I was listening to NPR the other day and they were talking about how people are disappointed in Obama. Many democrats are either switching to the republican party or may not turn out in the high numbers they did for the 2008 presidential election. (Though many say turnout for midterm elections are always lower than for presidential years)
This got me thinking. I was recently hunting for a job and I looked at a lot of the employment ads that are out there on this great big thing we call the intranet. So, what would an ad for President look like? What’s his job description? Is he really doing that bad a job?
I looked it up. Google search: President’s Job Description and you get job descriptions for CEO’s and corporate presidents. But search for President of the United States job description and you get all sorts of interesting things. My favorite was the job description I found at this site: Black Dog
Presidential Job Description
Looking for a new job? Maybe you'd like to be President of the United States. Here's a job description in case you're interested. Be sure to tidy up your resume before you apply!
Job Description U.S. President
Must be at least 35 years old
Must be a Citizen of the United States
Must have lived in the United States for at least 14 years
Term of Employment:
4 years, with the possibility of a second 4 years
Salary: $400,000 plus
free room and board
Choose cabinet members
Command the armed forces of the country
Meet with leaders of foreign countries
Make treaties with foreign countries
Appoint judges and ambassadors
Propose new laws
Sign bills into law and veto bills
Protect and defend the laws of the United States
Report to Congress once a year
Doesn’t sound too bad. Or at least it didn’t until I read this from eHow.com “It has been called the most difficult job on Earth. The president of the United States is on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for four consecutive years. The job is extremely stressful. Visible signs of aging usually appear within the first year of a president's term. “ hmmmm “Visible sighs of aging”? I think I’ll pass this one up. Besides, I have a part time job now.
When you look at the salary, $400,000 a year does sound pretty nice, but when you factor in that you’re on duty 24 hours a day for 4 years, that’s only about $45/hour. But I guess you have to factor in the expenses, transportation and the fact that you don’t need to pay for room and board, but if you owned a house and didn’t sell it, you’re still responsible for paying your mortgage (that is if you have one). So, it’s probably a little more like $61/hr which isn’t that bad when you think about it. But I suppose one would have to factor in the health risks associated with this, and the relative “cost” for missing out on family time. I’m not that ambitious. So now we know how much money the president makes. Roughly.
The job description above can be a bit misleading though. “4 years employment with the possibility of a second 4 years” but only if the majority of an entire country thinks you did a good job. That’s a lot of people to please, and my mother always said, “You can please some of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.”
Yes, you can Command the armed forces, but you need congressional approval for any deployment lasting longer than 60 days and you have to notify congress within 48 hours of declaring war (like they wouldn’t know). Treaties can be made, but only “with the advice and consent of the Senate” with a two-thirds majority. He can choose judges and ambassadors, but congress has to OK it. He can propose new laws, but unless someone in Congress agrees to introduce the law, and Congress passes it, nothing happens. Pardoning criminals… one of the few that’s self explanatory. Reporting to Congress, well that one is self explanatory too. Although the constitution doesn’t actually specify once a year, it’s much more vague, “from time to time”.
So, our forefathers put a lot of safeguards into this job description when we look at it closely. It seems like there’s not much the President can do without someone looking over his shoulder or without hoops to jump through. I think this is a good thing, and I also think we should all consider this when we judge whether or not President Barak Obama is doing a good job. I know I wouldn’t want his job right now, but I’m still glad I voted for him.
Want to see the actual text in the Constitution? I found this helpful on-line version at Cornell University.