Chapter 11. Bureaucracies. Bureaucracies: The Fourth Branch of Government. Bureaucracies: Translating Ideas into Action Bureaucracies exist because translating ideas into actions requires an organization of people and resources dedicated to the task.
The fourth branch is comprised of executive departments, independent establishments, and government corporations. Although the president appears to be in command of the executive departments and other agencies, his actual control is measured by the degree of influence he is able to have on their decisions and programs. Most bureaucrats have civil service status and cannot be dismissed at the president’s discretion. Only a relatively few administrative heads serve “at the pleasure of the president.”
Executive departments vary widely in terms of employees and budgets. Expenditures are not always related to size of staff, as the numbers for the Departments of Defense and Health and Human Services show.
Establishment of regulatory agencies has come in waves or groups as Congress has responded to persistent political demands. The first wave occurred around the turn of the twentieth century and dealt with the unprecedented size and impact of major industrial corporations and with the problems encountered by the buyers and sellers of goods and services. The second, in the 1930s, sprang from the economic dislocation cased by the Great Depression. The third, in the 1960s and 1970s, came in response to demands to remedy inequalities and to protect the environment and the workplace.
Regulatory authority lies in the Constitution, which authorizes Congress to enact and the president to approve the creation of departments and programs. A new piece of legislation appears first as a slip law and then in the U.S. Statutes-at-Large and the U.S. Code. Established by such legislation, agencies issue and enforce regulations. These in turn appear in the Federal Register and later in the Code of Federal Regulations. Regulations may be contested in the courts.