The American President’s Cabinet Explained

I’m Mr. Beat I’m not the President of the United States. This dude is. He makes up the executive branch of the American government, the branch that carries out, or enforces laws made by the legislative branch and laws interpreted by the judicial branch. But it’s not just him, it’s his Vice President, who is currently this dude. But it’s just not these two dudes. In fact, there is a huge team working with them. It’s commonly referred to as “The Cabinet.” In this video, I will explain the history and purpose of the Cabinet. So let’s start with the Constitution. Article II, Section 2 says the President gets some help- he or she doesn’t have to do job alone. The Cabinet’s official role is to give the President advice based on their expertise. The Constitution actually doesn’t say anything explicitly about a Cabinet. The word “cabinet” comes from the Italian word “cabinetto,” which means a small, private room. You know, a place to talk about important stuff without interruptions. The first President to use the term was James Madison, who called his meetings “the President’s cabinet.” Over the years, as the country has grown, the Cabinet has grown. George Washington, the First President and still my favorite one by the way, held the first cabinet meeting on February 25, 1793. He had just four Department Heads there. His Secretary of State, Thomas Jefferson, Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton, Secretary of War, Henry Knox, and Attorney General Edmund Randolph. Yeah, Jefferson and Hamilton spent much of the meeting fighting over the creation of a national bank. Today the meetings are bigger. The Cabinet officially includes the heads of 15 executive departments. So what the heck are these Cabinet members in charge of? Well… a lot. The Secretary of State, who currently is Rex Tillerson, mostly deals with foreign policy. Tillerson presides over the State Department, which employs around 69,000 people and has a 2017 budget of over $50 billion. The Secretary of the Treasury, who is currently Steven Mnuchin, is the President’s chief economic advisor, although the position used to oversee federal law enforcement agencies until 2003. The Department of the Treasury employs over 86,000 people and has a 2017 budget of over $13.3 billion. The Secretary of War is now called the Secretary of Defense. I guess that sounds less aggressive and more like “we’re all about peace and love man!” Anyway, that changed in 1947. The Secretary of Defense, who is currently James Mattis, is in charge of…well, you know, defense. More specifically, command and control and the carrying out of missions. The Department of Defense is the largest department BY FAR. It employs over 4 million people and its 2017 budget is over $582.7 billion. The Attorney General, currently Jeff Sessions, is the chief law enforcement officer and highest lawyer of the federal government. Sessions heads the Department of Justice, which employs over 113,000 people and its 2017 budget is over $29 billion. The U.S. created the Department of the Interior on March 3, 1849. Today, the Secretary of the Interior is Ryan Zinke. He and his department are responsible for maintaining and conserving most federal land and natural resources, and currently employs over 70,000 people, with an annual budget in 2017 of $13.4 billion. On May 15, 1862, Abraham Lincoln created what is today called the Department of Agriculture. Today, the Secretary of Agriculture is Sonny Perdue, and he and his department are responsible for carrying out federal laws related to farming, agriculture, forestry, and food. Hey I like food. The department has around 106,000 employees and its 2017 budget is over $151 billion. On Valentine’s Day, 1903, the U.S. created what is today called the Department of Commerce, which is all about looking for ways to grow the American economy. Today, it’s led by the Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross. His department employs around 44,000 people and has an its 2017 budget is $9.8 billion. On March 5, 1913, the last day of his Presidency, William Howard Taft created the Department of Labor, which is all about finding ways to help workers, those seeking work, and those seeking a way OUT of work. Headed by the Secretary of Labor, who today is Alex Acosta, the department employs more than 17,000 people and its 2017 budget is over $12.8 billion. In 1933, Frances Perkins became the Secretary of Labor and the first woman to ever serve in the Cabinet. The U.S. established the Federal Security Agency on July 1, 1939. That morphed into the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare on April 11, 1953. But today? It’s called the Department of Health and Human Services, currently headed by Eric Hargan. The department promotes policy that focuses on the health of Americans, and recently gained a lot of power after Obamacare went into effect. It currently employs around 80,000 people and its 2017 budget is $1.2 billion. On September 9, 1965, President Lyndon Johnson created the Department of Housing and Urban Development as part of his Great Society initiative. It’s mission is to help Americans get quality, affordable housing, but it also used to coordinate disaster response across the country. Currently headed by Ben Carson, the department employs over 8,400 people and its 2017 budget is over $60 billion. Congress created the Department of Transportation on October 15, 1966 to help provide the country with a safe and efficient transportation