Abolish the Presidency. It’s a Useless Job.

presidents

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?

(really?)

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.

(the best and the brightest?)

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“]

(thank god we ripped this little place to shreds to defend my way of life)

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!”

(the leaders of China. Say Hello to them)

Laws: From the Constitution:  “He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient;”

I totally forgot about that. He can RECOMMEND things to us. He can have OPINIONS. That’s amazing!

How can I forget that? Like he can recommend the Department of Education which, since it’s creation, the US has gone from #1 in the world in education to #18. Or he can recommend that Fannie Mae reduce their lending standards so that more people can afford homes (eventually causing the housing bust, financial crisis, etc). My guess is, we’d all be better off if the President watched back episodes of Snooki on Jersey Shore all day instead of recommending things.

Instead, lets have a digg or reddit-style system where people recommend things, back it up with essays, facts, etc and have people rank the recommendations. Then the top 100 ideas ranked gets voted on by…the legislative branch, which is now the direct electorate instead of a bunch of buffoons we elect who don’t really represent our interests.

Supreme Court. He can recommend judges to the Supreme Court that the House has to then ratify. Again, I propose a digg-like system where judges present their credentials and the 150mm non-children in the United States vote them up or down and when we need a new Supreme Court Justice we decide which, of the top 10 should be that justice. And we do it through voting. Why should Supreme Court Justices be judges for life? Same system should be made for Ambassadors.

Finally, the LAST THING, the President can do. He can throw parties! That’s right. This is in Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution. When a visiting Ambassador comes and visits us, the President is allowed to throw a party to greet him. There’s usually a very nice dinner. Then a dance. Then maybe a movie or a show. And a receiving line where lots of people can spread germs kissing each other and shaking hands. And everyone dresses in tuxedos. Why do we need a President to do it? How about Martha Stewart? Or that other lady on the Food Channel.  Or Wolfgang Puck. I nominate Wolfgang Puck for party-thrower.

There’s’ nothing else the President can do legally. All of the other stuff is artificial. He can go to funerals. He can create new cabinet level departments (Education, HUD, etc) that require massive buildings, budgets, and takes away people from private industry to give them sinecure BS jobs that last forever.  I guess he runs the CIA so we can spy on people. Like how we spied on people so we avoided 9/11. Errr..

(Should the President watch Snooki? Or C-Span?)

FAQ:

I need an immediate FAQ here to answer the obvious questions:

Won’t this lead to Anarchy or a potential military coup?

I’m just recommending getting rid of one man (and the entire mega bureaucracy that supports him.) The US runs just fine whenever the President doesn’t get in the way. We could’ve avoided the housing crisis, the wars, the massive inflationary budgets and debts, etc. We have governors and local police forces to deal with anarchy. And since I’m also suggesting massive de-militarization (since we haven’t had a legal war since 1941) that avoids the chances of any military coup.

Who will veto stuff?  Isn’t the President there to check Congress?

Obama has vetoed 2 laws during his administration. W vetoed an entire 11 laws in 8 years, 6 of which were overridden and/or passed with minor changes. So that’s an easy one: either let the Supreme Court override stuff (which they do anyway if they deem a law “unconstitutional”) or let the people override.

What else does the President do? Doesn’t he do anything?   

No, constitutionally he does nothing more. In all of the Amendments to the Constitution that came later, the only important one dealing with the President and his powers is Amendement 22 which LIMITs the power of the Presidency by saying a President can serve no more than two terms. They did this because Roosevelt, on many occasions, tried to take too much power away from the people, the states, and the Constitution, during his three and a half terms. So, Congress and the States, correctly, limited the powers of the Presidency so that a single man can only run havoc throwing parties for two terms instead of infinite.

If we had a “true democracy” wouldn’t 51% of the people vote to pay themselves out of the government Treasury?

Duh, that ALREADY happened and nobody stopped it. 51% of the country is on some form of unemployment or other government handouts. Most of those handouts created by Presidential “special actions”.  Rather than taxing the middle class (the upper classes will always figure out how to avoid taxes. It’s hard to touch them) why don’t we figure out incentives for the 6 million private businesses to simply hire one more person each. That would completely solve unemployment, would feed millions of people, and create a culture of ambition that would lead to a true trickle down effect. The dollars are already in the system. Every less dollar spent by the public sector will, by definition, be spent in the private sector. Let’s get some smart people on this already instead of having the President just write checks to everyone.

Well, What about the Vice-President? Do we get rid of him also?

Of course not! Someone needs to go to the funerals of dead Kings of other countries. That’s a real boring job.  Do you want to stare in the coffins of a lot of dead people and pretend to look somber during the funeral? If someone is willing to do that, then by all means give it to them.  In fact, sign me up.

(I hereby declare that I am entering the race for VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES)

 

Enjoyed This Post? Get Free Updates

  • Bill Walker

    You don’t need government “incentives” for hiring… if the President and Fed couldn’t start illegal wars and give out corporate welfare, the economy would run fine by itself. It wouldn’t be safe for unemployed people to walk down the street, they’d be kidnapped and hired immediately.

    Ron Paul is the only candidate who knows the President can’t declare war…

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      I agree. Seems like no President since maybe Calvin Coolidge has read the Constitution.

      • Bill Walker

        Even Coolidge let the Fed inflate like crazy without opposing them… people didn’t notice inflation in the 20s because productivity was going up, but inflation still causes malinvestment.

        Maybe we should get rid of more than just the Prez… I notice the wealthy don’t use government schools, health care, or even courts. Maybe they have a good idea there:

         http://www.lewrockwell.com/walker/walker43.1.html

      • Bill Walker

        Even Coolidge let the Fed inflate like crazy without opposing them… people didn’t notice inflation in the 20s because productivity was going up, but inflation still causes malinvestment.

        Maybe we should get rid of more than just the Prez… I notice the wealthy don’t use government schools, health care, or even courts. Maybe they have a good idea there:

         http://www.lewrockwell.com/walker/walker43.1.html

        • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

          Highways, hospitals, colleges, bus routes, etc can all be sold by the government to pay down debt. No state would be in debt if they did that. And the taxes that would be generated to the US govt would go a long way towards lowering personal taxes.

        • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

          Highways, hospitals, colleges, bus routes, etc can all be sold by the government to pay down debt. No state would be in debt if they did that. And the taxes that would be generated to the US govt would go a long way towards lowering personal taxes.

      • David

        Hi James,

        It seems like you want to modify the constitution to your liking but as soon as others do the same you complain.

        • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

          Well, that’s the point. I want to modify it to my liking because I think my view is the best way of looking at it, as opposed to other views. That’s the point.

          • Anonymous

            Well, that’s the point. I want to modify it to my liking because I think
            my view is the best way of looking at it, as opposed to other views.
            That’s the point.

            James, I have always felt that one of the themes of our blog is finding ways to free the mind from pain and suffering. But how can I be free if I live in a society where people use politics, i.e., institutionalized violence, to control others? All you’re suggesting here is that what you believe should be enforced via politics over the lives of others. There is no freedom in this worldview, but only more pain and suffering.

          • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

            I think in the practical execution of what I’m suggesting there are very few laws that would be enabled beyond the local level. And then people would be able to move if they didn’t like their local laws.

        • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

          Well, that’s the point. I want to modify it to my liking because I think my view is the best way of looking at it, as opposed to other views. That’s the point.

        • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

          Well, that’s the point. I want to modify it to my liking because I think my view is the best way of looking at it, as opposed to other views. That’s the point.

        • Bill Walker

          There’s a difference between Amending the Constitution, versus just VIOLATING the Constitution as most of the current government apparatus does. The Drug War is nowhere to be found in the Constitution, neither are Presidential wars, neither is a government-backed check-kiting ring that prints money and gives it to their friends.

