This topic contains 10 replies, has 11 voices, and was last updated by  Ashley Castello 1 year, 1 month ago.

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    Learning Objective: Explain the function of the executive branch.

    1. Presidential Power
    2. Executive Orders
    3. Administrative Agencies, Part 1
    4. Federal Regulatory Agencies
    5. The Expanding Executive Branch

    Answer the question:

      In your opinion, has the Executive Branch grown too large since 2000? Why or why not?

    Ken Martin

    Well, if my math is correct, from 1810 to 2010, the US population has grown 36.6 times, we are twice as large area-wise and the population density has increased 18.5 times. In that same period the Executive Branch has grown 1537 times in size. It would be interesting to see the size of the Executive branch before the “New Deal”? The size of government increased significantly during that time. It also saw just prior, anti trust laws and government oversight of industry and agriculture.

    The world is not the same and never will be. Whether too large or too small it depends on how efficiently it can be run. The numbers may be misleading too. The Department of Defense falls under the Executive Branch and carries over 2 million employees. Take those away and you have the remainder running the entirety of the country. Is that enough?

    Currently I do not have an opinion of whether it is too large or too small. As long as the job gets done and there isn’t a pandemic, China Syndrome, World War, genocide or eugenic rhetoric.

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 2 months ago by  Ken Martin. Reason: grammer

    Jen Loving

    As the population and needs of people increase so should the departments. Everything that starts off small, if successful, grows. For example, when HFA was founded did its founders have the same amount of staff and departments as it does 25 years later? As times change and advancements are made then departments must adjust or better yet anticipate the changes needed before they happen…unfortunately the growth usually comes first and then the lack of capacity can’t meet the need of that growth so more staff is hired or new departments are created to deal with that specific growth. I’m not entirely sure if the EB is too big just yet.


    Natalie Parker

    In recent years, the power of the President has strengthened, with responsibilities that were formerly held with local and state governments and the Legislative Branch being subsumed by the Executive Branch.

    One example of such is President Trump鈥檚 recent use of the Executive Order to appropriate federal funds to build a border barrier along the Southern border of the U.S.

    To examine whether the Executive Branch overall is too large, I think we should look to see whether it鈥檚 size has grown relative to the other branches of government and then whether state and local governments have also grown relative to the populations that they govern. Ken is correct that the population of the U.S. has grown significantly since the founding of our nation, and so obviously have the number of government administrators. The excerpt below is from the 2012 Census of Governments released by the US Census Bureau. As a note, the next survey will be released later in 2019, according to the Census Bureau.

    鈥淚n March 2012, federal, state, and local governments employed 22.0 million people. This is a decrease of 75,913 employees from the last Census of Governments conducted in 2007. The number of state government employees increased by 85,755, or 1.6 percent. Local governments employed 224,354 fewer people, or 1.6 percent, while federal employment increased by 62,686 employees, or 2.3 percent.鈥

    The federal government has indeed expanded the services it offers, but arguments continue about privatization and what government services could possibly be delivered more efficiently via the private sector. Ultimately, I believe many powers of the Executive Branch should be shifted back to state and local governments with the Legislative Branch taking a stronger role in execution.


    Steve Spears

    Due to the size and complexity of the programs of the federal government, I don’t believe that the Executive Branch has grown too large.


    Viviana Gonz谩lez

    I don’t think the Executive Branch is necessarily too large given the complexity of the matters that each department manages. However, what concerns me the most about the powers of the Executive Branch is the use of Executive Orders to legislate. I can see how the President will have to step in when Congress has not decided on a particular issue, but the use of Executive Orders can also be detrimental to laws that Congress has passed and sets up a much more unstable regulatory environment.


    Krista Davidson

    I think compared to what the framers of the constitution originally intended, the executive branch has increased significantly. It has grown to meet the needs of each President and the people in the country at the time, growing to what it is today. Our framers didn’t specify the number of offices and staff a President could have, leaving the door wide open for the agencies, committees, and boards we have today. I don’t think this is a bad thing.


    Michael Wile

    Yes the Executive branch has grown too large since 2000. There has been an exponential rise in Presidential power ever since George Washington was elected in 1789. As time goes on, the slope of the curve increases such that it has been growing unbounded since 2000. The reasons for the growth of the Executive branch are many. To begin with American culture idolizes the individual and creates heroes which embolden Presidents and Governors. Once a President has set a precedent by issuing a new executive order then subsequent Presidents can reference back to this order, and not only repeat them, but add new ones. Furthermore, the size of the executive branch is also growing exponentially since 2000. For example the huge increase of executive agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Trade Commision, the Federal Reserve, workplace safety, national park management, college sports regulation etc. The heads of these agencies are appointed and can be fired by the President and they can make executive orders with the force of law. The sheer speed of American life favors having one decision maker. Emergencies and attacks are much quicker and they require faster responses. The growth of executive power has changed politics into war. Congress is so polarized that they are willing to write the President a blank check when the President is a member of their party. When they are from different parties and gridlock occurs, the President can issue executive orders and Congress files a lawsuit rather then directly arguing over the constitutionality of the executive order.


    Michelle Fernandez

    i do think the executive branch has grown too large. But I don’t think there is anyway around it. Our Government has grown based on the population. The federal departments that have evolved has grown in numbers. The things we concern ourselves with has defiantly increased. Where common sense and moral compass were rules to live by, we live in a world where everything has to be in writing or governed over. We need a department for clean air, water quality, transportation on ground and in air. All of which weren’t needed before so new departments, agencies or bureaus needed to be formed as we advanced.
    But with the growth and changes happening so quickly I believe a lot of power shifted unnecessarily. Laws that were passed on the legislative side left gaps and details to be filled in by the executive side so they assumed the power of them. I agree with Natalie when she said A lot of that power needs to go back to the state or local government.


    Larry West

    I don’t believe the size of the executive branch in any way should be correlated to the size of our population. It’s more about the extent of its influence and control over society. In this sense it has grown way to large and pervasive. Over the years the states have lost more and more of their individual power. There is far too much federal regulation and too much dependence on federal regulation by the states.


    Ashley Castello

    I do not think that the executive branch has grown too large. I do agree with Viviana in being concerned about the use of executive orders to govern.

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