Researcher and Writer in Washington, DC

The Legislative Branch’s Big Oversight Problem

Congressional Oversight

The federal government has seen a century of growth. In 1915, the government had only a handful of departments, 400,000 employees (half of whom worked for the Post Office) and a total budget that, even when adjusted to 2009 dollars, amounted to just $11.7 billion.

Today, there are perhaps 180 federal agencies, although as Wayne Crews points out, nobody is entirely certain. The federal government employs 4.1 million civilian and military employees. Annual spending is about $3.9 trillion per year and growing.

But it’s not just the size of the federal budget and workforce that are expanding. Government policy has encroached into many more areas of life. There was little environmental protection policy in 1915, nor were there social welfare safety nets like Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security or Temporary Assistance to Needy Families.… (Read more at Public Administration Times)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Similar posts
  • The Estranged Legislative and Executi... Hugh Heclo’s A Government of Strangers, published 40 years ago, described the very different worlds of high-level federal appointees and the civil-servant worker bees they purportedly manage. Today that sort of estrangement has spread beyond agencies to the first and second branches of government, with toxic results. Government Disservice: Overcoming Washington Dysfunction to Improve Congressional [...]
  • Bridging the Separation of Powers in ... The separation of powers is a hallmark of democratic systems. Power is divided among different branches or units of government. The legislature legislates, the executive executes and the judiciary judges…. Separation of powers is a concept that cropped up in response to 17th century concerns about absolutist government. Thomas Hobbes argued that citizens had to obey [...]
  • Making Oversight Win-Win Mere mention of the word “oversight” can make a public administrator queasy. It’s not because bureaucracies inevitably have something tawdry or corrupt to hide. Indeed, government agencies often have much to crow about. Keeping the trains moving every day is an achievement, especially as legislatures layer multiple, often-conflicting duties upon those charged with execution. Administrators [...]