Robert Reich

The Top 30 Presidential Cabinet Officers In American History

Presidents do not accomplish their goals and policies on their own, but rather depend on the best advice and counsel of their cabinet members.

Since the Presidential Cabinet idea was formulated by George Washington and the first Congress under the Constitution, we have had the creation over time of 15 Cabinet agencies, and some of those who have held Cabinet posts under Presidents have had a dramatic impact on their times.

Below is a list of what the author believes are those 30 Cabinet officers who have had the greatest effect on American history, without ranking them in any order:

Alexander Hamilton, Secretary of the Treasury under George Washington

Albert Gallatin, Secretary of the Treasury under Thomas Jefferson and James Madison

John Quincy Adams, Secretary of State under James Monroe

William Seward, Secretary of State under Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson

Hamilton Fish, Secretary of State under Ulysses S. Grant

Carl Schurz, Secretary of the Interior under Rutherford B. Hayes

John Hay, Secretary of State under William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt

James Wilson, Secretary of Agriculture under William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, and William Howard Taft

Franklin K. Lane, Secretary of the Interior under Woodrow Wilson

Charles Evans Hughes, Secretary of State under Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge

Herbert Hoover, Secretary of Commerce under Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge

Cordell Hull, Secretary of State under Franklin D. Roosevelt

Harold Ickes, Secretary of the Interior under Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry Truman

Henry A. Wallace, Secretary of Agriculture under Franklin D. Roosevelt

Henry Morgenthau, Jr, Secretary of the Treasury under Franklin D. Roosevelt

Frances Perkins, Secretary of Labor under Franklin D. Roosevelt

George C. Marshall, Secretary of State under Harry Truman

Dean Acheson, Secretary of State under Harry Truman

Stewart Udall, Secretary of the Interior under John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson

Robert F. Kennedy, Attorney General under John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson

W. Willard Wirtz, Secretary of Labor under John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson

Henry Kissinger, Secretary of State under Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford

George Romney, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under Richard Nixon

Cecil Andrus, Secretary of the Interior under Jimmy Carter

Elizabeth Dole, Secretary of Transportation under Ronald Reagan

Robert Reich, Secretary of Labor under Bill Clinton

Donna Shalala, Secretary of Health and Human Services under Bill Clinton

Bruce Babbitt, Secretary of the Interior under Bill Clinton

Richard Riley, Secretary of Education under Bill Clinton

Robert Gates, Secretary of Defense under George W. Bush and Barack Obama

Note that 25 Presidents and 12 of the 15 Cabinet Departments are included in this list. Nine Secretaries of State; three Secretaries of the Treasury; one Secretary of Defense; one Attorney General; six Secretaries of the Interior; two Secretaries of Agriculture; one Secretary of Commerce; three Secretaries of Labor; one Secretary of Health and Human Services; one Secretary of Housing and Urban Development; one Secretary of Transportation; and one Secretary of Education make up the list.

Also note that President Franklin D. Roosevelt had five cabinet members who made the list; Bill Clinton had four; and Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, and Lyndon B. Johnson had three each!

Ignorance Of History Mixed With Pacifism Leads To Disaster

This author is totally amazed at so many intelligent people who are demonstrating an ignorance of history, mixed with pacifism, who seem to have no moral or ethical problem with the use of chemical weapons. They seem not to understand that if the world, led by the United States, does not react in some way to demonstrate that such immoral and illegal behavior will not be tolerated, then we will see Iran and North Korea and terrorist organizations and others who wish the civilized world ill, utilize chemical and biological weapons with impunity.

Having proved that use of force CAN be done in a surgical way and lead to good results in Bosnia and Kosovo under Bill Clinton, we do not need to have another Iraq, but if nothing is done, then another September 11 is much more likely, and how will Bernie Sanders, Robert Reich, and other intelligent liberals feel, or explain themselves, after such a disaster?

Lack of action is much more likely to lead to disaster than to assert basic moral and ethical principles, that we will not allow another Nazi Holocaust, whether against one’s own population, or a foreign population.

The world will be much more unsafe if nothing is done, than if the civilized world makes clear that there will be no tolerance of mass murder by corrupt dictators as we stand by and wring our hands!