          If the current government were submitted as an amendment to the Constitution it would be voted down instantly.

        • Bill Walker

          There’s a difference between Amending the Constitution, versus just VIOLATING the Constitution as most of the current government apparatus does. The Drug War is nowhere to be found in the Constitution, neither are Presidential wars, neither is a government-backed check-kiting ring that prints money and gives it to their friends.

          If the current government were submitted as an amendment to the Constitution it would be voted down instantly.

          • Gil

            How is an Amendment any different?  The 18th Amendment meant the “war” on alcohol was legal – a concept more vile to Libertarians.

        • Bill Walker

          There’s a difference between Amending the Constitution, versus just VIOLATING the Constitution as most of the current government apparatus does. The Drug War is nowhere to be found in the Constitution, neither are Presidential wars, neither is a government-backed check-kiting ring that prints money and gives it to their friends.

          If the current government were submitted as an amendment to the Constitution it would be voted down instantly.

      • David

        Hi James,

        It seems like you want to modify the constitution to your liking but as soon as others do the same you complain.

      • David

        Hi James,

        It seems like you want to modify the constitution to your liking but as soon as others do the same you complain.

  • http://twitter.com/sai_india Sai

    I agree with you completely. Why to give so much power to a normal human and cry foul later, and lets not forget To ERR is HUMAN and its nature is so volatile. Great article

  • http://twitter.com/sai_india Sai

    I agree with you completely. Why to give so much power to a normal human and cry foul later, and lets not forget To ERR is HUMAN and its nature is so volatile. Great article

  • Anonymous

    E) actually have mothers vote on whether or not to send their kids to war.

    Not just their own kids, but also someone else’s kids too!! James, the problem is precisely democracy. No one has the right to control my life or your life no matter how many people vote to do so.

    Unless you can work through this contradiction I think that the rest of your proposals are academic.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      My point is we’d never declare war again. Because nobody would ever agree to send our kids to a pointless war in some country nobody cares about.

      • Anonymous

        Yes, I get your tactical point but parents do not have the moral authority to vote for such things in the first place. You see the difference, right?

      • Steven L Goff

        “Because nobody would ever agree to send our kids to a pointless war in some country nobody cares about. ”

        I do not agree w/ this statement whatsoever. For the sole fact you cant see what may or may not evolve from what you dream of james. A society who is so interconnect making their own choices in society. More people have died in wars in the history of humanity over religious differences than anything else. How do you know that mass connection you speak of wont ultimately lead to a new form of religion in this world and the Great War be fought over that in future.

        ”It may be that our role on this planet is not a worship God, but to create IT”~Sir Arthur Charles Clarke

        …That’s an interesting concept when you think of the harnessed collective consciousness the Internet has brought to our species….yes? And the never ending exponential advancements in technology and where that will take us with regards to religion.

        The Almighty Voice From Above…might someday be the best of our collective gene pool who emigrated off of this planet either in the future or in it’s past.

        May the Force be with you!……LOL

      • Steven L Goff

        “Because nobody would ever agree to send our kids to a pointless war in some country nobody cares about. ”

        I do not agree w/ this statement whatsoever. For the sole fact you cant see what may or may not evolve from what you dream of james. A society who is so interconnect making their own choices in society. More people have died in wars in the history of humanity over religious differences than anything else. How do you know that mass connection you speak of wont ultimately lead to a new form of religion in this world and the Great War be fought over that in future.

        ”It may be that our role on this planet is not a worship God, but to create IT”~Sir Arthur Charles Clarke

        …That’s an interesting concept when you think of the harnessed collective consciousness the Internet has brought to our species….yes? And the never ending exponential advancements in technology and where that will take us with regards to religion.

        The Almighty Voice From Above…might someday be the best of our collective gene pool who emigrated off of this planet either in the future or in it’s past.

        May the Force be with you!……LOL

      • Anonymous

        BTW, James, where is the evidence that “we” would never vote to send our kids to war? Every war in US history has had the considerable support of moms and dads, even when it meant that their own kids would have to fight. I think you underestimate the power of propaganda and the madness of crowds.

        In any case, the moral dilemma posed by your solution to war stands unresolved here.

        • Not the real bob barker

          I think you’ll find Mickeyhell that those parents that support the war are those whose kids are able to afford to go to college…
          Say that to the latino from mission st, the only chance at graduating from college is to get one via the army, same goes for a black kid from south central, asian kid from sunset, white kid from rural area.Indian from najavoe….My friends son was there and every night as a parent he went to bed shaking like a leaf. In fact for days on end he would turn off his cell phone so he could not receive a phone call if the worse did happen. Another friend had a son and a nephew there at the same time, the nephew didn’t come back.These parents and what they went through are wide spread throughout USA and you’re telling us that “every war had the considerable support of moms and dads”

          Maybe in your circle of friends parents support these wars but there is a bigger world outside.

          • Fubar

            This is why the defense establishment hires lots of mercenaries.

      • Anonymous

        BTW, James, where is the evidence that “we” would never vote to send our kids to war? Every war in US history has had the considerable support of moms and dads, even when it meant that their own kids would have to fight. I think you underestimate the power of propaganda and the madness of crowds.

        In any case, the moral dilemma posed by your solution to war stands unresolved here.

      • http://twitter.com/scrobTV scrobTV

        Maybe it would be enough to let people know that 25-33% of women in the US Army (according to their own probably lowered estimates) get raped or otherwise sexually abused by their male fellow soldiers. Who would tell their daughter it’s a good idea to join that club? I don’t see how more voting power would change something that obviously problematic. It’s a lack of knowledge due to a lack of reports on the topic.

  • Patrick

    sinecure!! I learned a new word. Thanks James.

  • Anthony Bynoe

    How about a crowdsourced democracy?

    • Fubar

      how about a mobsourced mobocracy?

    • Fubar

      how about a mobsourced mobocracy?

  • Anonymous

    Yes, the Constitution hasn’t been followed in a long time. I advocate a new Constitutional Convention when the subject of politics comes up. Come up with something that works, something we haven’t perverted beyond all recognition and then “hold sacred”.  It no longer has the effect of law. Not even sure it’s still a guideline. And at the end of the day, the founding fathers were, above all things, PRAGMATIC. We’ve lost that somewhere along the way.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_G7W7BRK25PMITFB4LQFXLFJOWU JohnL

      There was always supposed to be a second Constitutional Convention;we should have one.Those in power would do all they can to prevent this from happening as they would never have power again.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_G7W7BRK25PMITFB4LQFXLFJOWU JohnL

      There was always supposed to be a second Constitutional Convention;we should have one.Those in power would do all they can to prevent this from happening as they would never have power again.

      • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

        That’s a truly great idea. Given the new technologies that have developed, there is no better time than now for a new constitutional convention. Starting from scratch on the initial articles and Bill of Rights.

        • Anonymous

          Its one of those dicussions that doesn’t usually go well, so I’d bet this one is a non starter. Nonetheless, the document is “dead” in the sense that there’s no real possibility of a Federalist system with the states receiving more than half thier $$ from the Federal Govt. We hold it “sacred” but it has really become meaningless.

        • Fubar

          new technologies are just a easy to manipulate as old ones (hanging chad).

          if your intention is merely to create a universe that revolves around James Altucher, then I think everyone would agree with that worthy and noble objective.

        • Fubar

          new technologies are just a easy to manipulate as old ones (hanging chad).

          if your intention is merely to create a universe that revolves around James Altucher, then I think everyone would agree with that worthy and noble objective.

      • Fubar

        those currently in power would control the process and make things even worse than they are now, hard as that is to believe.

        recent history shows clearly that most americans are conditioned to respond to fear, which is easily created without supporting facts or rational analysis, in the mass media.

        Currently, the sheeple are willing to be fleeced on a regular basis in exchange for the “protection” of the shepherds (corporate plutocrats and their minions).

