Executive Cabinet

The Executive Branch

At first glace, the Executive Branch can sound intimidating with its official makeup and bravado. After all a branch that can be used to spell "execute" isn't one that seems to play games.

A good way to describe how the Executive Branch would be to use another classic American institution that has absolutely nothing to do with the subject at hand---football

Pick any team (You can use the Colts, Patriots or, for those will low self-esteem out there, the Raiders). Every team has its "star" player: the guy who can make the tough catches, deliver the big hits or throw the ball like a rocket. When the team he's on wins, fans are quick to praise the star player for his miraculous performance. However, when the team loses, the same fans are lighting their torches and looking for the player's blood.

Likewise, the Executive Branch has its star player---the President. On Team America, the President is our number one draft pick. When Team America is ripping it up on the international gridiron, Mr. President looks like a boss. However, when America goes through its dark patches, he becomes the scapegoat

However, it should be pointed out that with all teams, whether its football or government, it's never a one-man show. For every touchdown, there's usually a key block, a decoy route or an audible called by someone on the sideline. Likewise, the Executive Branch relies on the help of many vital players who have had a huge impact on America's history

The Story Behind the Executive Branch

At the end of the 18th Century, America was like a teenager who had just moved out from his parent's house. Proud to be freed from dad's (Great Britain's) strict rules, the kid found out real quick that there was more to being a grown-up that staying our past curfew. He needed to establish some self-discipline or his apartment was going to turn into a pigsty of insurrection and chaos

The kid tried to get by with a flimsy agreement between his floormates (the states) in what's known as the Articles of Confederation. He didn't want to get in the way of his floormates so he pretty much let them do what they wanted under the Articles. However, problems arose when the floormates began to run amok as well. They began to print their own money and make their own rules. Even worse, nobody could stop them

Things got really messy. Either the states would have to reach a new agreement or another landlord from another complex (a foreign country) was going to come in and evict them.

Under their new agreement, the United States Constitution, the floormates would select a leader amongst them to lead, somebody who would keep them on the straight and narrow and made sure they kept down their damn rap music at night. However, he wasn't allowed to get all up in their personal lives.

He would be Mr. President

What Does the Executive Branch Do?

There are 22 key players in the Executive Branch. Listed below are the positions with a brief description of their alloted powers

President---The President is America's boss. He acts as the head of the government and is in charge of the armed forces. He can approve (sign) or deny (veto) laws. He appoints members of his cabinet as well as the heads of federal commissions. He can forgive(pardon) those who commit federal crimes with the exception of impeachment. In the history of the United States, there have been 43 Presidents ranging from lawyers, generals, politicians and even a movie star!

Vice President---Aside from being the President's backup should he be unable to perform his duties, he serves as one of the President's closest advisers and serves the President of the Senate.

Secretary of State---The go-to source on international affairs, the Secretary of State represents the United States of diplomatic missions to foreign nations.

Secretary of Treasury---You know how America's kind of broke right now? Well, its this guys job to try and fix it.

Secretary of Defense---Decides what action our military should pursue.

Attorney General---The nation's top lawyer, he or she makes sure that all the laws of the United States are enforced.

Secretary of the Interior---Oversees natural resources as well as protect fish and wildlife.

Secretary of Agriculture---Ensures that Americans have enough food and that it's safe.

Secretary of Commerce---Tries to keep the standard of living in America on par as well as attempt to improve the quality of life within the country for all citizens.

Secretary of Labor---A tough job to have in this economy, the Secretary of Labor is charged with making sure that there are enough jobs for Americans to earn a decent wage.

Secretary of Health and Human Services---Oversees government medical programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. Also monitors health trends within the country and come up with solutions to battle diseases and pandemics.

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development---If you couldn't guess by the name, this position makes sure that Americans can obtain affordable housing.

Secretary of Transportation---This person is in charge of all means of travel (air, land and sea) within the United States

Secretary of Energy---Makes sure that America's power doesn't run out. In today's world, he or she may try to seek better and more economical solutions in terms of energy sources.

Secretary of Education---His or her prime objective is to make sure America's children aren't dummies.

Secretary of Veteran Affairs---If you served in the American military, it is this person's responsibilities to make sure that you receive your deserved benefits, such as disability, education, medical care and other costs.

Secretary of Homeland Security---Created in response to the September 11 attacks, this position is charged with making sure that our domestic life remains safe from any potential threats, both national and abroad

Chief of Staff---Often called the "second most important job in Washington," the Chief of Staff serves as the President's right hand man. He or she assists the President in executive appointments, manage his work flow and numerous other intricate tasks that help with the flow of daily life

Ambassador of the Enviornmental Protection Agency---Makes sure that America keeps it clean (in terms of the enviornment).

Director of the Office of Management and Budget---All departments of the federal branch have a certain allotment of money they are allowed to spend. The Director of OMB makes sure that the departments stay to true to the budget

U.S. Trade Representative---This person represents America's trade interests in the international arena

Ambassador to the United Nations---The name itself says it all really

Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers---The Council of Economic Advisers is essentially a composition of three economists who advise the President on the American free market. This position refers to the lead economist of that group.

What it Takes to Work in the Executive

Unlike most jobs, you donít get to be President by simply filling out an application and doing an interview with a manager. The process to become President is actually quite tedious and requires a lot of dedication and finances.

Every four years, there is an election where American citizens over the age of 18 get to choose who should be President. Although there are a plethora of candidates, there are traditionally two front runners, one representing the Republican Party and the other representing the Democratic Party (more on them later). The candidates spend months going around the country to promote their message. Each candidate selects a running mate who, should the candidate be elected, assumes the role as Vice President. Whoever gains the most votes through the electoral college (to be explained later) is called President.

Now in order to be President, you must officially be 35 years old and be an American citizen who has lived in the United States for 14 years. Along with these official guidelines, candidates are expected (although not required to) have political experience, keep a stable image and serve as a good example.

Between the time period when the candidate is elected (November) and the time he/she assumes office (January), he appoints members to his cabinet. Cabinet members have no official qualifications but should have a strong background in the field that they will be overseeing. Should he need to replace them during the course of his term, he may do so but he must have them approved by a Congressional vote.