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Bring Back the BureaucratsBring Back the Bureaucrats

Why More Federal Workers Will Lead to Better (and Smaller!) Government

John DiIulio, Jr.

Narrated by Joel Richards

Available from Audible

Book published by Templeton Press

In Bring Back the Bureaucrats, John J. DiIulio Jr., one of America’s most respected political scientists and an adviser to presidents in both parties, summons the facts and statistics to show us how America’s big government actually works and why reforms that include adding a million more people to the federal workforce by 2035 might actually help to slow government’s growth while improving its performance.

Starting from the underreported reality that the size of the federal workforce hasn’t increased since the early 1960s even though the federal budget has skyrocketed and the number of federal programs has ballooned, Bring Back the Bureaucrats tells us what our elected leaders won’t: there simply are not enough federal workers to do work that’s critical to our democracy.

Government in America, DiIulio reveals, is Leviathan by Proxy, a grotesque form of debt-financed big government that guarantees bad government:

Washington relies on state and local governments, for-profit firms, and nonprofit organizations to implement federal policies and programs. Big-city mayors, defense industry contractors, nonprofit executives and other federal proxies lobby incessantly for more federal spending.

The proxy system chokes on chores as distinct as cleaning up toxic waste sites, caring for hospitalized veterans, collecting taxes, handling plutonium, and policing more than $100 billion a year in “improper payments.”

The lack of enough competent, well-trained federal civil servants figured in the failed federal response to Hurricane Katrina and in the troubled launch of Obamacare “health exchanges.” Bring Back the Bureaucrats is further distinguished by the presence of E. J. Dionne Jr. and Charles Murray, two of the most astute voices from the political left and right, respectively, who offer their candid responses to DiIulio at the end of the book.

John DiIulio, Jr. is the Frederic Fox Leadership Professor of Politics, Religion, and Civil Society at the University of Pennsylvania and the faculty director of Penn’s Robert A. Fox Leadership Program. He taught previously at Princeton University and at Harvard University. An award-winning political science scholar and popular teacher, he has served as a senior fellow and directed research centers at several think tanks including the Brookings Institution and the Manhattan Institute. A member of several government reform commissions, he served as the founding director of the White House Office of Faith-Based Initiatives under President George W. Bush, and he helped to reconstitute that office under President Barack Obama. The author of a leading American government textbook, his most recent research includes an ongoing national study of the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare.


Bring Back the Bureaucrats is excellent: it points to a sprawling executive outsourced to an army of unaccountable contractors.”

—Francis Fukuyama, author of Political Order and Political Decay: From the Industrial Revolution to the Globalization of Democracy

“Instead of endorsing the usual conservative line on government, Bring Back the Bureaucrats highlights the dangers of contracting out as part of a broader argument about the rise of what he terms ‘leviathan by proxy.”

—American Prospect

“DiIulio’s ameliorative for our republic’s ills is counterintuitive: We can curb government growth and improve its performance by hiring one million more bureaucrats by 2035. The idea is not a batty one: Since 1960, federal spending has quintupled, yet the number of civil servants (two million) has remained flat…Certainly, some agencies would benefit from more staff.”

—Kevin R. Kosar, The Weekly Standard

“For the six years of the Obama presidency, or perhaps the last 35 years since Ronald Reagan’s election, American politics has been dominated by a debate on the size and role of the federal government. This argument, while intense and consequential, has often lacked one element: actual knowledge about the size and role of the federal government. Into this gap, political scientist John DiIulio has thrown a slim volume titled Bring Back the Bureaucrats. It is a reproof to everyone who hates government or loves government without understanding what it does — which covers most of the American ideological spectrum.”

—Michael Gerson, Washington Post

“If you like counterintuitive, this is the book for you. Dilulio, a George W. Bush White House official, argues the federal government needs more staff—that career bureaucrats do a better job than contract employees and consultants.”

ESPN Tuesday Morning Quarterback

“The US government is a bloated, dysfunctional Leviathan, and the only way to fix it is by hiring a million more federal bureaucrats. That’s the latest argument from John DiIulio, the Frederic Fox Leadership Professor of Politics, Religion, and Civil Society. DiIulio is no stranger to provocative policy ideas. He ran George W. Bush’s Faith-Based Initiative in the 2000s. His new book exemplifies his knack for intellectual attention-getting. He all but invites readers to judge it by its cover, which features a graph contrasting the 50-year quintupling of annual federal spending against the stagnant number of civilian government workers tasked with overseeing it, under the title Bring Back The Bureaucrats.”

The Pennsylvania Gazette

“In John J. DiIulio Jr.’s new book Bring Back the Bureaucrats he calls the modern American government ‘Leviathan by Proxy.’ Leviathan by Proxy refers to the fact that in recent decades the U.S. government has ‘…increased its spending more than fivefold while the full time civilian workforce remained largely flat.’ Rather than hire more civil servants the government has contracted out an enormous amount of its work in what DiIluio calls ‘… a uniquely American, superficially antistatist form of big government.”

FixGov Brookings Institute

“Recommended for public libraries, universities, and anyone interested in political science.”

The Christian Librarian

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University Press Audiobooks