Why We Should Abolish the Presidency

abolish the president

The other day, two potential leaders of the free world were insulting each other about the size of their hands (and the sexual tendencies that hand size might predict.)


Are these masters of intelligence, with their grasp of world issues and sexual euphemisms really needed in our modern society? Did the Founding Fathers have the foresight in 1789 that all of their rules would still be needed in 2016?

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

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

My proposal: We don’t need a President of the United States. In fact, he (or she) is 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.

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).

Given that, what do we even need a legislative branch for given that “B” is not necessary and “A” can be replaced by a country-wide digital voting system for any issue that comes up.

And, given that, that will eliminate all lobbying and reduce the number of laws passed, most of which are useless and do nothing but cause taxes to be raised to pay for the new laws (and enforcement of them).

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


Lately the Presidents have been declaring wars. We’re in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, 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.

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.


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 and 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).

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!”


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).

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.

You can argue, judges should be outside the voting system. But they aren’t anyway – since we elect a President based on hand size who then picks the judges.


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 need an immediate FAQ here to answer the obvious questions:


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

  • Emile Jarreau

    It’s highly possible that a Global Leader will be “crowned” and like the King and Queen of England…it’ll move toward being only a symbol versus a functioning leadership role dictating not just U.S., but global actions shaping humanity:)

    Oh…and comic Bill Burr nails it. https://youtu.be/68TODj-5DQU

  • give_me_a_break

    What we really need is a return to 50 powerful sovereign states that jealously guard their powers and privileges. The 17th amendment that made senators directly elected by the “people” was massively destructive to our liberties. Senators no longer represent the interests of their states giving the federal government that much more ability to impose homogenous unworkable “solutions” on all of us.

    • ZillaGod

      The United States is more powerful together than as 50 sovereign states. Without a federal government, the weak states would get weaker. No federal roads would be built. No national parks would be protected. Elected officials of states could ruin their state with no federal oversight. I think the federal government is too big, but that doesn’t mean it should not exist.

      • Philippe

        Who says that national parks would not be protected, and that this is something we need a government for? I think people as a collective would be well able to govern themselves and protect what’s considered protectable by a group large enough to do so. I’m sure there would be enough nature friends which would join together and organize protection of national parks in case another group would try to destroy them. A government however mit give up a natural reserve for the sake of gaining oil or anything similar and with that power and control.

        And if weak states get weaker, then that’s the rules of a free market. Let them reduce taxes and attract companies, which in turn will lead to higher state income and infrastructure built. Or maybe they establish themselves as pure agricultural state, which will lead to more jobs in that sector and in the end again to the state being better off. It’s all about the self regulation of a system, and true democracy. But we all have been taught that this would not work without a government…

        I recommend the 30 years old but still hot book “How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World” by Harry Browne, which has a large chapter about unnecessity of governments.

  • OrganicSquirrel

    I am in almost complete agreement with you, James. However, I think we can keep the presidency, while simply keeping him to the status you suggested for the vice-president (“Someone needs to go to the funerals of dead Kings of other countries.”). After all, aren’t you actually complaining about the blatently unconstitutional behavior presidents have displayed? (In other words, we really ought to get back to our Founding Principles!)

    • ulyssesmsu

      Presidents, especially THIS one, have behaved unconstitutionally b/c this Congress has no testicles. If our Congress had any courage, they would’ve impeached at the first improper behavior and stopped all of that.

  • gacl

    Abolish the federal president and return to a confederation of sovereign states with absolute right of secession. I agree. This is a standard right-wing viewpoint.

    • ulyssesmsu

      Then the states will oppress their people just like they did before 1861, and just like the Confederate South did from 1861 to 1965.

      • gacl

        Or like Lincoln did when he sent slave owning General Sherman to exterminate southern whites and separately native American Indians. Someone always oppresses someone else. Who oppresses who? And who has the PR strength to write themselves in the history books as the good guys?

    • Philippe

      Abolish the sovereign states as well then.

