I wrote earlier about the duties of the Vice President as explained in the Constitution. So I figured it would be a good time to do the same with the President’s duties. Here is a breakdown of the duties and powers of the President of the United States, as outlined in the Constitution, specifically Article II, Sections 2 and 3:

  • Veto laws passed by Congress
  • Commander in Chief of the military
  • May require in writing the opinion of any of the heads of the Executive departments
  • Grant pardons and reprieves for any crime other than impeachment
  • Make treaties with foreign nations, subject to the Senate then ratifying the treaty
  • Appoint ambassadors, judges, and other appointments, subject to the Senate consent
  • Make appointments when the Senate is recessed
  • Deliver the State of the Union address
  • Recommend laws he’d like to see passed
  • Convene and adjourn the House or Senate
  • Receive Ambassadors or Ministers, like heads of state
  • Take care that all the laws are faithfully executed
  • Commission all officers of the United States

Those are the President’s duties. If you see the President doing something that’s not in that list, it is something he has taken on beyond what is called for in the Constitution. For example, where does it say that the President needs to work on the economy of the nation? Where does it say the President needs to institute state-funded health care? Both of these fall under the category of recommending laws he’d like to see passed. But while the President may propose anything he’d like, Congress is limited to what they are allowed to pass. Article I Section 8 expressly states what Congress may pass, and neither the economy nor health care are in any of the items.

I have a simple proposal to solving our recession woes in three easy steps:

  • Drop the current corporate tax rate from the high rate of 35% to 10%.
  • Cut in half the capital gains tax rate for everyone.
  • Cut in half the income tax rate for everyone.

I choose these three steps based on the principle that you get more of what you reward, and less of what you punish. In each three cases, taxes punish business, investing, and working. By dropping the tax rates on all three, the punishment will be less, so the activity by the people will be more. If these three steps were taken today, the economy would go into overdrive almost instantly.

“But a lower tax rate means the government will get less money!” Really? Good! If we as a family or business have money problems, we respond by cutting back expenses. Government should do the same. Instead, government has responded by ramping up the spending. If you are up to your eye-balls in debt, does it make sense to max out even more credit cards for additional things you don’t need? In hard times, the government should be spending less, not more.

A trillion dollars spent here, a trillion dollars spent there. When will the government stop spending huge amounts of our money?

In 1916, William J. H. Bötcker published a pamphlet titled The Ten Cannots. Ninety-three years later, these words are well worth repeating:

  • You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
  • You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
  • You cannot help little men by tearing down big men.
  • You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
  • You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
  • You cannot establish sound security on borrowed money.
  • You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
  • You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn.
  • You cannot build character and courage by destroying men’s initiative and independence.
  • And you cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they can and should do for themselves.

The above text is taken from the Wikipedia article on Bötcker. The version sent to me was mistakenly attributed to Abraham Lincoln and was missing the third and sixth lines, but they are needed to bring the count up to ten.

The Ten Cannots should also be posted in every office in the government to remind them that there are things they cannot do.

At 8:30pm today, people panicking over the concept of climate change proposed pulling the plug for an hour. I have a simple response — Screw you, hippies! I’m running my dryer!

Earth Hour, as this is called, is a meaningless bit of feel-goodery with the goal of raising awareness of global warming climate change. In actuality, it will accomplish little. Those who are already in the camp of human-caused climate change will not have their feelings changed. And those of us who don’t buy the propaganda will likewise not have our position changed.

I heard a brief sound bite on the radio that astounded me. Here’s what it was as best I can remember:

“The science is settled. Global warming is real. Humans are causing it, and we can fix it.”

Boy howdy, talk about whoppers! First, the science is far from settled. Science is never settled. Second, the Earth has cooled off after decades of warming up. If you have noticed, the warning cries of evil global warming have morphed into the bête noire of climate change, which is so much more useful. Whether the global temperature goes up or down, they may point to the change and proclaim their prediction of global climate change have come true. Third, if you think that climate change is caused by mankind’s actions, particularly CO2, then check out the following greenhouse gases graphic:

Greenhouse gases

So, 3.4% of 3.62% of 2% of the Earth’s atmosphere is human-caused CO2. Doing the math, that comes up to slightly more than 0.002% of the Earth’s atmosphere is human-caused CO2. Tell me again, how are we responsible for the Earth’s warming up when our CO2 comprises two thousandths of a percent of the atmosphere? That’s a single penny out of fifty dollars. It doesn’t make sense that that 0.002% of greenhouse gases is the cause of global climate change when CO2 levels have been much higher in the past. Humanity isn’t the cause of global warming; the cause is the sun. To believe that mankind is the cause of global warming is to fall prey to a combination of ignorance and hubris.

And fourth, since humanity isn’t the cause of global warming (or global cooling), then there isn’t any need for humanity to fix that which humanity isn’t causing.

But let’s turn off our lights for an hour in a meaningless gesture to ask for a useless fix for a problem we aren’t even causing. Yeah, that’s really important.

Here is a very interesting graph published in the Washington Post about the past 9 years and the upcoming decade of debt.


The graph is a comparison of the Congressional Budget Office and the White House Office of Management and Budget numbers. You can see that the 2008 deficit is over $400 billion, almost certainly due to the last minute government “fix” that has worked so well. When asked about his drunken-sailor spending in a recent press conference, President Obama put the blame on President Bush:

Chip Reid: Thank you, Mr. President.

At both of your town hall meetings in California last week, you said, quote, “I didn’t run for president to pass on our problems to the next generation.”

But under your budget, the debt will increase $7 trillion over the next 10 years. The Congressional Budget Office says $9.3 trillion. And today on Capitol Hill, some Republicans called your budget, with all the spending on health care, education and environment, the most irresponsible budget in American history.

Isn’t that kind of debt exactly what you were talking about when you said passing on our problems to the next generation?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: First of all, I suspect that some of those Republican critics have a short memory, because as I recall, I’m inheriting a $1.3 trillion deficit, annual deficit, from them. [emphasis added - CM]

You are inheriting a $1.3 trillion deficit?!? Big fat bull patooties, President! The Democrats in power are spending money with all the self-restraint of an alcoholic in a brewery. But it’s not his fault. Oh, no. It’s all the fault of those eeeeevil Republicans. I have this mental image of a father chewing out his kid for spilling his sippy-cup on the floor when right next to it is the father’s spilled 96-ounce Uber-Gulp.

I have to admit that I can’t think of any new program or spending put forth by this administration that I can support, but I’m sure there must be some that both make sense and are actually constitutionally specified.

But there is a new government spending program I could support 100%. Recently Senator Jim DeMint spoke on the floor of the Senate about the Serve America Act1, and he made the following comment:

Unfortunately, our history shows us when Government gets involved, it tends to take something that is working and make it not work nearly as well. Civil society works because it is everything Government is not. It is small, it is personal, it is responsive, it is accountable. Civil society must be protected from any effort to make it more like Government.

I could fully support the government placing these words in a large frame in every government office across this land to remind every elected office-holder, every appointed official, and every faceless flunky in the bureaucracy that government meddling in civil affairs only makes things worse.

If these words succeeded in reining in the expansion of government into every sector of our lives, it would be money well worth spending.


1 “It’s a cookbook!”