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_G7W7BRK25PMITFB4LQFXLFJOWU JohnL

      There was always supposed to be a second Constitutional Convention;we should have one.Those in power would do all they can to prevent this from happening as they would never have power again.

  • http://harrietmay.com Harriet May

    I will vote for you for VICE PRESIDENT!  Oh, no, I won’t.  I’m not a US citizen because my application was rejected for going to college in England.  Ok so technically it was for spending too many days out of the country in the past 5 years.  First I must pay my $700 to apply (again).  Well I guess someone’s gotta pay for the smoked salmon hors d’oeuvres at those big parties.  (Look at us silly Europeans, paying $700 to give up free health care.)

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Well, who cares if the government accepts your vote. I ACCEPT IT. And at my Vice-Presidential Inauguration party there will be smoked salmon hors d’oeuvres all over the place. And there will be free health care at the party. But only for people who get hurt there.

      • https://www.coldhardcode.com/ Jay Shirley

        That sounds like the best party ever. I’m RSVPing now!

      • Fubar

        I would suggest that any Aussies that get Very Drunk, are then hurt copulating with your home appliances, should not receive free health care. You already know what they are planning on doing with the fish.

      • Sarah

        Ironically it’s people just like you that politics need.. those who fucking hate it and want to put it on its ear.

        Oh and you must be really good at making friends with all your middle of the road, status quo views. ;p

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_UTGKOUQMYRSS2LFT2EZHDH5EOI J.

    Um, Supreme Court justices are confirmed by the Senate, not the House.  The power to declare war rests with both houses of congress, not the House alone.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Well, the House hasn’t declared one since 1941. What i’m suggesting is getting rid of both houses and letting a true democracy exist, without a president to govern them.

      • Fubar

        awesome. also abolish corporations and all government support for big business. and get rid of Iowa – maybe see if we can give it to Canada?

        Florida could go to Cuba, they probably originally owned it anyway.

        does anyone else have any states they would like to get rid of?

  • Chris Gabel

    Don’t you think we should send Snooki to the funerals? Just think what that would do for Foreign Relations!

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Hmmm, good idea. If I were Vice-President I could appoint her funeral ambassador.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Hmmm, good idea. If I were Vice-President I could appoint her funeral ambassador.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Hmmm, good idea. If I were Vice-President I could appoint her funeral ambassador.

  • Chris Gabel

    Don’t you think we should send Snooki to the funerals? Just think what that would do for Foreign Relations!

  • Chris Gabel

    Don’t you think we should send Snooki to the funerals? Just think what that would do for Foreign Relations!

  • http://www.736hundred.tumblr.com 736hundred

    Thinking about why I should say anything, and I have come to the conclusion that nothing I say here about politic has any value.
    ______ 

    So instead, I have a great tip for those of you that suffer from mosquitoes eating you alive.  Take a dryer sheet (like Bounce) and put it in your pocket.  I tested this while trimming shrubs the other day, zero bites. It’s a miracle. :)

    • Jake

      That’s a great tip! I’m going to try it.

      BTW, I don’t think anyone else’s comments here has any real value either. It would be funny if anyone actually thought their comment had some real value.

      • Sooz

        last time I used DEET..circa1990
        When I have company sitting outside past dusk I hand out sheets of fabric softener.

        all very good and smells so much better too.

    • Cathy0

      All jokes aside – is this really true? How do I get dryer sheets in Australia? What the hell ARE dryer sheets?

      • http://www.marketmentat.com GT

        I haven’t seen them often in recent years (I’m in Melbourne), but back in the late 1980s you could buy them at any supermarket.

        Imagine some of those bum-washers (‘wet ones’ or whatever) that are infused with a fabric-softener-type scent… that’s a ‘dryer sheet’.

        I think they died a death in Straya because unlike Yanks, our councils don’t prevent people from drying laundry on (GASP!!) a Hills Hoist or a clothesline. [Note – the story I saw about US councils banning external clothes drying may have been internet apocrypha, but I think not]

        If you only ever dry your clothes in a dryer, they end up ‘dead’ – hence the requirement to stuff a smelly bumcloth in with them.

        • Fubar

          gawd, no wonder your continent ended up at the bottom of the map.

          dryer sheets are not the same as moist towelettes used for santitary wiping, etc.

          they are just plastic fabric that is anti-static and impregnated with fabric softener.

          I hope using the world “impregnate” doesn’t inspire any Aussies to get Very Drunk and attempt to copulate with their home appliances.

          • http://www.marketmentat.com GT

            And there we see why the US financial community almost crashed the planet – thinking that a pedagogic tool is a statement of the exact state of nature of the thing it seeks to describe.

            If your brain has been wired such that a description of a familiar item as an example of something SIMILAR to the matter at hand is taken to mean a statement that the one is the versimilitude of the other, then your education system is not teaching English as the civilised world understands it. Doubtless this is not universal among Yanks, but it is sufficiently common as to be stereotypical.

            Read the following sentence, and tell me whether it describes a bumwipe or a dryer sheet.

            “A small moistened square of synthetic material infused with a bunch of chemicals designed to dispense fragrance.”

            See? If you had never seen a dryer sheet, a mental picture of a ‘Wet One’ is actually about right – espeically for the ones that were on sale in Australia in the 1980s (which even came in the same pop-top cylindrical packet).

            And not for nothin’ – the Australian continent’s location on the surface of the Earth has fuck-all to do with the relative intellect of its
            inhabitants (especially not as measured by some numptie on the internet
            who can’t ‘do’ examples). I guess the US education system might have
            other thoughts – after all, we are talking about a system ID and
            creationism is taught as a valid theory alongside evolution.

            And not for nothin’ II – what makes you think that the maps they show
            you in grade school are up the right way? I would love to read your
            explanation as to why you think that Earth’s relationship to the solar
            system implies that ‘North’ is ‘Up’.

            Dumbasses gotta dumb, I guess.

          • Cathy0

            Hmmm. Okay..so kinda like Wet Ones but not really and you can’t buy them here. I guess I’ll have to wait until Amazon starts shipping to Oz and keep getting bitten in the interim. BTW, the best remedy for itchy mozzie bites is eucalyptus oil, trust me, I’ve tried the lot. :)

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000485390446 Jessica Mastropasqua

            This response is great; It made me laugh. I’m an American—but I still think you smacked him around. Score one for GT. For the record, I don’t think our ratio of dumbasses to smartasses is any higher than any other country. I think it’s pretty safe to say that on this planet the smartasses are outnumbered 5:1, at the very least.

          • Fubar

            J –

            please confine your comments to decorum and serious matters, such as copulating with home appliances.

          • Fubar

            Dear GT, I can assure your that neither moist sanitary towelettes nor dryer sheets are used as pedagogic tools in american public schools. Such advanced methods have not reached critical mass here, as I’m sure they have Down Under.

            The rest of your extremely sophisticated explanation of the scientific theory of education and dryer sheets, cartography, evolution and human intelligence was simply too technical and deep.

            However, I would like to suggest that the extra weight of Penguins at the south pole perhaps caused the planet to tip downward, leaving most of the dryer sheets behind in northern territories.

      • AJ

        this tangent is hysterical, made my morning…totally ignorant to politics & remain in my young 20’s bubble of a dream life where im fubar more days than not (not sure if anyone else on here even knows what that means…or if TAHT is youre real name, tahts even funnier->to the guy below me :)

    • Anonymous

      you are a number

      • http://www.736hundred.tumblr.com 736hundred

        Yes, thanks for noticing.  What you may not know is that my number is directly connected to my name.  There is a method to my madness. :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=572545922 Claudia Azula Altucher

    Amazing post James, you just keep on making me think WAY outside of the box. I HAD NEVER thought of this in my whole life, how is that possible?

