The President of the United States has one of the most important and visible jobs in the world. As the official Head of State, he is the face of the nation to the world. As the leader of the executive branch of government, he is responsible for making sure the country runs as it should. Such a high-level job has both its advantages and its disadvantages. With so much power and fame comes a tremendous amount of stress and responsibility.
The President has the power to shape the country as he sees fit. As commander-in-chief, he is the leader of a vast network of bureaucracy, including the military. While the President does not control Congress, he is able to issue Executive Orders, which have the force of law and do not require approval of Congress. In addition, the President has the power of veto over legislation passed by Congress.
Being President is a job unlike any other. The President gets to travel all over the world and meet important people. In addition to a £260,000 annual salary, the President also gets a £32,500 annual expense account and gets to live in the White House. He gets a personal plane, a personal chef and access to the Camp David retreat whenever he wants. When the President retires after one term or two, he gets an annual pension of £124,345 as of March 2008, and protection by the Secret Service for 10 years.
Although the President might be the most powerful person in the world, the divided nature of the government limits his powers. The President cannot introduce legislation to either house of Congress. As a result, he is reliant upon sympathetic Senators and Representatives to legislate for him. Similarly, while the President controls the army, only Congress has the power to declare war. If a President is in power while his opposing party controls either or both houses of Congress, legislation tends to stall and he is unable to execute large portions of his agenda.
With great power comes great responsibility and great stress. Being the leader of the free world is an all-consuming job, forcing the occupant of the Oval Office to work excessive hours. Being responsible for the lives of so many people carries with it a lot of stress. Studies have shown that Presidents go grey in their hair more quickly than the average American. By one estimate, Presidents age at twice the regular rate while in office.
- The Free Dictionary: Presidential Powers
- The Free Dictionary: Executive Order
- ipl2: Salaries and Retirement Benefits of U.S. Presidents and Other Federal Government Employees
- Senate: Former Presidents: Federal Pension and Retirement Benefits
- MLive: Going Gray: The Power of Presidential Aging
- Boston: Presidential Aging