Know Your Government: Read the Book
WASHINGTON (AP) _ While the specter of Big Government gets lots of attention in election season, it isn’t always easy to appreciate the full measure of the federal government’s size.
For those who want to try, though, the latest edition of the official guidebook to government is at hand.
It’s the 1986-87 edition of The United States Government Manual, a 947-page tome that is one of the Government Printing Office’s best sellers, according to Denise Normandin of the National Archives and Records Service, which compiles the book.
Sales of last year’s volume totaled 28,530 copies as of the end of July, she said, and more than 30,000 copies were sold the year before.
The new edition sells for $19 a copy in paperback and can be purchased at government bookstores or by writing to the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402.
The manual opens with copies of the Declaration of Independence and Constitution, followed by a listing of virtually every agency of government - telling what it does, or at least what it is supposed to do.
Not only does the volume detail the activities of the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government, but it looks at independent agencies, boards, committees and commissions as well as quasi-official agencies and international organizations.
For the history and trivia buff there is even a section on ″abolished and transferred″ agencies.
The volume ends with a section of organizational charts and maps of the standard federal regions.