Tag Archives: federal government

Executive Orders – a journey through time

Here are totals by President for all Executive Orders (numbers from The American Presidency Project, a fascinating data-loaded site).

The WW presidents – Wilson, FDR, Truman show big numbers which is logical. Hoover was the Depression. TR and Taft: that was the trust-busting era so maybe that explains their big numbers. But mostly, there’s not much of a story to be told here – they go up and they go down. Regularly.

At five years in, Obama looks like he could fall behind every president but two since WWII.

George Washington 8
John Adams 1
Thomas Jefferson 4
James Madison 1
James Monroe 1
John Quincy Adams 3
Andrew Jackson 12
Martin van Buren 10
William Henry Harrison 0
John Tyler 17
James K. Polk 18
Zachary Taylor 5
Millard Fillmore 12
Franklin Pierce 35
James Buchanan 16
Abraham Lincoln 48
Andrew Johnson 79
Ulysses S. Grant 217
Rutherford B. Hayes 92
James Garfield 6
Chester Arthur 96
Grover Cleveland (I) – 113
Benjamin Harrison 143
Grover Cleveland (II) – 140
William McKinley 185
Theodore Roosevelt 1,081
William Howard Taft 724
Woodrow Wilson 1,803
Warren G. Harding 522
Calvin Coolidge 1,203
Herbert Hoover 968
Franklin D. Roosevelt 3,522
Harry S. Truman 907
Dwight D. Eisenhower 484
John F. Kennedy 214
Lyndon B. Johnson 325
Richard Nixon 346
Gerald R. Ford 169
Jimmy Carter 320
Ronald Reagan 381
George Bush 166
William J. Clinton 364
George W. Bush 291
Barack Obama 168

While the House burns like Atlanta . . .

UPDATED BELOW: From Forbes magazine this morning:

But a new survey of 1,976 registered voters finds that only 33 percent believe that the health law should be repealed, delayed, or defunded. 29 percent believe that “Congress should make changes to improve the law,” 26 percent believe that “Congress should let the law take effect” and see what happens, and 12 percent believe that the law should be expanded. The bottom line? Voters are skeptical that Obamacare will live up to Democrats’ hype. But they also believe that it should be given a chance to succeed.

Universal health care (which Obamacare is most assuredly not – at least not yet) has been a political objective, indeed a platform goal, of the Democratic Party  since Truman (Teddy Roosevelt and Nixon liked it too). So it has been a stated goal of at least half this nation for decades. It is now the law, as passed by the Congress, signed by the President, upheld by the US Supreme Court, and reaffirmed by the American people when they re-elected the President who sponsored it. That’s exactly the way our Federal government was designed to work.

The House GOP is not pursuing the will of the American people, they are pursuing a Party objective. They forget that they are only one of three branches of government (and only half of that branch!). 

Our Founders knew well to build in protections against a tyranny of the minority. UPDATE: commenter Alan Scott points out – correctly – that I am wrong here. Our Founders built in protections against a Tyranny of MAJORITY. My bad.

The minority half of one branch of our government is on the wrong side of this.

Articles of Confederation bitchez!

Because that worked so well.  Who needs a balance of powers anyway? Checks and balances? Bleh.  We have a US Senator is ‘whipping’ votes in the House of Representatives. A significant cohort of the Congress is ideologically committed to the destruction of a strong Federal government. The House Speakership – designed to wield enormous power – now powerless. Who really needs him any more? Put the world economy at risk during a fragile recovery? So what if that usually leads to World Wars. That’s the world’s problem. – and damn Europeans and Mooslims.

Shut it down. Take it down! USA! USA! USA!

I asked my old friend Wikipedia for a few random factoids about the debt and that debt ceiling thingee:

  • 800px-US_Public_Debt_Ceiling_1981-2010US government indebtedness has been the norm in the financial history of the nation. The carriage of debt in Western Europe and North America by governments has been normal for the past 200 years, so the US situation is not unique.
  • The US has been in debt every year except for 1835.
  • Debts incurred during the American Revolutionary War and under the Articles of Confederation led to the first yearly report on the amount of the debt ($75,463,476.52 on January 1, 1791).
  • Every President since Herbert Hoover has added to the national debt expressed in absolute dollars. The debt ceiling has been raised 74 times since March 1962,[1] including 18 times under Ronald Reagan, eight times under Bill Clinton, seven times under George W. Bush, and three times under Barack Obama.