    GREAT article, will share everywhere!  

    p.s.:  if the government reads this we should consider finding an alternative home in Canada, a rental, of course.

    • http://profiles.google.com/jayzalowitz Jay Zalowitz

      How are you doing?

    • Ross

      Claudia – don’t go to Canada.  I’m Canadian and still have family living there but its worse than the States.  There, political power is even more centralized and corruption (albeit smaller in absolute dollars) is a bigger issue than in the US.

      My 9 year old is planning on starting his own country.  He’s a little sketchy on laws and how it’ll run but he’s working on laying a claim to Antarctica for it (mainly for the penguins.  I haven’t broke it to him he’d be better off claiming parts of Argentina or South Africa for those), and as far as I can tell, everyone there will have a trampoline and pet penguin – not bad.

      I hope you are doing well and get better!

      p.s.: Canadian tax laws encourage renting over home ownership – go figure.

      • Supermenses

        I’m a Canadian, still living in Canada and please tell your son I would like to move to his country when it’s ready. 

    • John H.

      If you do move to Canada you’ll have a tough decision to make. James will want to move to Toronto because it is most like New York. You’ll want to move to Vancouver, which Canadians call ‘Lotus Land’. It’s Canada’s centre of the yoga universe, has unmatched beauty, and is consistently rated in the top tree places to live in the world. It’s easy to rent a nice place to live in Vancouver. I can see about getting James appointed as the Governor General of Canada (the Queen’s representative and our head-of-state). We allow immigrants to hold the post. I’d be happy to take James to lunch and play Go and Chess with him once a month.

  • Morgazmo

    Love it. But as a side note anarchy is not the same as chaos. You don’t need the police to save us from anarchy. Also, democracy is not majority rule, that is the measure of last resort. It’s more about finding ways for everyone to live as they see fit, amongst each other. I think having a figurehead, most certainly doing the nefarious bidding of the permanent state is absolutely unworkable as whoever gets the job will be scapegoated when things go wrong. To drag America from its precarious economic situation will require tough decision making, which is also generally unpopular decision making, thereby losing the support of the masses. That’s how you perpetuate a fuck up. I always though your president soaks up the big picture and using his vast political prowess advises his country on sound policy, instead it seems like he’s there to put out fires.

  • Anonymous

    Are you joking…? … Or just ignorant? I like this site because you’re one of the few who recognize college for the worthless scam it is… but this post makes me consider maybe having you as such a prominent anti-college profile perhaps isn’t such a good thing. FYI you forgot executive orders, which is basically when he passes a law without congress. Besides if we didn’t have a President who would decide who to pirate off to secret detention facilities to torture? Also there’s the cabinet appointments. AND by the way SCOTUS judges are for life so politics can’t affect there decisions, there’d be no Roe v. Wade, not to mention countless others. That would be appalling.

    IF there’s one thing you got right it’s that this upcoming race is pointless, the Republican party is not ideologically that different then the Democratic Party, the Dems are just the socially liberal arm of the Corporate Party and I challenge anyone to refute this. The Democratic Party is an empty suit, it claims to support social security and the common man but it caves in to the Republican Party at every turn, yes the Republicans enable Fascists but the Democrats enable the Republican party. Democrats have spent, lent or guaranteed $12.8 trillion in taxpayer dollars to Wall Street and insolvent banks in a doomed effort to reinflate the fake bubble economy, a tactic that at best forestalls catastrophe and will leave us broke in a time of profound crisis. They’ve allocated nearly $1 trillion in defense-related spending and continued our doomed imperial designs in Iraq, where military planners now estimate that 70,000 troops will remain for the next 15 to 20 years. They’ve expanded the war in Afghanistan, including the use of drones sent on cross-border bombing runs into Pakistan that have doubled the number of civilians killed over the past three months. They’ve refused to ease restrictions so workers can organize and would not consider single-payer, not-for-profit health care for all Americans. And they will not prosecute the Bush administration for war crimes, including the use of torture, and has refused to dismantle Bush’s secrecy laws or restore habeas corpus.

    Go on, troll me, I’m sick of being told that if I abandon the Democrats we will be governed by Bible-thumping idiots who will make us chant the Pledge of Allegiance in mass rallies and teach the account of Genesis as historical and biological fact in our nation’s schools. We’re already governed that way even when Democrats hold power. Here’s a genuinely constructive political suggestion: We need Proportional Representation. There’s an idea with bipartisan appeal that should help bring an end to this farce of a Kleptocracy masquerading as a Democracy. Think of it this way: could it possibly be any worse then what we’ve got?

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      I think I agree with most of what you say. Particularly the “farce of the Kleptocracy”. I just like that phrase.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_U2G6L6LFHAZOSWWTIDOX2DCOP4 Russell Taylor

        I think I might perhaps maybe agree with some of Anonymous as well, but Im not sure. Doesnt really make a stance in either direction or provide solution. Thank you for stating your purpose and cause clearly James.

    • James E. Miller

      Wow, I thought you were trashing Republicans at first but you are completely right! Democrats and Republicans are virtually the same, they feed at the same trough of stolen money which they give to their friends on Wall Street and in the military contracting field.  Wonderful post!

    • Anonymous

      I stumbled on this site through Rockwell, and I must say it is some kind of mish mash of  a lot of things which is good. I agree with the author that we do no longer need a president, yet my reasons are not the same as his.

      We have elevated the president to a kingly status which is absurd. Furthermore, a lot of people from both parties seem to think that the president should be some kind of Messiah who will fix all the ills of this country and the world. When he or she fails we elect a new one expecting the same stupid things.

      We need some real elder statesmen, who have proven themselves in the past to be honorable, to get together and discuss the future of this country. (When I say statesmen I include women as well). This micky mouse stuff which is going on right now is insane. The media thinks that they are so clever, yet they no longer do real journalism, all they want is emotional bull shit. Yes, Bristol Palin is very important when she dances with the stars and idiot journalist will actually ask her opinion on political matters.

      Well, I applaud the author, because he had the guts to say that we do not need an American King.

  • Marc Hansen

    Forget the Vice President. Let’s go with a monarch figurehead; King James? Oh, I like your posts that have a potential to incite riots.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      King James might be too much work. Like, I might have to sign papers or answer phone calls. I just want to go to funerals. And maybe perform autopsies. I don’t know. I haven’t decided on that one yet.

  • David Hollander

    “We’re in Iraq, Afghanistan,  Libya, and probably three or four other places I don’t even know about.”

    Actually, if you include special operation forces, the United States has a military forces deployed in 75 countries[1], and by the end of the year will be in 120 countries[2]. That’s the majority of countries in the entire world!

    It’s an important point you bring up regarding the President requiring the authorization of Congress to go to war. You might find this video hilarious: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r3BbIPbLSRw

    [1] http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/03/AR2010060304965.html
    [2] http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/opinion/2011/08/20118485414768821.html

  • newbiedude

    You make valid points, but now you have abolished two branches of government. Are you still in support of abolishing Congress along with the Executive Branch?  What is going to keep the military at bay and keep them from taking over the country.  I don’t see 7 old Justices fending them off successfully.  Who is going to pass new laws?  

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      The military would be drastically reduced, as I described above. Plus each state would still have its police force. And there’s no incentive in America for any sort of military control. People benefit from economic freedom and 300mm people with various police forces for every community will not allow that to end.

  • Guest

    You missed one role – ceremonial leader. Look at England. England has the Queen who is officially the head of state but she doesn’t make any of the decisions, all the decisions are made by the Prime Minister and the Parliament. The Queen and the Royal family are the ceremonial leaders, which means they provide the people with entertainment, a sense of pride in the country, tabloid scandals, etc. It’s efficient to have a ceremonial leader for the scandals so that the prime minister can do the actual governing. The trouble in the USA is that the President tries to do both so it’s hard to govern while being the ceremonial leader. How about leaving the President as the figurehead leader but with no official responsibilities? The Presidential election is tremendous entertainment and gives the masses something to do.

