- Post 15 July 2012
- By Copy Editor
Laurence Vance, Future of Freedom Foundation:
The U.S. federal government contains a myriad of agencies, bureaus, corporations, commissions, administrations, authorities, and boards organized under 15 cabinet-level, executive-branch departments headed by a secretary (or, in the case of the Justice Department, an attorney general). Although Republicans created the latest, most bloated, and most hated department (Homeland Security), they sometimes talk about eliminating or consolidating various other departments.
In his fiscal year 2013 budget proposal introduced earlier this year, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) calls for the elimination of the departments of Commerce, Education, Housing and Urban Development, and Energy.
The elimination of cabinet-level departments was a theme that surfaced in several of the Republican presidential debates. Most of the candidates expressed a desire to eliminate the Department of Education. Rick Perry said he wanted to eliminate the departments of Commerce, Education, and Energy. The most ambitious plan is that of Congressman and Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul. In his “Plan to Restore America,” Paul calls for the elimination of the departments of Education, Interior, Commerce, Energy, and Housing and Urban Development.
Although he hasn’t recommended the elimination of any of the executive-branch departments, Barack Obama has proposed a reorganization and consolidation of six major operations of the government that focus on business and trade that would affect elements of the departments of Agriculture, Health and Human Services, Interior, Labor, and the Treasury.
The following is a list of the 15 cabinet-level, executive-branch departments, along with the dates of their creation
- Department of State (1789)
- Department of the Treasury (1789)
- Department of the Interior (1849)
- Department of Agriculture (1862)
- Department of Justice (1870)
- Department of Commerce (1913)
- Department of Labor (1913)
- Department of Defense (1947)
- Department of Housing and Urban Development (1965)
- Department of Transportation (1966)
- Department of Energy (1977)
- Department of Health and Human Services (1979)
- Department of Education (1979)
- Department of Veterans Affairs (1989)
- Department of Homeland Security (2002)
The departments of Commerce and Labor were originally the Department of Commerce and Labor (1903). The Department of Defense was originally the Department of War (1789) and the Department of the Navy (1798). The departments of Education, and Health and Human Services were originally the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (1953). The Department of State was originally called the Department of Foreign Affairs. The Department of Justice was originally just the Office of the Attorney General (1789). The Postal Service existed as the cabinet-level Post Office Department from 1792 to 1971.
Does the Constitution authorize all of these departments? Does the Constitution authorize any of them? ... Continue reading the rest of this article on the Tenth Amendment Center...