For the last three class periods in our Public Administration class, we have discussed in depth the importance of how politics and political factions play a key role in the creation of public policy. Unfortunately, in America, our public administrators are no longer strong enough to have texture or defeat our vastly expanding federal government. The U. S federal government has grown out of control where changes in public policy are more difficult to make than ever before. Furthermore, the government now owns financial institutions, a larger percentage of automakers and airline corporations in addition to; soon to be, healthcare.
Ownership of all these entities only inspires the federal government to grow even larger and more complex. Is this growth due to socialism in our public administration and public policy? In this short analysis, I will provide one example of our government expanding out of control, abusing its power, and growing more complex. The Obama Administration has lately formed or heavily supported financially several “Task Forces” and other various committees that are made up of certain congressional members or outside agencies.
These committees or internal organizations are paid for by millions, if not billions in tax payer dollars but have little or no oversight. The committees and task forces are operating separately from the public agencies that are already in place to solve state and local level problems. Additionally, many of these committees are intervening in state government and local city government business at the tax payer’s expense. In areas such as the Midwest, economic downturn and population decline in major cities has sparked political interest within the Obama Administration.
President Obama has ordered congress to appropriate special committees to find the answers to these economic downturns. There are 18 states that this special committee is seeking to understand and supposedly improve through the use of federal funding. The particular committee to be discussed basically overrides the decisions of the state and local authorities and presses their legislation on public policy to have more control over state and local governments.
One more disturbing fact; even if you do not live in these states or areas, you are essentially paying taxes on a federal program that will tell the state or local governments how to invest in their own cities. The big question and concern is; why do we have a political environment that allows the federal government to form committees to tell state and local level government what they should be doing in the first place? One such committee that is heavily supported by the Obama Administration is called the “Revitalizing Older Cities Congressional Task Force”.
The task force is growing but is currently comprised of 22 congressional members, consisting of over 80 percent Democrats. The task force was created to rejuvenate communities impacted by economic decline and population loss. The committee was ultimately formed by the Northeast-Midwest Congressional Coalition and uses federal policy to “influence” economic success within these communities. The congressional advisory teams formed from this committee focus on policy analysis and enhancement recommendations in six areas to “inspire” older city revitalization.
The key areas this task force focuses on are transportation, infrastructure, housing, energy and environment, economic and workforce development and healthy livable communities. These key areas that the task force researches and supposedly supports are already obvious topics of concern for state and local governments. For instance, the state of Michigan already has a Department of Transportation, Department of Housing, Department of Economic Development and other inner state government agencies that are paid for by tax dollars to support these same areas of concern.
Furthermore, most city and local governments have even smaller versions of these departments that are paid for by community tax dollars to address issues such as workforce development, infrastructure and energy. According to the Northeast-Midwest Institutes website, the federal government appropriated in the neighborhood of 2 billion dollars to start the Revitalizing Older Cities Congressional Task Force and pay for the institutes staffing (http://www. nemw. org/).
The amount of money spent on this committee to be just a separate “government watch dog” is just one example of waste, abuse of power and unnecessary expansions within our federal government. Unfortunately, there are a ton of explanations, theories and reasons for this federal government expansion that would feed the need to create “ultimate control” committees such as the Revitalizing Older Cities Congressional Task Force; that have such a strong voice in state and local government affairs.
I personally attribute this unnecessary oversight and government expansion due to the rise of socialism in public administration. The socialistic nature of our current political environment is using issues such as economic downturn and population movements as an excuse to have more control over state and local government affairs. As future public administrators and managers, we need to honestly address our political environment to be able to further incorporate policies that will eradicate these types of federally appointed committees from existing.
Furthermore, as tax payers in a democratic society, we need to use our voting rights and elect public administrators that are against appropriations for such committees, who abuse their power, to allow state and local governments to operate separately from the federal government to address their own internal interests. References Northeast-Midwest Institute Website (2009). Revitalizing Older Cities Congressional Task Force. Accessed on February 1st, 2010 from http://www. nemw. org/index. php? option=com_content&view=article&id=30&Itemid=18.