From WIKI:"In the United States, the civil service was established in 1871. The Federal Civil Service is defined as "all appointive positions in the executive, judicial, and legislative branches of the Government of the United States, except positions in the uniformed services." In the early 19th century, government jobs were held at the pleasure of the president — a person could be fired at any time. The spoils system meant that jobs were used to support the political parties. This was changed in slow stages by the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act of 1883 and subsequent laws. By 1909, almost two thirds of the U.S. federal work force was appointed based on merit, that is, qualifications measured by tests. Certain senior civil service positions, including some heads of diplomatic missions and executive agencies are filled by political appointees. Under the Hatch Act of 1939, civil servants are not allowed to engage in political activities while performing their duties."
When Ronald Reagan became President he decided and most Republican Party Members to starve the areas of government they did not want or needed to be smaller. They learned to do this by controlling the State Government Bodies (Senators and Representatives). The Legislators held the purse strings. In today's climate the T Party gained ground and stated that the government was too big. The government had already been slashed by Reagan and when these new T Party members came to town that starved the purse strings more.
What heads of state just became figureheads.
The State Department was cut of Military Marines who guarded the overseas consulates and Embassy Buildings.
The EPA who made sure our water and air was not poisoned or polluted money was cut so they lost manpower to do the jobs.
The Veterans Administration lost money to hire competent employees and was lost in paperwork undone.
The Postal System was ordered to pay for Health Care in Advance by 5 years which guaranteed a lose in revenues.
State Grants were cut and roads and bridges became rusty and full of potholes.Schools began to raise tuition for everyone..
The Army Corps of Engineers lost money to dredge rivers and lakes, they lost money to build new structures.