Thursday, February 16, 2012

Vice Presidents – and Other Government Waste

Lately I’ve been wondering: What’s the purpose for the Vice President of the United States? I’m not asking from a partisan perspective, because it seems Democrat or Republican, the history of the Vice Presidency has been a glaring example of Federal government waste.

I know Vice Presidents stand first in line of succession if a President dies in office or becomes incapacitated. Sadly, at times that succession plan has been implemented. But shouldn’t the Vice President be more than a “spare tire” in the White House?

Spare tire seems a good comparison. Think about it – each of our cars has a spare tire, but we hope it’s never needed. Because that means something’s happened to a tire on the car. Can you remember the last time you looked at your car’s spare tire? Ever? Do you even know if it’s a full-sized tire, or just an emergency “donut”? We only know it’s there – just in case.

As suspense builds concerning who will oppose President Barack Obama in November, little is said about who will run for Vice President on the Republican ticket. As the office is currently designed, it doesn’t matter.

In the business world, vice presidents have clearly defined functions and job descriptions. For instance, I’m VP of communications for Leaders Legacy, Inc. As such I provide expertise on all communications, especially anything written. Similarly, vice presidents in virtually any other business or organization all have specific responsibilities to perform.

But in the executive branch of the U.S. government, the Vice President attends meetings, makes appearances at various events, and sometimes makes dumb statements in public (as Joe Biden and others have been known to do). But essentially, our Vice Presidents wait around in the unlikely event the Chief Executive can no longer fulfill his duties.

With all the President has on his plate, it would make sense to delegate significant duties to the VP. That would lighten the President’s load, and the VP would have something worthwhile to do, other than sitting behind the President as he gives the State of the Union address to Congress.

The Bible says, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work” (Ecclesiastes 4:9). Why not apply that principle to the Executive Office?

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