Chapter 9 Free Response Questions

  1. Journalists have developed the iron triangle concept to describe certain external influences on agency behavior. The accuracy of this description, however, is subject to criticism. First, define the meaning of the iron triangle and discuss how it operates. Second, devise an argument based on the information in the text challenging the validity of the iron triangle.

      ▪ Iron triangles are the relatively stable relationships and patterns of interaction that occur among agencies, interest groups, and congressional committees or subcommittees.

        a.   The committees are responsible for funding and supervising government programs and operations.

        b. Federal agencies are responsible for regulating the industries affected by committees.

        c. Interest groups seek benefit from these affected operations and programs.

      ▪ Members of the iron triangle, in efforts to strengthen the power of their own organizations, can disregard the needs of the general public.

  a. i.e. In trying to please their constituency (interest groups), agencies focus on the needs of only a portion of the actual consumers of their services.

  2. All presidents complain about their inability to control the bureaucracy. Are these complaints justified? Discuss the problems a president encounters in obtaining bureaucratic cooperation. Be sure to point out the causes of these problems.

      ▪ As the bureaucracy has been growing, presidents have delegated more and more power to bureaucrats; this has caused them problems when they try to continue to exercise control of the bureaucracy.

      ▪ Bureaucrats derive power from the citizens; if the president acts in opposition to the consumers’ interests, the general public and the bureaucrats that serve it has the power to override his/her decision.

      ▪ The bureaucracy isn’t in Washington, D.C. with the president, weakening his/her power and...