Article II, Section I, Clause 4 of the United States Constitution (the presidential eligibility clause) states that:
“No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty-five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.”
The eligibility clause is fine as far as it goes. It just doesn’t go far enough.
The Founders failed to consider that to be eligible for the presidency in a Capitalist Society, a person be at least minimally acquainted with Capitalism. This omission is the root cause of much of the mischief that career politicians wholly unfamiliar with the business of business have inflicted on the rest of us.
The Wall Street Journal recently took President Obama to task for remarks about the Keystone XL pipeline.
The President said that the project would be no help to U. S. workers or consumers. “Understand what this project is: It is providing the ability of Canada to pump their oil and send it through our land, down to the Gulf, where it will be sold everywhere else. It doesn’t have an impact on U. S. gas prices.”
This assertion is a head-scratcher for anyone conversant with the law of supply and demand. Someone should tell the President that oil markets are global and adding to global supply might well reduce domestic gas prices. That Keystone XL would also carry light oil from North Dakota’s Bakken Shale only compounds the error.
Nor is President Obama the only culprit.
Wikipedia identifies George W. Bush, the 43rd President, as an American politician and businessman. Although he “worked” (invested) in the oil business and co-owned the Texas Rangers baseball team, in truth he was a politician by birth and businessman by opportunity.
In a 1991 mid-term critique of Bush’s fiscal policy the Cato Institute, a conservative think tank, dubbed him “Profligate” and “Bushonomics” nothing more than “ratcheting government spending upward and raising taxes to pay the tab.”
Former President Bill Clinton has miniscule experience in the private sector. Hillary Clinton rode her husband’s coattails to a partnership with a politically connected Little Rock law firm.
The list goes on. A simple amendment to Article Two rectifying this oversight would read as follows:
“Neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have been a minimum of five years engaged as entrepreneur for profit or agent for hire of same, and shall not have attained to the Age of thirty-five years, and been fourteen years a Resident of the United States.”
It may not be a cure-all, but it’s a start.