Bring Back the Bureaucrats

Why More Federal Workers Will Lead To Better (And Smaller!) Government

John J. DiIulio Jr.

With E. J. Dionne Charles Murray

In Bring Back the Bureaucrats, John J. DiIulio Jr., one of America’s most respected political scientists and an adviser to presidents in both parties, summons the facts and statistics to show us how America’s big government actually works and why reforms that include adding a million more people to the federal workforce by 2035 might actually help to slow government’s growth while improving its performance.

Starting from the underreported reality that the size of the federal workforce hasn’t increased since the early 1960s even though the federal budget has skyrocketed and the number of federal programs has ballooned, Bring Back the Bureaucrats tells us what our elected leaders won’t: there simply are not enough federal workers to do work that’s critical to our democracy.

Government in America, DiIulio reveals, is Leviathan by Proxy, a grotesque form of debt-financed big government that guarantees bad government:

  • Washington relies on state and local governments, for-profit firms, and nonprofit organizations to implement federal policies and programs. Big-city mayors, defense industry contractors, nonprofit executives and other federal proxies lobby incessantly for more federal spending.
  • The proxy system chokes on chores as distinct as cleaning up toxic waste sites, caring for hospitalized veterans, collecting taxes, handling plutonium, and policing more than $100 billion a year in “improper payments.”
  • The lack of enough competent, well-trained federal civil servants figured in the failed federal response to Hurricane Katrina and in the troubled launch of Obamacare “health exchanges.”

Bring Back the Bureaucrats is further distinguished by the presence of E. J. Dionne Jr. and Charles Murray, two of the most astute voices from the political left and right, respectively, who offer their candid responses to DiIulio at the end of the book.

 

Bring Back the Bureaucrats is part of the New Threats to Freedom Series, which you can learn more about at newthreatstofreedom.com.

Acknowledgments / ix

Introduction / 3

Part 1: Bring Back the Bureaucrats
by John J. DiIulio Jr.

1: Leviathan by Proxy / 13

2: Big Brother Is Outsourcing: Leveraged, Not Limited, Government / 29

3: The Federal Workforce Is Overloaded, Not Bloated / 55

4: If We Knew Then What We Know Now / 79

5: More Federal Bureaucrats, Less Big/Bad Government / 91

Part 2: Dissenting Points of View

6: The Government We Need for the Things We Want 
by E. J. Dionne Jr. / 115

7: No Cure for the Sclerotic State
by Charles Murray / 123

Epilogue: Reply to E. J. Dionne Jr. and Charles Murray by John J. DiIulio, Jr. / 131

Notes / 143

About the Contributors / 167

John DiIulio’s freestyle mix of ideas from left and right performs this service beautifully. He focuses on questions that most elected officials are reluctant, even petrified, to talk much about.

E.J. Dionne

John DiIulio has handed up the first half of the indictment. The federal Leviathan by Proxy is every bit as dysfunctional as he portrayed it.

Charles Murray

The Washington Post-February 16, 2015

"Everyone should be upset with the problem DiIulio describes — both those who prioritize limited government and those who prioritize effective government.

The responses to 'Leviathan by proxy' will differ according to ideology. But any serious political movement on the right or left must now be a government reform movement.”

Michael Gerson

The American Prospect- July 12, 2015

"DiIulio highlights the inadequacies and opacity of proxy government to make a counterintuitively conservative argument for adding a million new full-time civil servants to the federal ranks.

DiIulio’s analysis meshes well with a growing and pan-ideological scholarly literature on the modern American state that emphasizes its 'hidden,' 'delegated,' 'submerged,' 'extended,' and 'divided' qualities. Making government and its employees at once more visible and accountable is a reform agenda implicit in much of this work."

Sam Rosenfeld and Jake Rosenfeld

National Review-October 20, 2014

"Reform is absolutely necessary, and DiIulio deserves credit for admitting that it may be impossible without more resources.”

Patrick Brennan

The London School of Economics and Political Science- November 10th, 2015

"In Bring Back the Bureaucrats, John J. Dilulio Jr. concisely and passionately outlines the dangers of Big Government by stealth in the USA as bureaucratic tasks become increasingly outsourced to proxies including charities, business contractors and local government.

John Dilulio’s argument, and the ‘blizzard of facts’ that he marshals to support it, resonate powerfully…

Dilulio argues passionately that while governments of all political colours like to claim, as Bill Clinton did in 1996, that ‘the era of big government is over’, in fact they are simply displacing the tasks formerly carried out by federal government employees onto more expensive, less effective and less controllable ‘proxies’, such as charities, business contractors and local government. The result is Leviathan by Proxy: a federal government that is ‘at once hyperactive and anemic, overgrown and understaffed.'

At just 142 pages, and with plenty of passion and colourful phrases, Bring Back the Bureaucrats could easily be read over a weekend by the average over-stretched bureaucrat. It is not an academic book, but is full of clearly presented and pertinent facts that would provide a useful starting point for discussion for university students."

Ruth Garland