    • me again

      You stole my post! I was about to write this when I eventually got to the end of all the comments.
      Yes, the Queen of England springs to mind.
      James, what do you think about having a president who’s just ceremonial? Who could look good in the photo opps and visit other countries to keep them thinking they’re important.

      • Daniel M. Ryan

        I think he covered it. That role would be taken up by the Vice-President.

  • http://www.zacharyburt.com/ Zachary Burt

    you have my vote

    Zachary!

  • Jake

    Hmmm…in the absence of central government we’ll probably have something like the European Union. Each state a country of its own. So, instead of 1 president and 1 congress, we’ll have 50 of each.

    • Fubar

      california needs to break into two or three parts. and please deport Arnold Swarzneggar

      • Jake

        CA does scare me. You could take that as a good example of what happens if people get to vote directly on individual issues – in their case, through the proposition system. No one wants to pay taxes, but everyone wants more services. Sometimes, I think it’s better for the masses to be kept out of individual policy decisions, because they have no idea about the ramifications of what they approve and disapprove..

    • Richard Simpson

      Yes, except almost all of ours would speak the same language, and have a history rooted in liberty. The EU is much more like a bank than a country, anyway.

      We already have state governments with governors… I guess they could change their titles, if their people allow it.

      Maybe we wouldn’t have just 50 states though?  Maybe now that many current states are more densely populated, large secondary cities in states dominated by a larger city might want to separate and form their own state? Would anything be wrong with that?

  • https://www.coldhardcode.com/ Jay Shirley

    Maybe we can stopped being taxed just for being here and have a consumption tax. Including voting. If every vote cost $5, you’d vote on what matters and pay attention.
    

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Yeah, that’s a great idea! Or if every vote costs $100 on the federal level. So it has to be something that’s really important to you. And it’s illegal to buy a vote.

    • Jake

      You mean only people who have the money to vote are allowed to vote? I think people need to think a bit more about these sort of things before proposing (even if for the sake of getting people to think a bit more “out of the box”) ideas. Otherwise, the ideas are fairly useless, no?  Unless we’re just brainstorming – is that what we’re doing here?

      • https://www.coldhardcode.com/ Jay Shirley

        People who have $5 to vote? Yes, I think that’s a good metric.

        I wouldn’t want someone who can’t save a small amount of money for important matters to influence the direction of a country. It’s about responsibility and entirely voluntary.

        If you don’t want to afford it, don’t. If you do want to, the money makes it meaningful. I would even support a sliding income bracket for how much voting costs.

  • Kevin Faul

    Wolfgang Puck is a good suggestion. His office is less than 50 feet from mine and his pumpkin soup is delicious.

  • Anonymous

    What about the Icelandic crowdsourced constitution as a possible model?

  • Anonymous

    You are clearly wrong. Rick Perry has sex tape written all over him.

  • http://twitter.com/fzeng96 Feng Z

    smart move, let’s make you the vice president then get rid of the president, so you get to become the president, nice plot.

  • Anonymous

    James- Sometimes I enjoy just standing in one place and kinda shaking.  I suppose it looks like a cross between a repetitive air guitar move and a moderate seizure of some sort.  It definitely shakes my brain around so I never do it for more than 20-30 seconds at a time.  I’m sure that were somebody to catch a glimpse there would be gasps of horror.  Anything to worry about, or am I about to be shunned for not doing it on a public sidewalk with a fake pee-stain nearby?

    Also, fantastic post.  I’m doing (my best to follow) “The Daily Practice” and it’s increased my productivity and happiness considerably.  I need a lot more practice, but it’s a start.  Also, I’m generating some pretty bat-shit crazy ideas, but I suppose that’s part of the process? (I think that was a question)

    Well did James.  Appreciate the effort you put into this blog.  It’s a daily read.

    • Not the real bob barker

      ha ha, I do this as well, you are not alone, together we can unite and overcome.
      .
      Ok reading back the last sentence maybe not!!
      I usually do it for 10 15 secs and if anybody happened to come into room while I was doing the shaker I would get very embarrassed. 

  • http://twitter.com/SteveDave99876 Steve Dave

    My friend served as a Marine in Iraq.  His group often came upon packs of wild dogs.  Rather than try to kill as many of the dangerous dogs as they could, they would instead shoot and kill the pack leader.  The rest of the dogs would then turn on each other and finish the job themselves.

  • http://charts.indonesiamatters.com/ David

    ” 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:”

    That guy who jumped over the kids the other day, is he part of the “much more informed electorate”? How about the kids’ parents? What you have now is a sham democracy, don’t make it much, much worse by making it a real democracy, that kind of thing is only going to work in some place like Switizerland, walk around New York, you are not in Switzerland….

    Think of some companies you regard as being very, very well run… now there’s the beginning of a much better solution.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Timothy-Palmer/1596557698 Timothy Palmer

    I would rather see most or all of the government gone but this would be a good start.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_U2G6L6LFHAZOSWWTIDOX2DCOP4 Russell Taylor

    Since I realized I cant change anything several years back for every political situation my only question has been “how and when can i profit from this?” Because that is something that I can do. Its been working out pretty well maybe you will try it. Either way I keep my life as laissez faire as possible.

    • Fubar

      That is a perfect description of why the system has failed to self-correct. thanks.

      • http://montecristo.livejournal.com/ Montecristo

        No, it IS self-correcting, as we speak. It is not the people who have gotten out in order to produce and trade who are the problem; it is the zealots who have stayed in to “fix things” by piling yet another coercive “solution” on top of the bad consequences created by the previous ones. If more people took care of their own business or at least lived by the motto that they should “be the change” they want to see in the world, instead of voting for A to take money from B to give to C in order that D ostensibly be helped, the world would become a much better place.

  • Anonymous

    Now wait a minute James!  If we didn’t have a president wouldn’t we miss the contest every 4 years where we get to judge who has the winningest  smile, the squarest jaw indicating leadership, forcefulness, and might?  What about how impressed we are when a guy throws his jacket over his shoulder and rolls up his sleeves to show us he means business?  
    But if we must have a president couldn’t we just borrow a clown from Barnum and Bailey every 4 years?  We could even put a dent in the National Deficit by having the President and his cabinet ride around in one of those little cars that 20 people come out of  instead of what they travel in now.

  • Gil

    “millions will die on foreign soil”?  Hyperbolé much?  How embarrassing so many of those who have died actually volunteered?

    Then again from a Libertarian’s perspective the Legislature and Executive branches have no purpose.  For a Libertarians the law should be immutable – initiating force & fraud should always be a crime whereas other behaviours should be never become crimes.  Hence the only government positions should be in basic law enforcement with no ability to change the laws.

  • Alessandro

    James, this is your best idea, so far
    GREAT!
     
    THIS IS SIMLY THE TRUTH
     The president is useless.

    All the story is a waste of money. Obama said opposite things to Bush, then did the same…and immeditely went play golf at Martha Vineyard.

    I would like to add:

    The firts thing a President elected does. He goes on vacation! Always.
    The campaign is the real job, after that it’s play time.   

    Presidents are actors, playing a role written by someone else. For this reason ex actors are often good as President.

    In the last IRS statement (Individual Income Tax Return 2010) Obama declares 1.728.000 usd revenues, most of them from books (1.382.000). Without books it’s a lower paid job. Can a man so low paid be the ‘command in chief’?