  • First of all, we have to stop repeating this nonsensical line about “democracy.” Nobody wants a dictator (oppression by 1 ruler). But everyone seems to cheer for democracy which is simply oppression by 51% of the people, now effectively called “the ruling class.” Neither are aligned with principles or human rights.

    The downfall of humanity started when someone decided that certain human beings should have power over other human beings (in a way that’s not logically consistent with the concept of rights since I cannot grant a right to another human being which I do not have myself). Thus, if you believe in actual rights and liberty, you can’t simultaneously believe in government as we know it.

    It should also be noted that “anarchy” is not inherently a violent, rule-less state of being. Public school teaches that “anarchy is bad” and “anarchy is without rules.” Anarchy simply means, “without rulERS.” But government bureaucrats are incentivized to make sure that children believe that a world without them would be a bloody and dangerous hell hole that we simply can’t even talk about.

    Which brings me back to government itself—the most violent, oppressive, monopolistic corporation in the world. Not only can it’s very existence not be accomplished without violence, but it has a monopoly on the excused use of violence and aggression. I’m not just referring to wars, but down to the armed theft that it uses for its own funding (of course, that little fact is covered up with cute semantics they’ve cleverly aligned with patriotism).

    I wish more people would spend time thinking about principles, rights, and liberty than figuring out how to arrange the deck chairs on the titanic we call government.

    • ZillaGod

      Then humanity’s downfall started a long, long time ago. Ancient civilizations have always done it.

    • Luis Fernando Imperator

      Let’s say 3 people are in an alley, 2 of them decide to rape the third one. They have a vote and agree on it, that’s democracy.

    • byustudent

      I’m so glad this is the first comment I’m seeing, because it’s fantastic.

  • Hardcore post Mr. Altucher. Thank you for thinking outside of the box. Technology has evolved and it really should be that easy for everyone to vote!

  • ZillaGod

    “And millions of civilians in other countries would be left alone. Seems like a good deal.”

    You mean millions of oppressed people would be left to suffer at the hands of their oppressors. That’s a great deal for the oppressors, not the civilians.

    We’re one people. Countries should not just look out for themselves, but try to help anyone in the world if it is within their power.

    • Luis Fernando Imperator

      Are you there helping the opressed? Or are you just sitting in an air conditioned room arguing over the internet to send everybody else’s kids there? Please, clarify

  • GS

    I could not agree more!

  • kaisdaddy

    James, I liked you before but I am now a fan!

  • Ed

    All anybody needs is a way to defend their way of life. If it’s worth defending, the free market will provide the means.
    “Anarchists did not try to carry out genocide against the Armenians in Turkey; they did not deliberately starve millions of Ukrainians; they did not create a system of death camps to kill Jews, gypsies, and Slavs in Europe; they did not fire-bomb scores of large German and Japanese cities and drop nuclear bombs on two of them; they did not carry out a ‘Great Leap Forward’ that killed scores of millions of Chinese; they did not attempt to kill everybody with any appreciable education in Cambodia; they did not launch one aggressive war after another; they did not implement trade sanctions that killed perhaps 500,000 Iraqi children.

    In debates between anarchists and statists, the burden of proof clearly should rest on those who place their trust in the state. Anarchy’s mayhem is wholly conjectural; the state’s mayhem is undeniably, factually horrendous.”

  • ulyssesmsu

    Much of what you say is true. However, 1, there have not been “millions” of Americans who have died in wars on foreign soil. The total number is only 0.6 million. And 2, almost all of those wars were started by others. Americans were only responding to help our allies. Right? Wrong? It’s all debatable. Finally, 3, our system of government is the most brilliant, genius-like system ever created by humans. Thinkers like you are now questioning it not b/c of the system, but because of the idiots we’ve put into leadership positions within the system. GIGO. This is a simple fix. Will this election move us in the right direction? What do you think?

