Our Wonderland of Bureaucracy: A Study of the Growth of Bureaucracy in the Federal Government, and Its Destructive Effect upon the Constitution

By James M. Beck | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER VI
THE MUSHROOM GROWTH OF BUREAUCRACY

"How doth the little crocodile Improve his shining tail, And pour the waters of the Nile On every golden scale!

"How cheerfully he seems to grin, How neatly spreads his claws, And welcomes little fishes in With gently smiling jaws!"

--ALICE IN WONDERLAND.

BUREAUCRACY within bounds, both in number of members and in control by law, is essential in any form of government. We live in an age of specialized work. There is no necessary evil implication in the word "bureau." They are obviously essential to enable the government to function within the limits of its constitutional powers. Our nation has assuredly not underestimated this necessity. The tax-payers are directly or indirectly supporting at least ten million people in the government, federal, state and municipal, or one twelfth of the population of the country, and as many of them exercise large discretionary powers, bureaucracy has become a real menace to the welfare of the nation. Many of the federal bureaus have no justification in any grant of power and are fast making the Constitution a mere rhapsody of words.

Thomas Jefferson on reaching New York City, then the seat of government, to accept his appointment as our first Secretary of State, found that in the act of September 11, 1789, 1 Stat. 67, 68, Congress had provided:

"That there shall be allowed to the officers hereinafter mentioned, the following annual salaries, payable quarterly at the Treasury of the United States: to the Secretary of the Treasury, three thousand five hundred dollars; to the Secretary in the Department of War, three thousand dollars; (b) to the Comptroller of the

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