If governments through the ages have had a fixed star, it would begin with their Bureaucracy.
In the debates over how the new Constitution of 1787 should look, one constant both Federalists and Jeffersonian Republicans seemed to agree was that the size and power of government should depend entirely on the people’s control of the men who both could increase the size and mission of government, and also raise the money to pay for it.
Despite their animosity towards one another, the Federalists and Republicans were of one mind about keeping the federal government very lean. The idea that the federal government should want to grow did not begin until the formation of the Democratic Party and Andrew Jackson, 1824-28, when the spoils system was first introduced…after all the lions had passed away.
But they finally got an income tax in 1913 (16th Amendment), (count the years, by generations, 126 and 4) which, while very, very small, its fine print enabled Congress to increase it almost at will, and then, 19 years later, 1932, with the Great Depression, and the next generation of Progressives called in to fix it, (FDR and the New Deal), the government grew like mushrooms in a rain forest. Many of those programs survived well into the 60’s, until LBJ could replace them with a new set of programs, The Great Society, which haunts us still.
It was in this period that federal employment first jumped its territorial boundaries in the District and invaded Virginia and Maryland. And someone in Big Government figured out this was a good thing for Big Government, which in those days was entirely Democrat. Even the good ol’ boys in the rural south. FDR’s New Deal saved the old South, where loyalty to the Democrats was even higher than in the northeast until the Cold War-Civil Rights days. That’s because the first basic handshake FDR had with the old Confederacy was that if they’d back the national Party and their plans, and keep the blacks from voting (they were largely Republican then…ask MLK) he’d keep the federal programs coming their way.
I hate trying to compress thousands of pages of American history into a few paragraphs just to focus on how the bureaucracy came into being roughly 125 years after the federal government was formed, but it’s important to note this was where, like that rutting deer, it always wanted to go.
Trust me on this: Bureaucracies are organic, and it’s in their nature to want to expand and grow.
Since 2010, at least, “the people” who’d lost this control over their government, have been pushing back to change (through process), while the bureaucracy has been resisting, using every string they have in Congress to prevent it. The bureaucracy has been sensitive to this threat for many years.
In every agency in government, not just the high profile ones (EPA, CIA, State), there is a struggle going on between Trump’s new administration and the careerist deep-state. In some of those the struggle is exacerbated by left-right political ideology, where climate change and the billions it generates in universities and slush-fund companies such as Solyndra, is as much a life-and-death issue to many true believers at EPA as Iran becoming a nuclear power is to the Left in State and CIA. (Just watch John Brennan or James Clapper speak for two minutes and you’ll know what I mean.)
But on these issues, the Constitution names who wins the coin-toss in every case. “The people” through Congress decide, which is why Congress is so conflicted, for it is “the people” who puts them in Washington with a nice $174,000/yr salary, plus other benefits. But Congress’ real loyalty is to those people who can carry them to the next level, some on K Street and other connections, and turn them into millionaires and powerful brokers; who turned Harry Reid’s senate salary into millions, as well as Paul Ryan’s.
In that world, the federal bureaucracy, not “the people”, is the real Congressional constituency, only “the people” aren’t supposed to know this, and Congress over the past 30 years at least, have spent billions trying to keep “the people” in the dark. (Think of a Connecticut commuter-bank executive who keeps a mistress in Manhattan. Same tryst, same secrets.)
This is why they call it “the Swamp”. Apt name; marsh gas and weeds. And alligators, bugs and things that crawl in the night.
Lots more here—LOTS—and no matter how much you may think you already know about it, or how much you actually DO know, it’s all must-read stuff.