Abolish the Presidency. It's a Useless Job.

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by James Altucher: ‘I
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We’re
all gearing up now
for the biggest extravaganza since Bristol
Palin was on Dancing With the Stars
. The Presidential Election
of 2012. Everyone is so excited! Will Obama come back from his dismal
low ratings and break the record (nobody has ever come back from
such a low rating in their first administration to win). Will Mitt
Romney or Jon Huntsman settle their Mormon differences? Will Rick
Perry win or secede from the Union? Will Michelle Bachmann release
a sex video?

We have no
idea. But we know something will happen. And lots of it. It’s
going to cost $2 billion to win this election according to the latest
pundit analysis (“pundit” “anal” and “sis”
being the key words here). There’s going to be a lot of smoking
behind closed doors. A lot of deal-making. A lot of machines are
going to kick into gear. Consultants will become rich. TV networks
and newspapers will get down on their knees and praise god they
get to survive another year thanks to the massive amounts of advertising.

Here’s
my question: What does the President even do? Do we need one?

In fact, one
step further: I think the institution of the Presidency has largely
ruined my life and the lives of most other people.

My proposal:
We don’t need a President of the United States. In fact, he’s
useless.

First off,
the Constitution doesn’t even address the powers of the Presidency
until Article II. The Founders clearly thought the legislative branch
was more important, i.e. the actual branch that creates laws, declares
wars, etc.

But,
in a prior post I’ve already written that there’s
no longer a need for a legislative branch
the way the Founders
conceived it. Times have changed and technology has driven away
all of the initial reasons for a republic-based legislative branch
so we can have a true democracy commanded by a much more informed
electorate:

Just
to summarize my prior post:
The only original reasons the founding
fathers had for an elected legislative branch (a republic instead
of a democracy) were:

A) there was
no way to transmit information quickly to the voters (now we have
the internet so everyone can actually vote and be informed)
B) the founding fathers figured only rich landowners could afford
to be congressmen (still mostly true) so that their interests above
all would be represented (again, not a true democracy but more a
bastardized distortion of one).

So now, we
could:

A) save the
$4bb in costs that
is the budget of congress each year
B) save the trillion or so in costs that are all the “you vote
for my bridge and I’ll vote for yours” pork that happens
C) save the 10s of billions in lobbying costs each year (not it
would cost 100s of billions to do the same lobbying via advertising
instead of just taking a congressman out for dinner)
D) avoid all the fear-mongering and partisanship that was caused
by the debt ceiling argument and other similar meaningless arguments
E) actually have mothers vote on whether or not to send their kids
to war.

Ok, enough
on that. [See also, why I don't vote: "Politics
is a Scam
"]

So what’s
the Presidency for?
According to the Constitution:

Wars?
Lately the President has been declaring wars. We’re in Iraq,
Afghanistan, Libya, and probably three or four other places I don’t
even know about. The only problem is, according to the Constitution,
the President is not allowed to declare wars. Only the House
is. The last war the House has actually declared (the only body
of government actually allowed to declare war) was World War II,
in 1941. And that was after 11 million people were already killed
or about to be killed. Oops! Too late!

So the President,
I guess, took “actions” in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan,
Grenada (??), and a dozen other places I would never want to step
foot in. [See also, "Name
me one war that was justified
"]

It’s such
a simple math: if you get rid of the Presidency, millions of American
children will live to be adults instead of dying on foreign soil.
And millions of civilians in other countries would be left alone.
Seems like a good deal.

Treaties.
Since 2000 there’s only been two important treaties that have
been ratified, both dealing with the US and Russia limiting nuclear
arms. This is clearly important. We don’t want people sending
around nuclear missiles at each other, which is what I guess would’ve
happened if the President of the United States didn’t figure
this all out for us. Since this is an important issue (and looks
like the ONLY important issue from an international perspective),
my guess is we can just elect some specialist in nuclear proliferation
to become the “head of nuclear treaties”. Then we, the
new legislative branch democracy, would vote on whether or not to
ratify the treaty. All good.

Guess what?
The President doesn’t really have any other power. Well, you
might say, he is

Commander
In Chief of the Military.
A couple of points: He’s not
really commander in chief. I’m not going to make fun of the
last few Presidents. But if you do the slightest bit of googling
on Clinton, Bush, and Obama, you can see that none of them are qualified
to be Commander in Chief of a Girl Scout unit, let alone the Army,
the Air Force, the Navy, etc.

Second, since
the House hasn’t declared war since 1941, what’s the big
deal about being Commander in Chief of an Army that hasn’t
legally done anything since 1941. I know, I know, we’ve been
in a lot of wars, justified or not. They are “defending my
way of life”, etc etc.

Here’s
what’s really defending my way of life. Not somebody fighting
in a jungle in Vietnam or Afghanistan but global capitalism. The
more we trade and do business and support the economic development
of third world countries, the less likely they are to want to bomb
us (which has happened once in 50 years and not by a country but
by a terrorist group that we successfully fought more through seizing
bank accounts than through military actions).

Let’s
not forget: WE CREATED Al Quaeda to fight the Russians. And
then we abandoned them: militarily and economically. Let’s
stop doing that! Bad America!

My solution:
eliminate 90% of the ground forces. Keep enough of the Air Force
around so we can retaliate if anyone really does invade us. And
keep the Navy around so we can ensure that Somalian pirates don’t
get in the way of free trade. “But what if China invades us?”
you might say. Well, I have nothing against good Chinese food but
think about it: China already has invaded us. They have $2
trillion of our dollars. We only have $80 billion of our dollars
in the US Treasury. As Bush would say, “Mission Accomplished!”

Read
the rest of the article

September
1, 2011

The
Best of James Altucher

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