Bureaucracy: A Good Thing (New York Times Letter to the Editor)

Originally published October 17, 2016 in The New York Times

Having worked as a civil servant in the State Department, I cannot thank Paul R. Verkuil enough for his Oct. 3 Op-Ed article, “The Case for Bureaucracy.”
As with any large organization, there is definitely room for prudent reform. But “bureaucracy” has become a straw man for any issues Americans see in their government, especially congressional roadblocks.
Given the scale and complexity of the services Americans take for granted from their government, professional, nonpartisan civil servants do a pretty good job.
Bureaucracy is the institutionalization of national interests, whether it’s ensuring a secure retirement through Social Security or providing for national security through the State Department, Pentagon and other agencies. As the world grows more complex, our interests as a nation will also grow, requiring more expert support across administrations.
Donald Trump wants to “make America great again.” He and others in his party should start by taking a close look at the indispensable role civil servants play in making America great every day.


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