Can the president control a government with so many programs and responsibilities?

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Presidents don't have as much control as everyone thinks they have. They do get blamed for everything that goes wrong, but they don't have the influence to directly affect everything that happens. This is especially true of programs. There are way too manta political cooks in the kitchen.
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Control implies complete authority for the day-to-day workings of a thing, and there's no way a President could do either of those things.  If he did, we'd probably have to refer to him as Tsar or Emperor or King.  No one person should have so much control, even if he could find a way to make it work on a daily basis. 

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The issue of "control" might be where some ambiguity results.  There are elements of daily life in these programs that cannot be "controlled" by the President.  This is why others are placed in those positions so that they can manage the day to day affairs of such programs and report out on their status to the President or to someone close to him/ her.  The President can immediately control these programs and change their course when he/ she sees that they might necessitate an alteration.  For example, when Former President Bush understood that then FEMA Director Michael Brown came under severe criticism for his lack of efficiency in handling the crisis in New Orleans, he was asked to resign.  Another example of the President being able to exert control over the programs of the federal government would be in the wake of the September 11 attacks when the creation of Homeland Security was meant to streamline the process of how the federal government provides domestic protection.  In both examples, the President was able to exert direct control over programs and alter or modify its direction/ responsibilities when it was perceived that a change was needed.

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Absolutely not.  That would be an impossible job.  You just have to remember that over the last century the size of the American government and its agencies and sub-agencies has grown along with our economy and population, so that the President has tens of thousands of employees to help maintain the government bureaucracy and its various tasks, and dozens of cabinet members, advisers and staffmembers to help him direct them all.

Luckily for the President, the vast majority of these programs are not new, have been running for a long time, and we have well trained personnel who make entire careers out of steering the ship, so to speak.  All the President has to do is give them some direction when they need it, and make sure they are funded in the budget each year.

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There is no way that the president can control a government of the size of the United States government.  Presidents have limited amounts of time and energy and cannot have any hope of personally supervising the whole government.

This is one reason why presidents cannot really accomplish as much as they set out to.  The various government agencies have ingrained customs and habits that they are not likely to change unless forced to.  Therefore, to cause changes to happen, presidents must actually take note of what is going on in an agency and spend the time and energy needed to change that.

Since presidents can only do this with a very few agencies, the vast majority of the government goes along doing what it wants to regardless of what the president might want.

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