Why presidents should take a salary

Donald Trump, rich guy that he is, has said that he will not take the $400,000 salary that comes with the presidency.  Instead, he will just take $1.  George Washington made the same pledge to serve without a salary, but the new Congress insisted that he take it.  It turns out, the Founders had good reasons for providing that public officials, including the president, be paid. Not only does it open public service to citizens who are not wealthy, it establishes who is the boss.

Read Rob Goodman’s fascinating survey of the issue after the jump. [Read more…]

Evan McMullin for President?

Finally, an independent candidate for president has emerged, an alternative to both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump:  Evan McMullin.

Who?  He has been a top staffer for the House Republican Conference and was a former CIA officer and Goldman Sachs businessman.  The 40-year-old Mormon is conservative, pro-life, and apparently has the support of at least some NeverTrump conservatives.  He has raised some money and has PAC support, even though the deadline for an independent getting on the ballot has already passed in 26 states.  This would be his first elective office.

In other words, it sounds like to me, he isn’t qualified either.  I rant about this, as well as giving more information about him, after the jump. [Read more…]

Our unchecked, unbalanced Presidency

Donald Trump couldn’t really do all of the off-the-wall things he is calling for, some of his defenders are saying.  He’d have to have Congressional action.  Congress and the courts would keep him in line.  Well, the modern presidency has expanded its powers so much, says Marc Fisher, that he actually could do most of them.

In fact, thanks to recent presidents–including Barack Obama–our Constitutional system of each branch of the government checking and balancing each other, is seriously out of whack.  Fisher concludes with a chilling sentence:  “’Today’s system of checks and balances,’” [law professor Neal Devins] said , ‘is an abject failure.’”

This is part of what conservatives mean when they call for a “limited government.”  Our government today is unlimited.  And the powers of the presidency are becoming unlimited.

[Read more…]

Making Mexico pay for the wall

So let’s assume that Donald Trump gets the Republican presidential nomination, which is probable, and that he is elected President, which is possible.  How would he carry out his promises?

Consider his vow to build a wall between the United States and Mexico to keep out illegal immigrants, and, furthermore, to make Mexico pay for it.   The government of Mexico has said, defiantly, that there is no way they would pay for a wall.  Trump responded that he would therefore make it ten feet higher.

(My brother says that Mexico would indeed build a wall and pay for it in order to keep out the hordes of Americans who would flee the country if Donald Trump were elected President.  My sister said that she heard that joke from Jimmy Fallon.  My brother said that while that might be, he came up with it independently.)

But how would President Trump make Mexico pay for the wall? [Read more…]

Presidents Day

Today is Presidents Day.  Would you say that this holiday has lost something?  Has the presidency lost its grandeur, even its respect?

Presidents Day was a mash-up of the birthdays of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, but that plural (not possessive) honors them all.  Most of our presidents, beyond those great two, were far from paragons.  But as we contemplate the current presidential election and the candidates we have to choose from, do you find the prospects for that office rather depressing?

Bret Stephens in the Wall Street Journal (subscription required) says that we have defined the presidency down.  He gives some choice and rather funny characterizations of four of the contenders, which I quote after the jump.  But his analysis of why our standards have sunk so low is thought-provoking.  I’ll try to summarize it. [Read more…]

My prediction has already come true

On January 1, one week ago, I predicted in our annual exercise that someone would propose amending the Constitution to allow Barack Obama to serve a third term.   It has already happened:

Democratic New York Rep. Jose Serrano reintroduced a bill in Congress Friday to repeal the 22nd Amendment, which places term limits on the U.S. presidency.

The bill, which has been referred to committee, would allow Barack President Obama to become the first president since Franklin Roosevelt to seek a third term in office.

H.J. Res. 15 proposes “an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to repeal the twenty-second article of amendment, thereby removing the limitation on the number of terms an individual may serve as President.”

via New York congressman introduces bill to abolish presidential term limits | The Daily Caller.