Reply To: Disinterested Public Administration By Technical Professionals


I am perhaps oddly well qualified to respond to this, as I’m a Jeffersonian who graduated from the LBJ School of Public Affairs (where the student body was about 4% Republican, with me as sole libertarian type) and once worked as a “Tax Examiner Clerk” for the IRS for about 6 months. I went to LBJ as part of a joint JD/MPAff program with the UTx Law School, thinking that I’d practice law for a few years and become a politician. What I saw there was that everyone there, students and faculty members, accepted the notion that we as prospective grads were preparing to go out and run people’s lives. I should have foreseen that, of course, but I didn’t, and I found it entirely off-putting.

I worked at the IRS Service Center in Austin during the 15-month break I took between graduating in May 1985 and entering the Law-LBJ program in 1986. Of the cohort of people who started with me, one was a very devout Hal Lindsey-type Protestant/Army veteran, another was a veteran friend of his, and several others (including myself) were just there because it was a job. It’s entirely possible that the IRS higher-ups (other LBJ grad-types) skew to the left, but the entry-level people I worked with skewed toward unemployment. No great conspiracy in that huge office.