Holding Government Bureaucracies Accountable

By Bernard Rosen | Go to book overview

9 In Retrospect
Government bureaucracies are out of control! In thousands of forums, on television and radio, in news stories and debates, that charge is made and repeated throughout the country. The occasion that prompts the charge may be:
--a notorious instance of waste, fraud, incompetence, or arrogance;
--a proper discretionary judgment, opposed by some groups and supported by others;
--an agency action that conflicts with the chief executive's philosophy, but reflects the independent judgment required by law;
--general reaction to the cost of government; and/or
--a part of the molding of public opinion that flows from the rhetoric of a politician running for office and using criticism of the bureaucracy as an issue on which voters can coalesce.

Regardless of the cause, the charge strikes a deep and politically rewarding chord among people who believe in freedom, but whose individual lives are regulated in many ways and whose earnings pay for vast bureaucracies at the national, state, and local levels.

If a government bureaucracy is out of control, clearly it is not for any lack of means for holding it accountable. The preceding chapters identified an awesome armada of policies, mechanisms, and processes for overseeing government bureaucracies and causing those that do not act in the public interest to change course. There is a great deal of redundancy, more than

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