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Discussion question options:
One of the goals of the Trump Administration has been to reduce the size of the Federal Bureaucracy and the Federal Workforce. The Administration has imposed hiring freezes and has often elected to not replace civil servants who have retired or left for the private sector. In your view is this a good approach to managing government? Why or why not? What are the benefits of reducing the size of the federal workforce? What are the potential drawbacks of having fewer (and less expert) civil servants in office? Does the benefit outweigh the costs? [You may wish to think about the 5th Risk reading or the Covid crisis].
According to Michael Lewis’s The 5th Risk, bureaucracies are staffed by experts whose mission is to manage long term policy programs and prevent unlikely but serious policy problems. The politicians who control the bureaucracy (Presidents and Congress) are elected, and have short term incentives to win re-election. What challenges does this create for the funding and maintenance of programs meant to prevent crises? In your view, what reforms or educational initiatives (if any) would you recommend to help elected officials and the public understand the need for expert bureaucrats?