Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The cabinet

I got another 'friendly' question about the geritocracy thing yesterday. How would I choose to staff the Cabinet?

The basic disagreement here is that the Cabinet is currently staffed by chosen advisers to the president, all of whom have impressive skill sets and resumes and substantial political connections. If chosen based solely on age, the skill sets may not correlate well with job requirements, but if chosen on merit and ability, like now, then the young guns, most of whom would probably be between 45 and 65, may be able to turn the president into a puppet.

Hunh...valid argument.

Also, some (all?) Cabinet positions are in the current order of succession.

A skilled Cabinet is necessary for a good presidency. Two words: Jimmy Carter. The US requires a strong executive. It's part of our national character.

Obviously, in order to satisfy all the demands present in selecting the right kind of people for the job, a system of checks and balances would need to be created, but the system cannot be too complex, because the more moving parts a thing has, the more likely it is to break.

So what I would suggest is that each cabinet position from Secretary of State down to Administrator of the Small Business Administration have a set of qualifications that would ultimately allow for the selection of the oldest qualified professional person, not otherwise engaged in governance. Like with Secretary of State, the likeliest place to find such a person would be the oldest US diplomat. Defense, the oldest (retired probably) US general or admiral. The minimum age for serving on the Cabinet should be 70 or 75 years, with possible exceptions made by act of Congress. Determining the right profession-position fit(s) would be something the Supreme Court might do. Just to spread the responsibility a bit.

This would also take the partisan politics out of the equation, which would be very much necessary in the first few decades of the system overall.

Again, I have no intentions of overthrowing the government. I just like to think about other ways to do things.

I just checked. As of December, John Kerry would still be minimally eligible to be Secretary of State. Seventy just isn't that old these days, is it? :)

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