President Obama has asked for input by Congress, but as Commander In Chief, he has the responsibility and good sense to take action, even if Congress votes no, and if the American people act in revulsion against him, so be it!

History will judge Barack Obama correct on this issue, even if it takes years of retribution against him, as sadly, the American people DO NOT always have the knowledge or good sense to know what is good for them and their future. This is the ultimate tragedy of what George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld have wrought, and in the long run, they will be condemned in history, not Barack Obama!

Paul Krugman And Robert Reich: Sages On The Economy Too Much Ignored!

We have two brilliant, courageous educators who have promoted the understanding that the only way to get out of the economic downturn we have been in, is to do more stimulus spending, and have proved by what is going on in Europe that austerity is a disastrous policy, but they are too much ignored by many people, who choose to believe the conservative and Republican mantra on the economy, which is to do more of the same economic policies that have failed, those of George W. Bush, and Ronald Reagan before him.

Paul Krugman of Princeton University, winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, and columnist for the New York Times, is a brilliant economist, and has called for a budget package that does not destroy the middle class any more than it is already!

So has Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor under President Bill Clinton, and Professor of Political Economy at the University of California, Berkeley, who has advised policies that make sense, but is also ridiculed by those who do not understand our history, and the economic cycle!

To promote austerity is seen as wrong headed, and would lead to a disastrous downturn in the economy, something Great Britain’s government has discovered, and both men advise us NOT to follow the same course!

The future of the middle class and the poor is at stake, and we would be wise to respect and follow the advice and counsel of both Krugman and Reich at this delicate time!

Corporate Bully David Siegel Threatens To Fire Workers If Obama Wins: The Plutocracy Out Of Control!

News has come that some corporate bullies, most notably David Siegel, owner of Westgate Resorts, the largest privately owned time share company in the world, has threatened to fire his workers if they do not vote for Mitt Romney in the upcoming election, and if Romney loses the election to Barack Obama. This could, in theory, affect the election results, and Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor in the administration of Bill Clinton, has condemned it!

This is plutocracy run amuck, as somehow, people like Siegel seem to think they have a right to threaten their workers, as if they run a dictatorship!

There has to be some way to hold these corporate bullies accountable for their behavior, as they are nothing less than hoodlums in their approach to their work force, as if the workers are the slaves of their owners!

Slavery was outlawed in 1865, and we have passed labor laws and corporate regulations and taxes on the wealthy before, and we cannot allow corporate bullies to think they can do whatever they wish to their workers, and get away with such outrageous abuse!

2011 Is Becoming A Repeat Of 1937-1938! Economic Disaster In The Making!

In 1937, under great pressure from critics, President Franklin D. Roosevelt cut back federal spending on the New Deal after four years of greatly increased spending, which had brought down the unemployment rate and given millions of Americans hope for the future, with the growing number of jobs and economic expansion resulting from people having income increases.

Conservatives then, as now, condemned the New Deal spending, and Roosevelt, unfortunately, reacted to it, and the result was the infamous collapse of the economy again, what is referred to as the Recession of 1937-1938 within the era of the Great Depression.

The result of what was done due to conservative pressure was the following:

1. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 49 percent from its peak in 1937 by the year 1938.

2. Manufacturing production dropped by 37 percent, greater than from 1929-1933 under President Herbert Hoover.

3. Unemployment percentages, which had reached 25 percent in 1933 as Hoover left the Presidency and then declined to 14 percent, suddenly rose to 19 percent because of the cut in federal spending, and the corresponding loss of jobs all over again.

4. Price declines, due to lack of spending, led to deflation, which is far worse than inflation.

The events of the past week, with steep stock market declines, and gyration of stock prices like we have never seen them before, is a danger sign, a warning sign, that we could have a disastrous economic collapse that could be even worse than 2008!

So the urging of Nobel Prize winning Paul Krugman of Princeton University and the New York Times, and of former Labor Secretary, (Bill Clinton) and University of California at Berkeley Professor Robert Reich that MUCH MORE federal spending is needed to stimulate the economy, and that budget cuts on a massive scale with no tax increases is a disastrous policy, needs to be listened to by government leaders!

However, with a GOP House majority, and the fact that Republicans can filibuster in the Senate with their 47 members, it makes such a possibility just about impossible!

