Have you jumped on a scale lately?
Here we are, in that ‘tweener’ period between Thanksgiving and Christmas. It is the time of year when, confronted with vast servings of cookies, nuts and candies, we just seem to lose control of our ‘well-intended’ diet plans.
In the spirit of this caring and sharing time of year, friends and neighbors love to share homemade gifts – usually more cookies, nuts and candies. Grandma P partakes in this tradition. It has created a vicious cycle of personal ‘weight turbulence.’ This is especially true when Grandma P bakes about 200 extra dozen cookies, with the direct order for me to try each type to assure they are friend and neighbor-worthy. As she values my opinion, I am obligated to sample each type. I usually taste each flavor five or six times to make sure she got that cookie ‘just right.’ She helps me during this process by leaving said cookies exposed on the kitchen counter for easy access. This is the same concept as the check-out lines in Walmart that are stocked with items for your ‘impulse’ purchase. I impulsively eat more cookies.
Friends, family and neighbors also want to socialize during this time of the year. (My opinion is this is done so they get their ticket punched, and do not have to do it again for the New Year!) These gatherings usually entail adult beverages, cookies, nuts, candies and other assorted desserts to ensure that cardiac care centers remain in business!
Taking all of these items into consideration and combining them with my recent exposure to a twenty-eight day ‘all you can eat’ bacon buffet, you begin to understand my weight gain dilemma and challenges.
But, just when the world appears its darkest and gloomiest, it is human nature to look at those less fortunate and say, “I guess I don’t have it so bad.”
And therein lies the light at the end of the tunnel! Just when I thought that my pending weight gain was unstoppable and incorrigible, that magical, inevitable “I guess I don’t have it so bad” epiphany. (What Oprah Winfrey calls “an ah-ha moment.”) Even though I may put on a few pounds, this organization has virtually increased its ‘weight’ almost five times during my lifetime!
What is it, you ask? The size of the President’s Cabinet, and the Cabinet level staff!
An explanation is necessary. I researched the material for this post on December 7, Pearl Harbor Day. The bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 was the prelude to the largest single event to affect the United States and the world in the last 100 years, World War II. (If you disagree, just imagine the ramifications to the world and the U.S. if we would have lost!)
I was curious as to how many members there were in Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s 1940 cabinet. This would have been the cabinet that was responsible for America’s large contribution to winning that war. Have a guess? The number of members of the 1940 FDR cabinet was eleven. This 1940 cabinet was comprised of: Vice President, Secretary of State, Secretary of War, Attorney General, Postmaster General, Secretary of the Navy, Secretary of the Interior, Secretary of Agriculture, Secretary of the Treasury, Secretary of Commerce and the Secretary of Labor.
FDR was a smart guy. He foresaw the events in Europe unfolding in the late 30s, and he surmised that America, regardless of her isolationist sentiment, would eventually get involved. He selected his cabinet members wisely. He valued experience. Two of his cabinet members served all thirteen years of his term as President.
His most interesting choice and his most remarkable choice was Henry L. Stimson as Secretary of War. Firstly, Stimson was a Republican. No harm in that, as the current Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel is also a Republican serving a Democrat POTUS. Stimson was appointed Secretary of War in July of 1940 at the age of 73! Why Stimson? ( A question for my trivia team!) He was selected because he was the Secretary of War during World War I in the Taft administration! During WWII, Stimson directed the expansion of the military, managing the conscription and training of 13 million soldiers and airmen. He also was responsible for the purchase and transportation to battlefields of 30% of the nation’s industrial output.
What a patriot! At the time in his life when most retired, Henry Stimson stepped up to the plate to help his country. He did this at an age that was greater than the average life expectancy of a male at that time. He lived to the age of 83.
Harold Ickes, the Secretary of the Interior, and Frances Perkins, the Secretary of Labor, served the entire time of the FDR presidency. Secretary of State Cordell Hull and Secretary of Treasury Henry Morgenthau, Jr. both served eleven years. One FDR cabinet member had four years experience. The remainder of the cabinet had five or more years.
In retrospect, FDR and his Cabinet could be called the ‘gang of twelve.’ Fortunately for us and the world, they were educated, experienced and dedicated. They must have been remarkable to shoulder so much responsibility, as we won the war.
Do you know how many members there currently are in the 2012 Obama Cabinet? There are twenty-two members. That is double what FDR had in his Cabinet just 73 years ago. Just like my weight, it gets bigger; and just like the commercials on TV….but wait, there’s more! There are an additional twenty-nine Czars, many of them with Cabinet-level standing. This adds up to fifty-one Cabinet members and Czars. That is over five times the number of people FDR had to win World War II! Now who has put on the weight?
Most of these current Cabinet members have been appointed recently. Most were appointed following the 2012 election, but there are some that have been appointed after 2012, as their predecessors resigned. John Kerry replacing Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State would be an example. Suffice it to say that the eleven members of the FDR administration would far and away exceed the existing twenty-two Cabinet members in experience. It appears that Cabinet membership has become a revolving door to ‘get one’s ticket punched’ on the way to a better position. The dedication is not as apparent.
There is no doubt that the largest problem for our country is the continuing inability to present a budget, much less make an attempt to balance a budget. We have not had a budget since this POTUS took office. Our government is still operating on ‘appropriation bills.’ The next one expires on January 15. We have another possible government shutdown looming in less than six weeks. Happy New Year!
The existence of all these Cabinet members and Czars is creating a financial hardship on this country. How so? Have the Departments of Education and Energy run their course? Do we need them? Do we need twenty-nine Czars? With the existence of all these Cabinets and Czars, we have people competing for monies to justify their existence and expand their particular agencies. We are funding people we don’t need and programs we don’t need. They are doing this with our money! (We could eliminate a boatload of IRS agents by repealing Obamacare!)
Here is a partial list of the Czars that are currently in this administration: Energy and Environment Czar, Faith-based Czar, Domestic Violence Czar, Aids Czar, Climate Czar, Central Region Czar, Auto Recovery Czar (Yup, I’m serious. I could not make this up!), California Water Czar, Car Czar, Government Performance Czar (How would you like to present that report to the POTUS?), Great Lakes Czar, Green Jobs Czar, Guantanamo Closure Czar, Information Czar, Pay Czar, Regulatory Czar, WMD Policy Czar, Tarp Czar, and last but surely not least – Sudan Czar.
I am not exactly sure of the responsibilities of each Czar, but Common Sense tells me we can put the Federal Government on a diet and eliminate a bunch of them. There appears to be overlap between Czar responsibilities and Cabinet responsibilities. Do we need both?
FDR and his cabinet were masterful in their ability to shape our country and the world. They did it with a cabinet of eleven and a President. There were no Czars. They were the ‘gang of twelve.’
The fact is, our government is too large and has ballooned in size. We, as a nation have become much too dependent on the government, at the expense of individual responsibility. This ‘plus size’ government is the result. The people of the United States need to decrease their reliance on the government, and the government needs to be put on a ‘diet.’
As a role model for our government, I, Grandpa T am going to get on a treadmill to reverse the misfortunes of weight gain. (Right after I am done with my milk and cookies.)