Ronald Reagan's America - Vol. 1

By Eric J. Schmertz; Natalie Datlof et al. | Go to book overview

bureaucracy, more astutely applied. They must also come to appreciate that bureaucratic effectiveness sometimes requires investments in capacity building and, most especially, scientific capacity and contract management in today's "contract state." Finally, they must understand that agency accomplishment oftentimes requires more, rather than less, bureaucratic flexibility. Meanwhile, federal careerists and program managers at EPA (as well as other federal agencies) will have to appreciate how the quid pro quo for these resources, flexibility, and empowerment is enhanced performance accountability.

One somewhat-encouraging sign in this direction is President Clinton's signing of the Government Performance and Results Act (S 20), sponsored over many years by, among others, Senator William Roth (R-Del.). The law requires federal agencies, after agency pilot projects, to develop five-year strategic plans with measurable long-term goals, annual performance plans, and annual performance reports. Pilot projects involving performance budgeting would be pursued as well. These would link budget dollars with achievement of specific goals. The question remains, however, over how public agencies will cope with these requirements. Past history with Planning and Performance Budgeting Systems (PPBS), Zero-Based Budgeting (ZBB), and Management-by-Objectives (MBO) is not encouraging. True, there will be less talk of "revolutions" -- Reagan's or anyone else's. Also, there will be less opportunity for the "minuet of democratic illusion" to mesmerize into somnolence or despair an "anomic" citizenry. But, should citizens desiring government effectiveness -- no matter how broad or narrowly defined their vision of government's role is -- come to appreciate these facts, they might also be able to write the coda to this minuet and to begin holding EPA (and other federal agencies) responsible for accomplishment rather than compliance.


NOTES
1.
Larry Bartel, "The Pentagon Budget: Responsiveness and Inertia". A paper presented at the 1992 National Conference of the American Political Science Association, Chicago, Ill., September, 1992.
2.
Terry M. Moe, "The Politics of Bureaucratic Structure", in John E. Chubb and Paul E. Peterson, eds., Can the Government Govern? ( Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution, 1989), pp. 267-329.
3.
Howard E. Shuman, Politics and the Budget: The Struggle between the President and the Congress ( Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 1992).
4.
Michel Crozier, Samuel P. Huntington, and Joji Watanuka, The Crisis of Democracy ( New York: New York University Press, 1975).
5.
William T. Gormley Jr., Taming the Bureaucracy ( Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1989).
6.
Christopher H. Foreman Jr., Signals from the Hill: Congressional Oversight and the Challenge of Social Regulation ( New Haven: Yale University Press, 1988).

-208-

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