Who Are Americans? Interactive Exercises

Who Are “Bureaucrats”?

Contrary to popular notions of “paper pushers,” the people who work in the federal bureaucracy perform a range of tasks essential to the functioning of American society. Nearly 2 million executive branch employees are involved in protecting the nation’s security, managing the economy, and promoting public welfare through various means including environmental protection and health and safety regulations. Most federal employees work outside the Washington, D.C., area.

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1. Which agency has the most executive branch employees? How many employees does it have?
2. Which agency has the fewest executive branch employees? What percentage of executive branch employees do that agency’s employees represent?
3. Which category of departments and agencies—security, economic, or public welfare—employs the most people? Why do you think this is?
You could work for the federal government. Browse open jobs at jobsearch.usajobs.gov. Type in your state or territory in the “Where” search box, then click on “Search.” How many jobs are currently advertised in your state or territory? Of what agencies are these jobs part? What kinds of jobs are advertised?
5. With 2 million people working for the executive branch, mostly outside the Washington, D.C., area, how can Congress and the president be sure that they are serving the public’s interest? If you were president, would you find this to be an easy or difficult task? Why?

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