EVER HEAR of "The Plum Book?"
It's so named for its color. But I like to think it's named for its content: a listing of plum political jobs - in the current edition some 9,000.
It's published after every presidential election since the 1950s so the victor's supporters and donors hungry for spoils can, in essence, review the menu.
It's got everything from cabinet slots to ambassadorships to deputy secretaries and low-level assistants in the White House and more than 170 agencies, offices, commissions, boards and authorities.
This year's book is out this week thanks to the U.S. Government Publishing Office and your tax dollars. And, good news, it lists about 2,000 more jobs than eight years ago before President Obama took office.
(Feel free to gripe about politically appointed government growth.)
There are many career, civil service and part-time slots unlikely to turn over. The Washington Post quotes transition experts saying the real number up for grabs is 4,100. But all 9,000 are jobs a president can fill. Or dissolve?
Given President-elect Donald Trump's view of bureaucracy, perhaps the book never will be this size again, or never printed again, or become Trump's directory for draining the swamp.
For now, it's a 226-page paperback titled "Policy and Supporting Positions" but better known as "The Plum Book." It's for sale at the publishing office's D.C. bookstore or through the store's website for $41.
Though one might question why it's printed and/or sold since you can read it online for free at www.govinfo.gov.
And what a read it is!
It's a wide-angle view of a patronage paradise. It offers insight to government's scope, cost and redundancy while showing only a fraction of 2.8 million federal employees.
Pay scales range from $43,000 for a lowly aide to $205,700 for executive-level officials. And there's a ton of the latter.
Some jobs you might like. Others, I feel fairly certain, might not be around for long.
Perhaps you'd be tempted by something on the International Joint Commission. (It's not what you think. It has to do with water and Canada.) Just don't confuse it with the International Boundary and Water Commission. Or the International Boundary Commission: United States and Canada. Different commissions, see?
How about the Arctic Research Commission? The Marine Mammal Commission? Or, if you're a certain age, the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board?
There's a big-pay Commerce post: Executive Director for Trade Agreements Policy and Negotiation. But that sounds like something Trump will do.
There's a six-figure gig in Education: Director of Forecasting and Policy Analysis. Just consider the forecast for that department looks grim.
Here's a good one: Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Water and Science. It pays up to $200,000. Everybody likes water. Even Trump's starting to like science. And it might not mean much work. There's also a Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Water and Science AND a Deputy Assistant Secretary for Water and Science. So bring two friends - at $185,100 per.
HUD's Chief Human Capital Officer gets up to $160,300. (Too P.C. for Trump?)
And there are nearly 200 ambassadorships. I can think of a few folks I'd like to see posted to Burkina Faso. It's in West Africa. The rainy season lasts four months.
I'd be a little uneasy if I worked for the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. Or the EPA. And I'm not sure the Office of Government Ethics does well.
But I'll be interested to see how a guy who ran and won a presidential campaign with, what, five people, reacts to the number of jobs he gets to fill or kill.
Who knows? If he sees "The Plum Book," he might just go plumb loco.