  • Definitely hardcore. And very much on target for the here and now as opposed to the then and there. How a 21st century society insisted on hamstringing itself with 18th century documents and philosophies will surely be one of the great questions of future historians. – Carl Kruse

    • Val

      just like Muslims (they are extreme) and Christians follow old document (who wrote it is questionable) :)

  • David Colpo

    Sweet Child O’ Mine!! I wrote in “Repeal Article 2” last time, and will do so for the rest of my life. I can’t believe anyone else thinks the same way.

  • Jeanette Snider

    I think we should have a hash tag contest called #seriouslyvoteforme and in that people would say what they feel is the most important issue how they might handle things… its important for people to be heard and validated… after we are the people. and national boarders are overrated… lets grab an opinion poll from around the world and see how we can communicate effectively. at this point it wouldn’t have to be efficient… but it needs to carry a message. all the more with technology being exponentially growing and robotics and automation multiplying, it is easy for us to see job loss… I explored a proposal for a resource based economy this weekend and the concept is interesting to say the least and makes a lot of sense given the data… its just stupid the way we function as global citizens. I think we need a new charge.. what if we let the national titles fall behind and became global citizens where each voted counted. If something was happening in another country and I did not agree, my vote would count. so simple right!?! Because the need for money captivates peoples time and energy it is a form of enslavement… to the all mighty dollar , yeah? I am pretty sure I have heard that one somewhere and maybe you have too. I think that left and right wing are of the same bird and dividing lines do just that divide. to expect less or more is not to understand the word and meaning of divide.. and there is where universal language comes in… this Venus Project proposes to make language mathematics.. I need to see that iin writing before I can say if I am for it or not, but I am guessing that writing code is the Segway into that platform… I haven’t read the article, but I just right away wanted to share… I could write for days about this kind of thing.

  • jill_friedman

    how about we get rid of ALL the federal government (congress, supremes and president), program a computer with the constitution and bill of rights (and supporting documents) and let the people send in whatever laws they think they want. The computer would immediately declare them constitutional (valid) or unconstitutional (INVALID). No more waiting around for 100 years for the supremes to correct their mistakes. No more 51% majority screwing the rest of the people. No more politicians selling themselves to the highest bidder instead of doing their jobs (of protecting the constitution). No more millions of dollars and months of time wasted on watching them during election season.
    I’m SURE we’d be 100% better off as a country. Hard to be any worse so worth a try for sure. The only problem I can see is how to protect the computer from the hackers. ;-)

  • Wout

    Altucher for President! 😃

  • Awesome article. Love your writing style and am so glad I discovered your website and writings a couple of months ago. I only wish I had sooner.

  • My dare of the day. I admit I have no idea about politics. I just happen to know the two most prominent people running for presidency. People love talking about the upcoming election and I’m standing thinking to myself I have no idea what you are talking about.

  • Harry Godlewski

    There are civil liberties, and civil rights. The former are innate having been granted by a higher power and incumbent upon the government to safe guard. The latter are granted by government and can just as easily be withdrawn by that same government.
    Democracy is simply two wolfs and a sheep voting on what’s for dinner!
    The problem is all that power in the hands of one individual. The founding fathers were quite studied with respect to human, and political history. The old adage operative here (By Gorges Santiana), “…he who fails to learn form history is doomed to repeat it…”. The founders to large extent modeled US government after the Swiss model with one exception. That is rather than an executive council like the Swiss, they established an elected executive (with powers of a king) known as the president. Unfortunately as Lord Acton once stated, “..power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely…”. This isn’t just morals but more pointedly judgement. One powerful man is far more apt to abuse power than a council of 15!
    The point of the Constitution was to cripple the central government and mitigate the effects of the various states , that were more democracies than republics.
    The Constitution only works if those in office are held to supporting its tenants and its enforcement. This includes Jurists who think they have the right to reinterpret the document in any way they deem acceptable. Human nature hasn’t changed in thousands of years. The constitution was an attempt to deal with man’s darker side.