  • Guest

    Interesting thoughts.  I’m not a stupid person, but I’m no genius either.  Only point there is to take a second to reflect that my take in self declared ignorance on this representative republic we’ve been trusted with by the genius of the founding fathers, is that while the common man had a say in those who would govern, that the most or less sacred institutions composed of the elected, were to be filled with leaders of one form of another.  Note that the executive branch wasn’t truly elected in democratic fashion, the final decision was in the hands of the electoral college.  Also, that the original senate wasn’t elected either, nor judges.  I personally think there was a reason they leaned towards trying to cull true leaders from the population to hold such key positions in the government and I have to think they did not choose a true democracy, or mob rule, for more reasons than just logistical problems created due to the best mode of transportation of the day.  I shudder to think that issues of the our day should be solved by the same type of folk who seem to think sitting around pondering the guilt of Casey Anthony for weeks on end is a necessary part of being plugged into society.  I think we need true leaders, not more common folk involvement.  The $5 voting idea I’ve suggested myself.  Someone who has never held or tried to hold a job I scratch my head and wonder why they should have equal say as one of the governed.  Keep it up James.  I’m starting to believe “the system” just doesn’t work, like it or not, and am hoping for some really smart people to fix it or come up with a better one.

    • fubar

      most people see shopping malls far more frequently than they do city hall, this one of many things in the built environment that has very serious consequences that is usually not considered. the physical, built environment has a much greater infuence on culture than most people realize. america has made a lot of bad decisions and is not living with the consequences of the ugliness and corruption of “Public space”, including as reflected in the relationship between “inner space” and “public space”. public space inspires, via deep collective aspects of consciousness, the private integrity of people.

      without integrity and virtue, there can be no freedom or democracy.

  • James E. Miller

    Wow, with all these suggestions James, I am assuming you are voting for Ron Paul for president in 2012 because he is the only candidate who will actually do (or won’t actually) 95% of what you say.

    An an anarcho-capitalist, I agree completely with your suggestion and would add the whole of the federal government on the list of things that need to be abolished, but of course I am crazy.

  • Dwight Johnson

    “Representative” government is a scam. Does your “Representative” represent YOUR principles? None of mine do. Check out the Canton Movement at GovernmentByContract.com. Cantons are non-territorial organizations that represent taxpayers, not special interests.

  • Daniel M. Ryan

    I’ve found a way to one-up Mr. Altucher. Back in early medieval times, it was held as “gospel” truth that no-one – even kings – had the right to make any new laws. Instead, the duty of kings was to act like judges: apply the eternal unchanging verities to the needs of the time.

    So howzabout this idea: direct democracy with a hard time-limit constraint. Namely, the electorate has (say) four years to pass any laws that need to be passed. After that, no more laws at all.

    Better yet: make all laws enacted before direct democracy null and void at the end of the four-year window. This means, part of the window will have to be devoted to repassing laws instead of passing new ones. Those that don’t get endorsed by the electorate go into Law Heaven.

    To descend to semi-seriousness, I’ve got a “moderatization” of Mr. Altucher’s original idea. Keep Congress and the President, but add his direct-democray system for this purpose: repealing laws. If a majority of the electorate decides a law has to go, it’s then quashed.  

    • fubar

      those were viking and goth kings, not romans.

      the real problem is that america became an imperial system, a plutocracy/kleptocracy, run by and for the rich people, the veneer of democracy/republic was maintained, not its true spirit.

      Alexis de Toqueville predicted in 1840 that american democracy would degenerate because of multiculturalism, producing a “weak and servile people”.

      the sheeple are used to being lied to, deceived, and having their worse instincts pandered to by sleazy politicians. they have no interest in the dreadful, unvarnished truth, or fighting for a better way of life.

  • Fubar

    Without “progressive” populism, the system will not be “reformed”.

    Alexis de Toqueville predicted in the 1830s/40s that american “democracy” would result in a “weak and servile” people that hate, but are dependent on, central govt.

    The current corporate plutocracy/kleptocracy is a result of the laziness and apathy of people to maintain the basis of the republic.

    The people have been brainwashed into that state of affairs by corporate PR machinery.

    State Capitalism = evil.

    http://attackthesystem.com/free-enterprise-the-antidote-to-corporate-plutocracy/

  • Ross Inglis

    Funny – best form of ‘government’ (as far as I can tell) was the Athenian city-states.  All politics was (and still is) local and to survive they needed to form strong alliances with the surrounding city-states to ward off threats from outside monarchies and god-kings run a muck.  This includes not only military but importantly economic alliances.  Now, the idea of a series of city-states would be ridiculed.

    The original intent of the Constitution was to bring back some of the concepts of the Athenian democracy with a Roman Republic thrown in that had been lost through monarcies and tyrannies of the 1600 and 1700s, (at least as far as my publicly educated, college degree enhanced feeble mind can fathom).  You had smaller regional interest groups (states) that untied under one ‘republic’ to promote self-interest (as Ben Franklin famously put it ‘if we don’t hang together, we surely will hang together’ – or something like that).  Sure you can argue motivations and all the other points James has made but Ben Franklin’s quote pretty much sums it up.

    The central/federal government is a complete and unmitigated disaster.  If it was a commercial enterprise (even the military compared to a ‘private’ army/mercenary business), it would be bankrupt.  Wait.  It is bankrupt.  I’ve talked too much….

  • Ross

    Funny – best form of ‘government’ (as far as I can tell) was the Athenian city-states.  All politics was (and still is) local and to survive they needed to form strong alliances with the surrounding city-states to ward off threats from outside monarchies and god-kings run a muck.  This includes not only military but importantly economic alliances.  Now, the idea of a series of city-states would be ridiculed.

    The original intent of the Constitution was to bring back some of the concepts of the Athenian democracy with a Roman Republic thrown in that had been lost through monarcies and tyrannies of the 1600 and 1700s, (at least as far as my publicly educated, college degree enhanced feeble mind can fathom).  You had smaller regional interest groups (states) that untied under one ‘republic’ to promote self-interest (as Ben Franklin famously put it ‘if we don’t hang together, we surely will hang together’ – or something like that).  Sure you can argue motivations and all the other points James has made but Ben Franklin’s quote pretty much sums it up.

    The central/federal government is a complete and unmitigated disaster.  If it was a commercial enterprise (even the military compared to a ‘private’ army/mercenary business), it would be bankrupt.  Wait.  It is bankrupt.  I’ve talked too much….

  • Spencer Gantt

    I hope you are actually running for VEEP. Write-in/internet candidacy, right? We will at least have a “real person” to vote for in that position and not a PRC. Your article is directly on target as far as I’m concerned, though most will see it strictly as “comedic”. We need (as a People) to not only abolish the presidency and replace it with a “people’s council” as in today’s Swiss Confederation, we need to abolish Congress as it now exists and replace it with “real People” such as yourself and those who post on your site. (And, on Lew Rockwell’s as well.) Will it happen? A long shot, at best. But, if “the People” will cease their roles as “sheeple” and become independent, REAL PEOPLE, then there’s a chance. 

    • Guest

      I still don’t get this obsession with “The People”.  Most people I know ain’t all that bright and most aren’t very good decision makers or problem solvers.  The idea that “most people” collectively can solve the problems of society is pretty dang frightening.

      • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

        Yeah, and then they elect the lowest common denominator to represent them in congress.

        • Spencer Gantt

          And, yet, EVERYONE gets to vote in your system, right. I think that’s good. But, EVERYONE has to be “the People”, not just the elites. 

      • Spencer Gantt

        I was thinking in terms of “the People” on this site. Altucher, for instance. Or, you, guest. Both got the smarts, right? 

      • Spencer Gantt

        But, we’re going to let EVERYONE vote, right?

        • Guest

          Part of the problem if you ask me.  Isn’t working out too well at the moment, when what is nearing if not already at a majority of the voting population is feeding at the government trough.  The bums should not get equal say in the decision making process.

          • Spencer Gantt

            EVERYONE already votes, but not on EVERYTHING as Altuck proposes. . 

