Why Is the Federal Government Considered a Bureaucracy?

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The federal government of the United States classifies as a bureaucracy because of its structure, which includes a number of cabinets and departments that perform distinct but interrelated roles. The different departments within the federal government perform unique tasks, such as overseeing financial matters and economic activities in the United States.

The United States federal government contains many different agencies, cabinets and departments, as many as 2,000, according to estimates. These groups perform special functions, but share numerous overlapping duties. They operate primarily at the national level, but many have subsidiary or satellite agencies at the state and local levels to alleviate the burdens of operation. Although the federal government contains many different agencies, the agencies fall under the direction of two primary leaders: Congress and the President. Of the two, Congress has more direct engagement with the agencies. Congress has the power to make and disband the agencies, while the President has that responsibility for only a handful of departments.

The four types of bureaucratic structures take the form of cabinets, independent agencies, regulatory commissions and corporations. Each type contains a unique structure and hierarchy. The 15 cabinets, for instance, contain heads called secretaries. Members assist secretaries by performing specific tasks, and help agencies carry out policies and programs.