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a large, complex organization consisting of appointed officials.

Red tape

complex bureaucratic rules and procedures that must be followed to get something done.

Issue Network

a network of people in Washington-based interest groups, on Congressional staffs, in universities and think tanks, and in the mass media who regularly discuss and advocate public policies (i.e. health care or auto safety)

Iron Triangle

close relationship between an agency, a congressional committee, and an interest group that often becomes a mutually beneficial alliance.

Name Request Job

a job to be filled by a person whom a government agency has identified by name.

Competitive Service

the government offices to which people are appointed on the grounds of merit as ascertained by a written examination or by the having met certain selection criteria (such as training, educational attainments, or prior experiences).

Discretionary Authority

the extent to which appointed bureaucrats can choose course of action and make policies that are NOT spelled out in advance by laws.


an economic theory that government should NOT regulate or interfere with commerce.

Spoils System

another phrase for political patronage—that is, the practice of giving the fruits of a party's victory, such as jobs and contracts, to the loyal members of that party.


the process of selling businesses or services operated by the government to individual investors, and then allowing them to compete in the marketplace

Pendleton Civil Service Act

(1883): Did away with the "spoils system" and made the hiring of federal employees merit based.


A rule or order issued by an executive authority or regulatory agency of a government and having the force of law


the policy of reducing or eliminating regulatory restraints on the conduct of individuals or private institutions

Hatch Act

Federal statute barring federal employees from active participation in certain kinds of politics and protecting them from being fired on partisan grounds.

Independent Agencies

agencies in the executive branch of the federal government formed by Congress to help enforce laws and regulations not covered by the executive departments

quasi-judicial power

May hold trials and hearings
Cannot hold criminal trials, impose criminal sanctions, or hold someone in contempt

quasi-legislative power

authority to adopt rules and regulations

quasi-executive power

authority to enforce rules and regulations


better known as reiventing government, the plan introduced by President Clinton and Vice President Gore that called for reducing the federal work force by 12%, updating information systems, eliminating wasteful programs and procedures and cutting red tape

Whistleblower protection act

A law passed in 1989 which created an Office of Special Counsel to investigate complaints from bureaucrats claiming they were punished after reporting to Congress about waste, fraud, or abuse in their agencies.

Freedom of Information Act

1966 Act allowing citizens to inspect all government records with the exception of classified military or intelligence documents, trade secrets or private personnel files.

Government Corporation

A government agency that operates like a business corporation, created to secure greater freedom of action and flexibility for a particular program.


Office of Personnel Management; advertises for employees, examines those who apply, and keeps registers, lists of those applicants who pass its test and are qualified for employment

Senior Executive Service

Established by Congress in 1978 as a flexible, mobile corps of senior career executives who work closely with presidential appointees to manage government.


A quasi-legislative administrative process that produces regulations by government agencies

regulatory agencies

departments, bureaus, or independent agencies whose primary mission is to impose limits, restrictions, or other obligations on the conduct of individuals or companies in the private sector

Federal Reserve Board

A seven-member board that sets member banks reserve requirements, controls the discount rate, and makes other economic decisions.

Social Welfare Programs

Programs which helped insure a minimum standard of living. Programs were unemployment, accident and health insurance, and the social security system


Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. A 1996 national act that abolished the longtime welfare policy, AFDC (Aid for Families with Dependent Children) TANF gives the states much more control over welfare policy

Earned Income Tax Credit

a "negative income tax" that provides income to very poor individuals in lieu of charging them federal income taxes

Assistance Programs

a government program financed by general income taxes that provides benefits to poor citizens without requiring contributions from them.

Service Strategy

a policy providing poor people with education and job training to help lift them out of poverty.

Income Strategy

A policy giving poor people money to help lift them out of poverty.


Aid to Families with Dependent Children; states matched federal funds, created a means testl congress set time limits on public assistance

Social security act of 1935

created pension and insurance for the old-aged, the blind, the physically handicapped, delinquent children, and other dependents by taxing employees and employers

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