          • fubar

            the largest beneficiaries of govt. support are large banks, corporations, oil and defense companies, etc., so yes, reducing their “access” to a “natural” levelm roughly equivalent to the number of people that work at each company, makes sense, and is fair and balanced.

          • fubar

            the largest beneficiaries of govt. support are large banks, corporations, oil and defense companies, etc., so yes, reducing their “access” to a “natural” levelm roughly equivalent to the number of people that work at each company, makes sense, and is fair and balanced.

  • brian buck

    The original Articles of Confederation already tried this…and they found it didn’t work. Not because of logistics but because nothing could ever be agreed upon and then nothing ever got done. So they went back and scrapped the AoC and created the constitution with more central authority built on the need to get stuff done.

    It has already been implied here but the direct election of senators was possibly one of the worst decisions we’ve ever had. Now we have two “House of Representatives” with one holding immense power. Think of the Senate like the House of Lords in England (with the Senate representing the States rather than the aristocracy). The idea was that the Senate would vote with their respective states’ best interest in mind rather than the people because they were answerable to the governors and legislators of their state. Thus they would be a check on the House of Representatives. The House would bring up all sorts of new ideas and the Senate would be the stodgy old guys saying that it shouldn’t happen. Then when an idea with real merit comes along it would be passed because even the stodgy old guys would agree to it. At least that was the way it was intended. But now, the senators merely vote the way that would get their constituents to vote for them again (read pork).

    One of the most important things we could do is to repeal the 17th amendment and go back to the way the system was intended.

    • Anonymous

      The Articles of Confederation were nothing like this direct democracy idea. Under the articles, the US was a confederation of 13 sovereign states. They each had their own currency, foreign policies, tariffs, etc.
      The idea of a stronger central government was pushed by the Federalists (the first American corporatists) who wanted a strong central government so they could create a central bank to inflate the money supply and funnel wealth to their friends.

      • brian buck

        So you are saying that while 13 individual units couldn’t agree 150,000,000* units will? Direct democracy cannot and has never lasted in the entire history of the world. There was a reason to the madness. James Madison arguably the father of the constitution studied both the Roman and Greek models for years before deciding that both were flawed. What we ended up with was a ‘best-fit’ compromise. I agree that what we have isn’t working either but I would suggest going back to the beginning with less government interference rather than urging for a different system that we already know has proven to fail as well.

        *Assumes half of the US population is of voting age.

        • Wrong…

          Switzerland would like to have a word with you…

    • Spencer Gantt

      One of the most important things we could do is to repeal the entire Constitution and write a new one. 

  • Enlightened Caveman

    I agree the system is broken.  I agree that our current lot of politicians are scoundrels through and through.  But moving toward a true democracy is no solution.  It’d just be trading old problems for new ones.  Or rather old ones for older ones.

    “A pure democracy can admit no cure for the mischiefs of faction. A common passion or interest will be felt by a majority, and there is nothing to check the inducements to sacrifice the weaker party. Hence it is, that democracies have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have, in general, been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.”  – James Madison, Federalist Paper #10.

    It is all well and good to question the religion of America as it is currently playing out.  However, the writers of the Constitution were wise in the extreme – they knew their species and history and could apply what they knew.  We would be wise to heed their warnings. 

  • Adam

    Excellent thinking, and if my public education properly serves, many of the founders abhorred a King who acted with carte blanche. As a _compromise_ they created the presidency with checks from the other two branches.  (My opinion: King may have had religious overtones related to Christian theology as well; there can only be one true King).  Some opinions are that American won the revolution _because_ Great Britain had a King (a mad one).

    The American Revolution was illegal under it’s government, no?  They had a better system and were willing to fight for it.  It wasn’t just all out violence to just destroy.

    Here’s the kicker:  Enforce the current constitution first; otherwise changes are meaningless. (I think the checks and balances have failed to meet their original intent).

    • Gil

      I don’t the Founders abhorred a dictatorship rather they abhored what they felt to be foreign rule.  It’s was similar with taxes – it was about paying taxes to a faraway than paying taxes per se.  After the Revolution the taxes were actually higher.

  • Greystache

    You assume the President actually does anything to begin with.  He’s been a figurehead for some time now, as we all know that Corporate America runs the show.  Blaming the President for a lot of these failures is blaming the marionette and not the puppeteer.

    Considering that Jersey Shore remains such a popular show, are you sure you really want the populace in charge of anything?

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      I do blame Bush for Iraq. I blame Clnton / Andrew Cuomo for lowering Fannie Mae standards. I don’t know what I blame O for yet. Ill think of something. Which is why just better to not have anyone at all there.

  • pjc

    Interesting post as always, James. I like the way you think outside the box (actually, whatever the box is inside of – you’re usually outside of that as well).

    Re: we’re already invaded by China – interesting idea. But look where the rubber hits the road. Do you think the US and China are somehow equivalent re: human rights? Former and potential political prisoners are emigrating in one direction only (China to the US), and not in small numbers either.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      The one thing about China is that they want no problems. If they can get rid of political prisons, solve human rights issues and have us absorb the people not useful to their master plan then seem happy with the result. But yeah, they dont want to be lectured by us on human rights. they just dump the issues on us.

      • pjc

        Yeah, that doesn’t smell right to me.

        If China simply wanted “to do business”, why imprison people like this?

        http://www.duihuahrjournal.org/2011/08/surging-numbers-of-women-in-prison.html

        Certainly, people like this don’t get imprisoned in America – they write books and go on TV! 

        A few conspiracy nuts will disagree with me here, but let’s be real – “I spoke out against the government and went to jail” – that happens in China much, much more often than it does in America (if it even happens in America, which I doubt).

        Moreover – the one child policy? Nothing like that in America. Your daughters enjoy each other’s company? You enjoy the companionship of your sister? Doesn’t happen in China.

        Bottom line – the Chineese are **much less free** than the America. Were China to *really* invade the US (which it won’t be just playing along with your argument) we would almost surely become much less free.

        • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

          I agree with you. I just think the US is no longer in a position to lecture them on it, given their supremacy over our own currency.  But I don’t think they care about having any say on our borders. they already have a stranglehold on our debt and the debt of all of Europe.

          • pjc

            Sure, no lecture. They’ll work it out, and become more free, in their own time.

            But the argument that we need *some* national defense (and a civillian commander over that defense) in order to insure the Chineese don’t get stupid and try to rumble down main street is a pretty reasonable argument. 

            And thus – you end up with a POTUS.

        • Nestrepo Hidalgo

          The US has a fourth branch of govt, the Media, to crucify people politically. And if it’s taken too far (Julian Assange), they will do anything and everything to put you behind bars. For Mr. Assange, the US govt is now preparing allegations to try him as a spy. http://lewrockwell.com/roberts/roberts322.html

  • Steve

    It sounds like in your system we’d be voting constantly for everything under the sun. Doesn’t that seem like kind of a pain? Imagine if you had to vote 100 times a day on various minutia and trivial decisions that needed to be made. Do you really want to deal with that?

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Exactly. So guess what: less laws.

      • Richard Simpson

        Or, shorter more readable laws.

        • Andrew

          Like laws written in 140 characters or less

  • Spencer Gantt

    In the article JamesA states “now we have the Internet so EVERYONE can actually vote.” Question is, “who is EVERYONE?”  The People, right? 

  • ParatrooperJJ

    Congreess declares war, not Just the House.

  • Ubernaut

    looking forward to your future post about why the judicial is also a waste ;)

  • Prov6

    Even more so: Abolish all government.  It is useless to all of us (except, of course, our master)

  • Prov6

    I meant “our masters”

  • http://www.facebook.com/Eltmon Edward Becker

    You seriously need to read “Democracy: The God That Failed.”  A true democracy never works, it just gives the majority power of the minority.

