List, found in the Course Materials section of your Syllabus.

Required Readings

Shafritz, J. M., Lane, K. S., & Borick, C. P. (Eds.). (2005). Classics of public policy. New York, NY: Pearson Education.

  • Chapter 2, “Public Policymaking”
    • Street-Level Bureaucrats as Policy Makers (1980) (pp. 51–61)

Gedid, J. (2013). Administrative procedure for the twenty-first century: An introduction to the 2010 Model State Administrative Procedure Act. St. Mary’s Law Journal, 44(1), 241–280.

Moynihan, D. P. (2004). Protection versus flexibility: The Civil Service Reform Act, competing administrative doctrines, and the roots of contemporary public management debate. Journal of Policy History, 16(1), 1–33.

Türk, A. H. (2013). Oversight of administrative rulemaking: Judicial review. European Law Journal, 19(1), 126–142. doi:10.1111/eulj.12017

Wilson, J. Q. (2012, Spring). The bureaucracy problem. National Affairs, 11, 145–152.

Even though neither word, “bureaucracy” nor “administration,” appear in the text of the U.S. Constitution, it is precisely these two elements that make it possible for the Constitution to exist. Without the bureaucracy or the administrative state, Congress would be unable to “lay or collect taxes on income” as per the 16th Amendment; nor would the constitutional protection of “due process” be afforded to every citizen. Nor would any of the rights and privileges that the Constitution provides be protected without the existence of the bureaucracy and the administrative state.

For this Discussion, consider the influence of the bureaucracy in contemporary American government.

By Day 3

Post your perspective on whether the growth of federal bureaucracy is a necessary condition for the functioning of the administrative state. Explain why and provide an example to illustrate your points. Then, explain what you might add to Wilson’s view on “The Bureaucracy Problem,” and defend your suggestions.

Note: If you reside outside of the United States, address the Discussion through the lens of bureaucracy in your own country or region.

Be sure to support your postings and responses with specific references to the Learning Resources.

Read a selection of your colleagues’ postings.

By Day 5

Respond to at least two of your colleagues’ postings in one or more of the following ways:

  • Ask a probing question.
  • Share an insight from having read your colleague’s posting.
  • Offer and support an opinion.
  • Validate an idea with your own experience.
  • Make a suggestion.
  • Expand on your colleague’s posting.


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