The Iron Triangle and Heclo's Policy of Issue Networks

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Heclo’s policy of issue networks is a new way of dealing with the connection between politics and its administration. Previously, the Iron Triangle was the way that the connection was dealt with. The Iron Triangle concept described the major players as congress, career bureaucrats and large interest groups. It was said that the groups had a give and take kind of relationship and eventually led to a reasonably easy way to create policy while somewhat satisfying each of the groups. Basically, the Congress passes laws, Bureaucrats implement the laws and the interest groups support the congress. However Heclo describes the new way of doing business in Washington. Heclo does not say the Iron Triangle theory is wrong he just says that with the changing of times, the Iron Triangle Theory is not complete. Heclo says that we are naïve and that we want to believe in the simplicity of how political administration is implemented. We want a main group in power and then other groups who are sub groups with a clear and defined hierarchy. Instead we have what Heclo calls “issue networks.”

I would also use what I have learned about Heclo’s theory in the way that I would handle my future role as an administrator. In my mind I imagined a system where, I as an administrator seemed to know what was best for the people and would bring about and implement wise and important changes on behalf of the people I represent. In fact, I may be the one who is informed of change by neighborhood groups or issue groups. I also have to make sure that I am allowing everyone to get their opinion into the decision while still being effective and fast enough to affect appropriate change. Issue Networks are a different kind of relationship and different kind of participants. There are networks of all different types that now are trying to influence and make policy. We still have the legislators and the bureaucrats but now the groups trying to influence law and its...
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