    • Stephen Sadowski

      That’s a great read. Hoppe has some fascinating insights.

  • Bobobrian

    That was frickin hilarious!!!!!!

    I’m sending you a bill as you owe me a new keyboard… ya seriously!!

  • Eric Parker

    This sounds to me a lot like a tyranny of the uneducated. Average citizens are swayed far too easy by extremist propaganda to trust them with that much power. One need only to look at the ratings of Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh to see this.

    However, I suppose you could bank on the apathy and disinterest of a majority of these folk.

    And if you’re for returning to the constitutionality of the Presidency, and handing the power back to Congress and the states and munis, then you must be voting for Ron Paul.

    Oh, yea, you don’t vote. 

  • Trevordungin

    We get it.  The government sucks. Have you thought about exploring other political ideas, such as Anarchism, Voluntarism, Agorism?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OOUHNCBKYDX2MOAM7S2BREGEC4 TroubleB

    You’re too ugly and too smart to be VP Altucher.We need someone like Zaphod Beeblebrox, Mitt Romney, or Rick Perry. Unless of course you can convince Obama to step down one notch.

    Silly you for thinking you had the good looking vacuousness required for such a position.

  • Anonymous

    With the proliferation of internet, cell phones print and electronic media, citizens can make informed decisions and directly vote on bills/laws

    • Spencer Gantt

      They could also vote directly on candidates. Their candidates.

  • Sergei

    i think somebody heard you -> http://www.whitehouse.gov/wethepeople

    Sergei

  • Anonymous

    Reposted. I like Altucher. I really do. He’s intelligent, his ideas are consistently interesting, and he writes well. So imagine my surprise to see him buying into the “this system sucks, so I’m sitting it out” meme. Great. Let all the smart people stay home on election day. The results usually favor the bread-and-circus boobs anyway, so why bother, right?

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      What has election day ever done for you? If you can convince me otherwise, I’m happy to participate on that day. But election day has never done anything for me. If anything, it’s hurt me.

      • Spencer Gantt

        Election Day never does anything for anyone because “everyone” votes for Democrats, Republicans and/or Incumbents. Until we change that practice, we might as well not vote. 

      • Anonymous

        I am sorry you’ve been hurt. Truly, I am. The repairing of my spontaneous pneumothorax was excruciating, too. I swore I’d never willingly be part of something like that again. All in all, though, it turned out that I’m still glad to be alive.

        I am not an evangelist. And I’m the least intelligent man in the room. Explore the Pandorian flaw in your I-don’t-vote-because-it-doesn’t-make-a-difference logic and extrapolate outward. Or don’t. Meh.

    • Fubar

      Why were you surprised? Altucher likes to attack the system every once in a while to keep in practice “thinking out of the box”. This used to be called nonconformance.

      Americans are now sheeple, and (national) elections are one of many ways to keep the flock in line, and headed for the next fleecing.

  • Anonymous

    Bumper sticker ideas:

    “NONE OF THE ABOVE: 2012″

    “I LIKE NONE”

    “NONE YOU CAN BELIEVE IN”

    “JUST SAY NONE”

    “NONE NATION” (As opposed to Palin’s “One Nation”)

    “PAID FOR BY THE COMMITTEE TO ELECT NO ONE”

    “THE NO TALK EXPRESS”

    “NO MORE YEARS”

  • Anonymous

    Harvard Professor Robert Putnam’s study showed that the more racially diverse a society is, the lower the levels of trust.
    http://goo.gl/YWJv2

  • Jeff

    The President of the USA is supposed to be the “leader of the free world”. Yet, he has no freedom. He must have a secret service escort for the rest of his life. He can’t go or do anything a real free man can do in the USA.  Ironic? Who in their right mind would sign up for that?

  • Kelly64

    It is about time I finally get to read such insightful and honestly spoken words about things that really matter in life!  I am sending links to this site and several articles you wrote on to my 20 and 15 year old sons.  Honesty is the best policy….I would rather read some of the shocking things you just expressed like not needing the role of a president…..than listen to another one of Obama’s useless, deceptive speeches!  Thank you for sharing your views and experiences with us!  Finding this site was like finding a treasure for me! 

  • SonofPerry

    Rick Perry is our only hope… he has amazing cowboys boots…. and spurs. If you guys don’t vote for him there is something your with your heads and your shoes. Spurheadshoes. Thats the problem with people… they all wear spurless heads and dumb runners. Texas swagger…flatching….ching…. get some boots people. Stop shitting on cowboy boots and just vote Perry. He also knows the truth about evolution… plus… he also knows God likes to walk around with a big belt buckle and hay in his mouth. God doesn’t squint at the sun either… in case you wanted to know. That’s the truth they won’t even report on the news. Even the news hates cowboys…so they hate God too. GodlessCowboyHating news peddlers… that’s the problem with the world.

    This is what the aliens told me.

    • fubar

      illegal aliens?

  • Drnorush

    We need a good King.  They’re tough to come by, but that’s the answer.
    The position of President is useless, as is the House of Representatives.
    Does The House honestly represent your feelings (or some high paying
    lobby interest)?  Let’s not even mention the 3 (minimum) phone calls a day
    (during dinner) for donations for every party and cause imaginable.

  • http://twitter.com/oddshocks David Gay

    Just about everything you write is beautiful. Please don’t stop.

    Signed,
    A Fan

  • Anonymous

    Democracy is crap/trap/scam and a giant Ponzi scheme.
    Voting in elections is NOT democracy.
     

  • zimmett

    After reading his a second time I believe I will post this “message” on facebook. Most of my facebook friends love Obama and hate Romney. Personally I cannot stand either one of them. I believe James Altucher is correct in his assumptions. We should eliminate this position for good. Besides I’m sick of politics and its only August 3rd.

  • Kenny

    Really interesting idea, something I’ve never thought about before though I don’t see it working in a realistic sense.

    First, Article II is not that deep into the Constitution so when you say they didn’t even talk about it until then, the point is moot. They did want Congress to have more powers, which is one reason why they put Legislative first. Executive isn’t written as long because they also were writing this during the start of summer. That’s why if you look at the Constitution as a whole, each section is far shorter than the last. Because it gets miserable on the east coast during summer. Especially with no central air or fans.

    You stated that “nobody has ever come back from such a low rating in their first administration to win.” After Obama’s second year he was in a three way tie for lowest with Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. One did not make it, the other became a legend in Republicans’ eyes.

    Also, it is true that the veto has happened very infrequently. But do you really want to give any more power to this group of Congressmen and women? Even if you think it to be tiny powers. It’s just centralizing the power a little bit more.

    And try having dignitaries come meet with all of Congress. Not only would that be confusing but it would take forever and no one would ever talk to us.

    I will agree with you that something needs to be done. Our way of life is vastly different from when the founding fathers wrote the Constitution. But they also thought the Constitution would be rewritten every fifty years or so.

  • http://www.facebook.com/justin.williams.54943 Justin Williams

    Hello James, I have been thinking the same thoughts as yourself and others who note that the office of presidency has been elevated to a kingly status who will be our savior. The same can be said when all our hopes are put in any one person. I liked many of Ron Paul’s ideas, but it worries me to think that the success or failure of a system rests upon the shoulders of any one person. I agree totally that for certain we don’t need the office of president. And it seems so obvious I don’t understand why more people aren’t coming to the same conclusion. And I have made the point to some friends that no one person divides the country more than the president. If he is white then all the minorities feel excluded. In Obama’s case, he gets the vote of many minorities simply because he is not White rather than on his policies. And when people oppose Obama or the agenda given to Obama to promote, they are accused of being racist. All these problems could be neutralized by doing away with the office of presidency as you argue. Your article is perhaps one of the only articles related to this subject that I have found so far. Why aren’t there more people coming to these conclusions? Have you promoted this idea recently in any way?