The American people, by their ignorance or lack of understanding, have caused this mess by creating a split Congress, with, of course, corporate spending endorsed by the Citizens United case of the Supreme Court, playing a major role as well in causing a disastrous economic situation, which will cause much suffering, and guarantee the worst economic conditions since the Great Depression will become far worse in the next two years, until the next Congress, hopefully, will reverse course, but only if the Democrats win both houses and keep the White House!

Paul Krugman And Robert Reich Challenge Obama: Stop Giving In To Opposition Republicans!

Leading liberal, progressive voices such as NY Times columnist Paul Krugman, winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics and Professor of Economics at Princeton University, and Robert Reich, former Labor Secretary under Bill Clinton, and Professor of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley, have called upon President Obama to stop giving in to Republicans, as they claim he did in December’s and this month’s budget deals.

They call upon the President to work against the temptation to copy the Republicans on the budget issue, and instead call for tax increases on the top two percent, and support the Medicare and Social Security system by recognizing that we must all have shared sacrifice and expect the closing of tax loopholes and the raising of taxes on the middle class, which should have gone up during the Bush administration to cover the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the prescription plan for seniors, all of which was paid for with borrowed money.

This is a bold statement by both, and one awaits Barack Obama’s reaction to the Paul Ryan plan to change Medicare to a voucher system and avoid any new taxes.

The Obama speech will be made public today, and it may have a great effect on united backing of Obama within his party for the 2012 election, and certainly will frame the debate over the budget and the raising of the debt ceiling, challenges the country faces before the year ends!

The Emergence Of A People’s Party Movement To Fight The Tea Party Movement And The Republican Party!

The events in Wisconsin these past three weeks, leading to the end of collective bargaining of public service workers there, plus similar action in Ohio and elsewhere yet to be seen, has awakened the middle class, and those less fortunate, to the reality that they cannot sit back and allow the national Democratic Party to plan alone for 2012, as President Obama seems unwilling at this point to challenge the opposition openly, as part of his centrist strategy for re-election.

So the average American who is disgusted with the power and influence of the super rich and the corporations must organize for the future and pressure the Democratic Party in 2011-2012, as much as the right wing Tea Party did the same with the Republican Party in 2009-2010, and is still at work on its evil intentions!

So there is already the emergence of what many might call the People’s Party, with set goals of what they wish to accomplish between now and the Presidential Election of 2012, and Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor under President Bill Clinton, is one of those promoting such a development, and discussing it on the Talking Points Memo website two days ago. Of course, reality is that not all of the below ideas can be accomplished quickly, but they are a series of goals for the future.

What are the goals of the People’s Party?

1. Increase the pay and bargaining power of ordinary workers, by promoting collective bargaining and union rights of all workers.

2. Require the super rich to pay their fair share of taxes–which includes capital gains taxes, inheritance taxes, taking away citizenship of those sheltering income overseas, and increasing top marginal tax rates and number of top tax brackets.

3. Protect and expand government programs that advance the middle class and the poor, including Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Public Education, Pell Grants for college students, Public Transportation, and the Earned Income Tax Credit.

4. End corporate welfare, including wasteful defense spending, agricultural subsidies, and tax subsidies for industries and specific corporations at the state and national level.

5. Save Social Security by raising the income level that is taxed to all income that is earned, just as it is for Medicare.

6. End Wall Street dominance of the economy, requiring smaller banks, having a financial transactions tax, and preventing future bailouts.

7. Enforce regulations that benefit workers, consumers, investors, and the environment, and raise penalties on corporations that violate these regulations.

8. Provide affordable health care for all Americans through adoption of single payer Medicare for all.

9. Slow and reverse climate change through carbon emissions taxes on polluters, and returning these taxes and penalties as tax cuts for the working middle class that has been victimized by these corporations.

10. Take big money out of politics, by fighting the Citizens United Supreme Court case, requiring public financing of all campaigns at all levels, and full disclosure of all campaign contributions to all candidates for any public office at any level.

Wisconsin is a clarion call to all progressives and liberals that they cannot simply lie down and take what they are getting, but must FIGHT for change and reform, because no one is going to give it to them simply because they ask! The fight to overcome the right wing extremism that has taken hold in the House of Representatives and many state governments has just begun!