network. Currently headed by Elaine Chao, the department employs over 58,000 people and its 2017 budget is over $98.1 billion. (Rick Perry clip) Well, he couldn’t remember the department, but I bet he remembers it now. He’s currently in charge of it. This dude is Rick Perry, the Secretary of Energy and head of the Department of Energy, which is in charge of the country’s nuclear weapons program and nuclear reaction production for the Navy. It also aids the country’s energy needs, whether it be through energy conservation or research or waste disposal. The U.S. founded the department on August 4, 1977. Its 2017 budget was over $32 billion and it employees more than 106,000 people. The U.S. created the Department of Education on October 17, 1979. Currently headed by Betsy DeVos, its main purpose manage and coordinate federal assistance to education, but it also collects data on the country’s schools and enforces federal educational laws. It employs more than 4400 people and its 2017 budget is more than $209 billion. Yeah, that’s a lot of student loans and grants. While the U.S. has provided benefits to its veterans dating back to the Revolutionary War, it didn’t create what’s now called the Department of Veterans Affairs until 1930, and didn’t become Cabinet level until 1989. The current Secretary of Veterans Affairs is David Shulkin, and the department’s main job is to provide essential services to American veterans. Its 2017 budget is more than $182 billion and it employs more than 377,000 people. And last but certainly not least is the Department of Homeland Security, created in the aftermath of 9/11 on November 25th, 2002. Sure, it’s all about keeping America safe, but more specifically their focus is anti-terrorism, border security, immigration and customs, cyber security, and disaster prevention and response after taking on FEMA. The newest Cabinet department, it is also the third largest, with a 2017 budget of more than $40.6 billion and over 240,000 employees. The current Secretary of Homeland Security is Kirstjen Nielsen, pending Senate approval, that is. All 15 Department Heads are in the line of succession, meaning that if the President, Vice President, Speaker of the House, and the President por tempore of the U.S. Senate all died, these folks would be next up to take the President’s spot. That’s why Kiefer Sutherland became President that one time, even though he was just the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Wait a second, was that real life? Nooo, yeah I’m pretty sure that’s just a TV show, come to think of it. The President nominates the department heads and presents them to the Senate to be approved by a simple majority, aka 51 of the 100 Senators approve. The Vice President doesn’t need Senate approval, as he or she is elected, but neither does the White House Chief of Staff, who is basically the President’s personal assistant. Because the Chief of Staff manages the President’s schedule and manages the White House staff, her or she is often seen as a gatekeeper of sorts. The Chief of Staff actually isn’t technically a part of the Cabinet, though. He or she is what we call a Cabinet-level official. Cabinet-level officials attend Cabinet meetings but are not official Cabinet members. It includes the Trade Representative, Director of National Intelligence, Ambassador to the United Nations, the OMB Director, the CIA Director, the EPA Administrator, and SBA Administrator. (“The Apprentice” clip) Cabinet members, except the Vice President, can be fired by the President fairly easily. Yeah, the current President probably has made that quite evident. All Cabinet members are subject to impeachment by the House of Representatives if they act up. Now here’s the thing. I haven’t even got to the individual federal agencies that both fall under the umbrella of the departments or are independent agencies. You know, like the FBI, CIA, Federal Trade Commission, Social Security Administration, National Park Service, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, NASA, and many others I am sure you have heard of. For the most part, they all are part of the executive branch as well. How many federal agencies are there? Well, I had a really hard time figuring this out. I honestly don’t think anyone really knows. There might be 430, according to one source I found, or there might just be 115, according to the Administrative Conference of the United States, which recently printed “There is no authoritative list of government agencies.” We do know that there are approximately 4 million people who work for the federal government. Probably…maybe? That number is not for sure either. There’s also all the state and local workers who get federal aid, not to mention the millions of contractors who work for the federal government. The bottom line is, the executive branch is HUGE. When I see diagrams in government textbooks like this one, I sort of chuckle. That’s ridiculous. It’s not just the President and his Cabinet. We’re talking about a huge team of people working underneath them Millions of employees Hundreds of billions of dollars The Cabinet has a lot of power and they do a lot to help run this country. They are a force to be reckoned with. Thanks to Ian for suggesting that I make a video about the President’s Cabinet. He is a long-time and loyal supporter of my channel on Patreon and he’s also just a really smart young man who gives me hope for the future. So thanks to him and thanks to you for watching. I’ll see you next Friday.

