Iron Triangles in US policy?

What is an iron triangle?? I hear about this so much but i still don't really understand them. I know it's made up of congressional comm's, the bureaucracy, and interest groups, but how does it work? Also, why do they make it hard for the President to influence the bureaucracy and policy making?

2 Answers

  • Anonymous
    7 years ago
    Best Answer

    1) The Iron Triangle is the policy-making relationship Congress, Executive agencies, and interest groups. These 3 groups are the key to getting laws/policies passed. Some firm opposition from any one of them can cockblock whatever a President wants to do.

    Here's a very brief description of how it works:

    Congress: The president can't pass laws, Congress does, so the President has very limited influence on the laws Congress passes that create, eliminate, and/or govern Executive Agencies.

    Interest Groups (like PACs): They raise HUGE amounts of money for congressional campaigns and lobbying to influence the votes in Congress in their favor (just one example, the NRA will provide millions to ensure members of Congress will vote against any gun control legislation.)

    Executive Agencies: This is probably the most complex side of the Trinagle...

    Unlike what many people think....Agencies don't kowtow to anything the President says. In some cases, they are VERY resistent to the changes a President wants to make. Executive Agency leaders are career professionals who aren't elected....they spend the years watching Presidents come and go, while they keep their jobs.

    Also, they have the real expertise on subjects...if you want to decide if gun control is needed, you need facts. And you get the facts on gun violence from Executive Agencies: FBI, ATF, Justice Department, CBP, etc.

    To keep the example from above, in gun control, the ATF is a key agency....and they have their own interests. For example, the ATF probably doesn't want guns banned. Why? Because it's a BIG part of their job. If there are no guns....we would cut the budget of the ATF. Of course, the ATF probably DOES want more regulations on guns. First, because it would help keep people safer. Second, because if the ATF has more regulations to enforce, then they'll need more employees to do that, and a bigger budget.

    To make things even more complicated...there's the "Revolving Door." Many people serve in Executive Agnecies for years. Then get elected to Congress. They call in favors from their old Agency to help push legislation...and they take money from Interest Groups to get/stay elected. And then of course, many foremer members of Congress leave and take jobs as lobbyists. And they call in favors from friends in Congress to push the legislation their interest group wants.

    And it works the other way too. Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, for example, spend years working for banks, and pushing for less regulation. And then Bush put him in charge of an Executive Agency that was supposed to regulate banks.

    Round and round it goes.

  • Penny
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Iron triangle... very amusing. Is that like the Bermuda triangle, a legendary yet mythical concept which has absolutely no effect on the real world, yet people create conpiracy theories about? You follow this at all? Or is the pot smoke clouding your brain?

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