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What is the President’s Job?

Presidential candidates make a lot of promises they cannot keep… but mostly because what they promise is not the job of the President!

Key Points

Is there a way to save America and ensure justice and freedom for all? There is… if you are willing to rethink and rebuild the entire Constitution!

This article is an excerpt from the book NEW & IMPROVED: THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. Learn more at https://www.jpprag.com

Time to watch the Presidential debates again!

One candidate is promising a fix to immigration, one with the ultimate tax policy, one ready with a plan for healthcare, and yet another one the answer to our infrastructure woes. They all have interesting positions, some that you agree with and others you vehemently oppose. Listening to each candidate, you make a decision on which one is going to create or modify the functions of government the way you desire them to go. But there is one small problem in that decision:

That is not the job of the President.

Almost everything Presidential candidates and active Presidents talk about is really the job of Congress. Changes to social programs, taxes, protections, illegal acts, immigration, wages… almost everything you can imagine is all within Congress’s purview. Sure, the President has traditionally set an agenda that they would like Congress to follow, but Congress is under no obligation to follow that roadmap. In actuality, Congress is directed to be the check on the Executive Branch and make sure that the President and all of the departments under his authority are following the mandate as they have set out.

One might ask, then, what is the President of the United States truly responsible for?

Well, the Constitution gives the President very few duties at all. In total for all of Article 2 of the Constitution (plus Amendments that impact Article 2), here is everything the President is supposed to do:

And… that is it. Other than that, it is just what is the checks on Congress with Veto power and withdrawing funds from the Treasury to pay for the things Congress has approved.

What is not in there or anywhere else in the Constitution is “Executive Orders”, or at least not the way we think about them. Orders from the President are needed so that he can do his job, namely because “he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed”. In other words, for Laws and the Constitution to be executed the President must send out commands to other administrators and departments to give them a process or have them follow the law. If Congress’s law or the Constitution is lacking, sending an order can fall in this bucket as a clarification.

Even first President George Washington submitted Executive Orders, with his first in 1789; although all that order did was tell the executive departments to submit a written report which is basically what Article 2, Section 2, Clause 1, Sentence 1b says is the President’s job and right. As time has moved on — and especially starting in the early 20th century — the number of Executive Orders has drastically increased. Part of that is the President has taken on the role of “Agenda Setter” and is seemingly establishing the pace for what Congress should work on and what the rest of the agencies of the government should be doing. The mass bureaucracy that has grown out of the wars of the 20th century has carte blanche control to make rules of their own and act as if those are “law” even though the Constitution is very clear that only Congress can make law.

But how did the President and the rest of the Executive Branch get this power? The only answer is that Congress ceded responsibility through a combination of neglecting their duties and purposely handing them away. Party politics have made it worse because, as shown in the prior section, each group is just waiting until they have both houses of Congress and the Presidency to pass into law what they desire and do not want to slow down for any reason. Congress and the President are loyal to their party first and the nation second, and they are trying to work together as a team to do the bidding of the party.

As noted previously, having a healthy separation of powers and not ceding responsibility is an important check and balance, as is making sure no party can dominate both the legislature and the Executive Branch at the same time. The changes before this to Congress would leave a world where not only could no single party force a policy, but the existing laws would come up for review in short order and Congress could retake the powers it has given away.

Right now, the President can do many things that he should not be able to do like set tariffs, deploy the military in foreign lands, completely change the directions of federal agencies on a whim or new election, spy on American citizens, and many more. Each new Congress fails to reign in the Executive Branch because it is not in their best interests of their personal political careers. That is not to say there are not legislators who have not attempted or do not want to do this, just that they cannot given the current makeup of Congress.

What we have done to this point is hopefully create a legislature that can regain all their powers and restore the balance that was intended in the Constitution. Now then, we must do the same to the Executive Branch through a variety of changes that accomplish the following goals:

At the end of the day, the changes to Congress will still make a greater impact, but the Executive Branch deserves a compliment of changes all its own. More than all that, though, is making sure the people of the United States are a part of the election process, and they will not feel that way unless specific Amendments are made to make sure their voice is heard in the election of the President and all other positions.

TO BE CONTINUED…

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Over 15 years as a consultant, solutions architect, and trusted partner for some of the largest organizations in the world. Learn more at https://www.jpprag.com

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