Draining the swamp is hard with so many Yertle the Turtles

One of Dr. Seuss’ popular children books has a lesson for us all and a few have called it an important business book. Briefly, “Yertle the Turtle” is about a leader named Yertle who stands on the backs of his servant turtles to see his realm. Yet, as the stack grows, he continues to ignore the complaints of Mack the turtle on the very bottom. Of course, the stack falls and Yertle comes tumbling down. The moral to the story is not hard to decipher.

I mention this swamp example because the President was elected, in part, because he was going to drain the swamp. Setting aside why people believed an imperial man would deign to do basic things for the masses, what he has done is appoint people to be his Department secretaries whom are also used to nice things. He hired a bunch of Yertles making it hard to drain the swamp standing on the backs of others.

At least five of his cabinet members have come under fire for lavish expenditures on the taxpayers’ dime. HHS Secretary Tom Price resigned over his frequent desire to travel with charter flights. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is still on the job, but took seven military flights costing $800,000, one of which was coincidental to a city in the path of the recent solar eclipse (a certain Carly Simon song lyric comes to mind in “You’re so vain.”)

HUD Secretary Ben Carson has been the quietest of appointees until it was learned he was installing palatial furniture totalling $165,000 in his office. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is also traveling well being $200,000 over budget robbing from emergency funds to pay for it.

Not to be outdone, EPA Director Scott Pruiit also likes to travel well and goes with  an entourage. Part of that is due to security reasons as he does not care for people reminding him his role is to protect the environment, not business. But, he is getting flak for his devious way to provide lucrative raises to two key staffers (and then deny it) and renting a luxury condo from a fossil fuel lobbyist at a very favorable rate. It should be noted that several Mack the turtles were reassigned when they complained of ethical concerns in the EPA.

These Yertles have always liked nice things, but so does their boss. His predecessor took a huge amount of grief for his travels and golfing. Yet, that has been dwarfed by the biggest Yertle in the White House who does not spend much time there as it is actually a step down in luxury to him. That speaks volumes.

It is hard to drain the swamp when you have so many Yertles doing the draining. And, this is without even considering the measures taking by these men to grease the skids for business reducing regulations, selling off rights to public lands and providing a huge tax cut. The friends of the Yertles are Yertles as well. Unfortunately, the Macks of the world only matter as props in this value enhancement for the Yertles. Not much is trickling down, just the opportunity for the Macks to stick their nose in the mud.




20 thoughts on “Draining the swamp is hard with so many Yertle the Turtles

  1. Having so little time online, I always appreciate your summaries like this one. Yes, the excessive spending is a shameful waste, even if they were spending their own money – our leaders should set examples, and that money could benefit so many other people – or our rapidly-vanishing species, but it seems that few leaders seem to care about our fellow man – or the health of our planet. Thank you, Keith.

    • Lisa, thanks. It reminded when Reverend Jim Bakker of the PTL Club defended his lavish spending with the comment “The Lord wanted me to have nice things.” Yes, but he didn’t say I had to pay for them. He went to jail for bilking his followers. These Yertles are not leading by example. Keith

      • Although I’ll have more access to internet, there’s a health crisis for a family close to my heart.. late last night i read topics of interest, and there were so many stories/stats about the vanishing species (2016 report that covers the decline over the past 40 years..) and the troubling ‘red flags’ of Antarctica’s ice sheet melt and the changes of the jet stream, etc… and I’m still scratching my head trying to figure out why the sun wasn’t overhead at noon on the equinox… perhaps it’s the overspending that’s thrown the planet physically off balance?!

      • the 2016 wwf report states: ” The LPI, which measures trends in thousands of populations of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish across the globe shows a decline of 58 per cent between 1970 and 2012. ” – and is complete with graphs and backup data.

      • Lisa, best wishes for the family with whom you are concerned. On the environmental front, these numbers are alarming. Sadly, groups like the Sierra Club had a good percentage of Conservative voters. Now, protection the environment has been associated with anti-business. I tell people I am a tree hugger and a capitalist as they are not mutually exclusive. Keith

  2. Dear Keith,

    If any of these guys worked in a publicly traded company, they would have been ousted ages ago. The executives have a board and stockholders to answer to for this level of foolish spending. But these guys will have to answer to the taxpayers who do vote and they don’t like this kind of foolish spending of tax monies.

    When the GOP in congress do not stand up against this level of corruption, they are signing their own pink slips which will becoming due, soon.

    Mr. Pruitt tops the list. This is how I know that the White house’s excuse for firing the VA secretary David Shulkin was a complete fabrication.

    Hugs, Gronda

    • Gronda, did you get a chance to watch the link to Pruitt’s back stroking on a Fox interview. His and other stories do not hold up. As for Pruitt, he did a Trump thing and threw his assistant under the bus on the raise issue. It is amazing Teflon Don escapes criticisms over his high rolling Cabinet. Keith

  3. I love seeing that you, too, compare him to Yertle the Turtle! I actually sent him a copy of that book at the very beginning of his tenure, for even then I knew how it would be. I doubt he read it, though. The swamp is backing up, for the drain became clogged about 15 months ago and no plumber is on site to unclog it. Sigh. Good post, Keith!

    • Jill, great work on the book forwarding. The Donald likes nice things. By itself, that is not bad, but his history has been one of exploiting the Mack’s. He is not the kind of person that will guard your back. Keith

      • I’m feeling like one of the Macks these days, as I imagine most of us are. No, he won’t guard our back, but he wouldn’t hesitate to shoot us in the back, given half a chance. And the very ones we rely on to protect us from that are in his court, cheering him on, for their fortunes are tied to his.

      • Jill, from one Mack to another, the Donald is all talk. Yes, the stock market and economy did well last year and reducing some regs helped with the momentum, yet he inherited a pretty good economy on its 92 consecutive month of growth, a more than doubled stock market over the previous eight years and six consecutive years of 2 million plus job growth. To his credit, he continued it – it was not due to the tax bill which went into effect 1/1/2018.

        By saying the numbers were inflated during his campaign his followers think all this changed when he was sworn in – they are the same good numbers measured in the same way. We Macks need to understand what is real and what is window dressing. This President is more about perception. Keith

      • Hey there, fellow Mack! Funny, isn’t it, that Yertle has taken credit for much that transpired during Obama’s tenure, and now tonight he blames Obama for al-Assad’s atrocities. My friend … I am so incredibly tired and sad. I don’t know if I can do this anymore.

      • Jill, we will probably both end up on an enemies list. Keep on speaking the truth as it will eventually find its way out. Keith

  4. Note to Readers: It was reported this weekend that Pruitt’s security detail is costing taxpayers $3 million. I recognize these guys need protection, but I also believe part of the special travel arrangements are due to avoiding the regular folks and media given their many decisions.

    It should be noted that Pruitt got his second nod of approval from his boss. Since these come before the Sunday talk shows, will the boss still love him on Monday.

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