100 thoughts on “The American President’s Cabinet Explained

  1. Very interesting! I like Pompeo. I didn't realize Perry in in charge of a department he wanted to eliminate. Wow…

  2. Again, you do a service to our public to educate. For the most part, you do a fine job on your videos. It started out wonderfully, until once again you let your bias show… I enjoy your videos for the education value. You are a very intelligent, and informative man, you certainly do your homework, and obviously want to help educate the public, and for that I thank you. You do best when you do not offer commentary. Thanks

  3. I've always thought that the Chief of Staff provides catering, cameras, and other equipment for reality TV shows, like this Cabinet.

  4. All American r basted and killer for so many children in Afghanistan and iraq America is no 1 terrorist in the world and Americans r no humanity

  5. Well the fact that we don't know how many federal agencies there are, or even the exact number of people working for the federal government, is incredibly concerning. The weight of the bureaucracy itself will grow large enough to simply crush the nation.

  6. Wow I did not know that and I did know that the Secretary of State could easily be the president because of them taking out sewer door trying to take out Seward there that's better I didn't mean to call and Sewer but I'm not going to change it anyway they just get appointed and not elected and they can be in line for presidency and I had no idea there were that many positions I mean that many cabinet posts I don't know I'm tired leave me alone

  7. Thank you SO much. I would like a video on which of these cabinet members, under Trump, have been replaced, and why. Especially the Attorneys General

  8. Well, somebody is writing checks, so somebody knows. There is a freedom of information act. We can theoretivally request a list of all departments:
    Each agency answers its own inquiries, and I didn't find a list, but all the agencies are listed on this website. It appears you have to look them up by subject…

  9. Well this ones aged is anyone still in the current cabinet there from this video ? Apparently the only one who’ll take Secretary of State the second most powerful position is his son in law. And he’ll probably be locked up shortly.

  10. 6:37 Sorry to be political. But that's taking the piss. Next time I run a bakery, I better find the staunchest vegan to run it.

  11. There's probably some dude sitting in an office closet that is some long forgotten federal department and he's just collecting a check. LOL

  12. So the budget of of the Department of Agriculture [$13B] is higher the Department of Health and Human Services [$1B]. Animals and plants are lucky! I wanna be a tree.

  13. The founders would be rolling in thier graves with how powerful the executive branch has become and its all becuase congress doesnt want to do thier jobs….

  14. the biggest question of them all=why isnt guiliman inproving and making more groups of the cabinet?

  15. (11:05) How can we not know?! See this is why sometimes I can agree with people that want smaller government. 1st thing that must be done is audit to know the whole list for sure, then figure out which are redundant and get rid of those transferring their people and equipment to one that'll do the job.

  16. I want to say this guy is a freaking idiot now an idiot but this guy doesn't know what the f*** is doing and you always saying that climate change is always a f**** hoax and even though this guy is not boring thank God isn't politically correct the guy just sounds f**** stupid and I know it's stupid but f**** idiot as well to the f**** jackass.

  17. House of f*** you for supporting George Washington because this guy second has slaves for real. You know I know who I support I support Obama Abraham Lincoln and John Fitzgerald Kennedy those are my favorite presents f**** jackass. F*** this guy this guy's a f**** un hummus.

  18. The Secretary of Defense is not the name of what was the Secretary of War. The Secretary of War was in charge of the Army. There was also a Secretary of the Navy as well. When the Air Force was created the Department of the Air Force was created. The three were then made subcabinet offices. Then they were placed under the new Department of Defense. So the position of Secretary of War is not Secretive of the Army and is now subcabinet.

  19. FDR created how many Federal cabinet departments? Wish this would have been kept to the basic facts – which Presidents expanded the Federal govt and its power the most. The conclusion to this American taxpayer paying for all these Federal agencies, is that we have too many Federal agencies, making rules and regulations on private industry and private citizens, while Congress makes less controversial decisions, and allows these executive agencies or the courts be the bad guy. Btw, did I miss the EPA agency? Congress wouldn't make CO2 a pollutant, but the Federal EPA agency did. Do we still have a representative Constitutional Republic when Congress at times bypasses making laws that impact our citizens? [This topic and many more government issues need further serious discussion by the American electorate. Thanks for starting the conversation.]

  20. Take a shot every time the person in the video isn't there anymore. Then come back tomorrow when they've changed again.

  21. Great info! Also, I am working on a program where kids can learn about how the government works where they earn value as they learn. Can you help, as it will reach well over a million people and get well over $300k in a quantifiable market push…

  22. Too much ruling party, it will send any country to bankrupt if they follow the America politic system.

  23. Why is the budget for Health and Human Services so tiny compared with everything else? Seems like it should be higher/more important.

  24. If you had a short background of each member people would be appalled by the corruption.(conflict of interest)

  25. As of this comment there are only six people still in office out of the fourteen. I imagine that number will be less by the time you read this.

  26. See it, it's worth it!!! :

    Distribute further.
    Thank you if you watch.

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