Back the Bureaucrats, the author, John J. Dilulio, Jr., a political
scientist and adviser to presidents of both Democrat and Republican parties
refers to the American Government as “Leviathan By Proxy” defining big
government as “grotesque” which guarantees bad government.1 His book reads more like a
Pew Research Project providing statistics and charts to substantiate his
information. He criticizes big government
being unable to name all of the programs it authorizes as well as how these
programs are administered as well as how tax money is distributed for these
In Chapter Four, Dilulio has applied the
question “Do we squarely face up to America’s big government as it really is,
how, if at all, might it prove possible to both shrink and improve Leviathan by
Proxy?” His answer is more federal bureaucrats, less big government and a more
direct public administration, better government.3 I agree with Dilulio that hiring more federal
workers would create a smaller government and reduce the need for outsourcing
therefore reducing government spending. However,
during the Obama Administration the country has seen an increase in social
programs because of illegal immigrants flooding our border. This has placed a burden on our government’s
national debt as well as middle-class taxpayers. An example is Los Angeles, CA
where illegal immigrants receive three dollars in benefits for every dollar
they spend. (Richards 2017). Tori Richards quoting Robert Rector, a
Heritage Foundation senior fellow “the costs of education, police and fire,
medical, and subsidized housing can total $24,000 per year in government
spending per family, much more than would be paid in taxes.”4 In
2015, 58,000 families received a total
of $602 million in benefits; 2016, 64,000 families received $674 million in
benefits and in the first five months of 2017, 60,000 families received $181
million in benefits.5 According to the US
Department of Agriculture 43.6 million people receive food stamps. According to Dilulio, “Americans do indeed
hate ‘big government,'” but also “love, love, love federal government goods,
services, and benefits.6 Americans might hate big government
however creating a bigger federal workforce also adds to the debt of a big government.
He states that one of the biggest offenders
is Obamacare which employs contractors both
“for profit firms and nonprofit organizations.”7 that have been paid by the
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or the U.S. Department of the
Treasury to build information technology systems, help consumers navigate the
health exchange marketplaces, and more.8
Dilulio’s book is outdated as he has taken
numbers and statistics from 1960 to 2014.
Our National Debt is now twenty trillion dollars and counting. The cost of programs such as the Affordable
Care Act, Medicaid, Medicare and social programs have risen since 2014 as the
country’s population has grown. Charles
Murray, who gives a dissenting opinion of Dilulio’s book gives an example “The
Office of Health Safety and Security had five divisions reporting to the chief.
The heads of those divisions had a total of thirty-seven offices reporting to
them. And lest you think that “office” by the time you get this deep into the
organizational maze means literally a single office with just one person in it,
all of them had directors and staffs of unknown size. We’re looking at hundreds.”9 Murray agrees that
“Leviathan by Proxy” is real however, so is Leviathan created by 2 million
federal employees whose number John DiIulio wants to increase to 3 million.10 Bring Back the Bureaucrats is a relatively short
book and Dilulio’s answer to big government is to increase the federal workforce.
Although he makes a strong case on “Leviathan
for Proxy” and its threats to our government; he fails to present any policy solutions
to alleviate the problem other than to increase the federal workforce.
1 DiIulio, John. Bring Back the Bureaucrats: Why More Federal Workers Will Lead to
Better (and Smaller!)
Government. MBS Direct, 2014. VitalBook file.
3 Dilulio. 2014.
4 Richards, Tori. “LA made $1.3B
in illegal immigrant welfare payouts in just 2 years.” Fox News. Accessed
5 Los Angeles County of Public
Services. Richards, Tori. “LA made $1.3B in illegal immigrant welfare
years.” Fox News. Accessed December 07, 2017. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/08/03/la-
6 Dilulio. 2014.