Response To Jordan

Response To Jordan

Unfortunately, public administration is intertwined with politics and the idea of federalism. “The two have had a reciprocal effect on one another. The administration of national government programs requires recognition of, and accommodation to, the existence, prerogatives, and preferences of states and localities…at the same time, the growth of bureaucracy…has helped to reshape the federal system” (Milakovich & Gordon, 2013, p.100). They have huge impacts on one another that can affect the foundation of their existence and what type of mission public administration and politics have moving forward. It is therefore very easy for politics to have a significant negative impact on public administration. “Another important dimension of administrative organization is the political setting in which agencies operate; at the same time, structural arrangements can have significant political implications for administrative agencies” (Milakovich & Gordon, 2013, p.24). The adverse effect that politics can have on public administration can be seen in the elections of several presidents.

        Many politicians have successfully run against the bureaucracy, demanding changes and promising to clean up bureaucracy in Washington.  “Many politicians have run successfully “against” the bureaucracy: In 1976, Jimmy Carter promised to “clean up the bureaucratic mess in Washington”; in 1980, Ronald Reagan promised to “get the federal government off your backs”; in 1996, Bill Clinton declared prematurely that “the era of Big Government is over” (Milakovich & Gordon, 2013, p.5).  The idea of bureaucracy being in turmoil is the opinion of one person and temporary, as the maximum a person can hold the position of president is 8 years.  That being said, public administration has the potential to be in a constant position of change, varying with each presidential term.  Politicians are consistently criticizing bureaucracy as they are attempting to find scapegoats for governmental issues and demanding reform. 

        Current administrative practices reflect this idea of intertwining politics and public administration because most presidential platforms depend on this relationship.  Presidents need the bureaucracy to achieve certain goals and after promising to reform public administration within Washington, they almost completely rely on it to meet political missions.  “Chief executives at all levels of government are elected by making similar promises and increasing bureaucracy to achieve them; ultimately, they are judged by the voters on their ability to fulfill those promises” (Milakovich & Gordon, 2013, p.5).  President Barack Obama almost entirely relied on the bureaucracy to achieve most of his economic and job growth goals.

Charles Goodsell is a scholar that discusses public administration in depth, claiming most public administrations have not earned the criticism they receive. “The essence of his argument is that, despite shortcomings inevitably found in all complex organizations, America’s government bureaucracies perform quite well” (Milakovich & Gordon, 2013, p.10). James Q. Wilson is a second scholar that introduces the idea of clientelism, referring to the relationship between each government agency and the pattern in relation to economic groupings. He referred to another scholar’s work, during his studies as well. “Richard L. Schott, who noted that ‘whereas earlier departments had been formed around specialized governmental functions…the new departments of this period – Agriculture, Labor, and Commerce – were devoted to the interests and aspirations of particular economic groups’” (Milakovich & Gordon, 2013, pp. 31-32). Frank Goodnow also made huge strides for the study of public administration with the publishing of his book Politics and Administration in 1900 and introduced the idea of politics-administration dichotomy based largely on the writings of Woodrow Wilson (Milakovich & Gordon, 2013). F.W Willoughby, author of Principles of Public Administration (1927), and joint authors of Papers on the Science of Administration (1937) Luther Gulick and Lyndall Urwick discussed the vital idea of discovering fundamental principles within public administration. This idea “was based on the believe that there existed certain permanent principles of administration that, if they could only be discovered and applied, could transform the performance of administrative tasks” (Milakovich & Gordon, 2013, p.40).

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