Fifty-two years ago this week, his term in the White House drawing to a sad close, President Lyndon B. Johnson gathered members of his Cabinet together and delivered a strong message.

“We are now approaching the last month of this administration,” he told them. “It is neither desirable nor equitable to bind the hands of the next administration in major program areas unless there is overriding necessity to do so. We should not needlessly foreclose the options of the new administration to initiate their own program changes. It would be particularly unfair to take actions now which must be implemented over a long period of time.”