Good old Ike – he didn’t think anyone would take these guys seriously. He was wrong.

http://i.ebayimg.com/00/s/MjAwWDIwMA==/z/PVMAAMXQ0pNRpPzs/$T2eC16R,!y0E9s2S6cbQBRpPzsNBgg~~60_35.JPG?set_id=8800004005As we approach the start of the GOP’s Annual Hunting Season To Capture and Kill Legislation (Social Security from the 1930’s, Medicare from the 1960’s, and those 21st Century obscenities, Bush’s Medicare Part D Rx plan, and Obama’s nose under the door of universal health care), I like to remember this guy. Here’s then-former President Dwight D. Eisenhower in a 1954 letter to his brother.

Now it is true that I believe this country is following a dangerous trend when it permits too great a degree of centralization of governmental functions. I oppose this–in some instances the fight is a rather desperate one. But to attain any success it is quite clear that the Federal government cannot avoid or escape responsibilities which the mass of the people firmly believe should be undertaken by it. The political processes of our country are such that if a rule of reason is not applied in this effort, we will lose everything–even to a possible and drastic change in the Constitution. This is what I mean by my constant insistence upon “moderation” in government. Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things. Among them are H. L. Hunt (you possibly know his background), a few other Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or business man from other areas.Their number is negligible and they are stupid.


And Glenn Beck shall lead them

I’m beginning to believe that a number of our United 50 States – mostly in the South and on the ‘frontier’ of the early 1800’s – would prefer to let their Federation membership lapse.

To wit: Utah Gov. Gary Herbert signed a bill Friday that demands the Federal government relinquish control of pubic lands in Utah by 2014.

If their “demands” aren’t met, will they be taking hostages I wonder?

Even Santa couldn’t pull this off

Today, December 20, the US Postal Service will deliver over  800 million pieces of mail. That’s 800 million pieces of mail.

Damn Feds, can’t do anything right.


In news reporting, we no longer have a Federal Government or Departments of the Federal Government or a Presidency. We only have TheObamaAdministration and PresidentObama. While the phraseology is accurate enough, it contributes to a mind set that ultimately limits all discussion about national policy to the singular area of political combat. Flu shots come from TheObamaAdministration.

This isn’t all that new, but it isn’t much older than cable news. Before that time it was quite common to hear a news report say ‘the President’, or ‘today the federal government’ or  “today the administration” or ‘the Treasury Department today . . . “.

Say it the other way long enough and the substance is drained from the issue – and it’s replaced by a definition of which political direction the action issues from.

Good afternoon

Life as I knew it prior to a little encounter last month with the local gendarmes (over something called ‘posted speed limits’ which led to some unpleasant complications) has returned at last to normal. The last loose end was tied up in Traffic Court this morning. It is truly over. I shall forever more drive like I was my own mother.

The last time I was in a Traffic Court was in CT about 30 years ago. Remembering that experience, I armed myself with hard candy and a paperback of Fareed Zacharia’s very good  The Future of Freedom. But whoaa, have things ever  changed! The courtroom was set up for maximum efficiency, there was sufficient staff present, everyone knew what they were doing and things moved along at a steady pace. Not a minute was wasted. I was out of there in 48 minutes. Quite remarkable.

Since becoming an official old person, I have had to contact Federal agencies online a few times – Social Security, Medicare, the IRS etc. Each encounter has been easy, rapid and without problems. Website architecture is the best – user friendly, intuitive and helpful. And fast.

We keep hearing that the Feds can’t do anything right? Anybody ever tried to resolve a tech problem online with Comcast? Verizon? Dell? MS? Give me the Feds anytime; they are good at this.

And I hope they’re just as good at taking care of our troops when they come home from Afghanistan, where it is the 130th day of the ninth year of the War there.