What Is Federal Bureaucracy?

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Federal bureaucracy refers to the organization of government offices that implement public policy. Highly complex societies require federal bureaucracy to manage public programs and ensure the enforcement of legislation. The bureaucracy controls everything from collecting tax revenue, to monitoring public safety programs and regulating the economy.

The federal bureaucracy is made up of cabinets, independent executive agencies, independent regulatory agencies and governmental organizations. These areas are then further divided into bureaus, divisions and sections. Sometimes the federal bureaucratic initiatives have counterparts on the state and local level that they work with in order to manage public policy. The federal bureaucracy is estimated to have more than 2,000 agencies, departments and commissions. Individuals that work in these areas are not elected by the popular vote. They are appointed to their positions based largely upon merit, experience and expertise in a particular area. The federal bureaucracy is managed by both the president and Congress. Congress has the power to create or disband any initiative of the bureaucracy. The federal bureaucracy is notorious for having serious organizational problems and wasteful spending. The responsibilities of many departments of the federal bureaucracy overlap, creating problems of chaos within departments with no definitive outline of the policy or who is directly accountable.