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Category Archives: Business Principles in Government

I am sick to death of hearing about how what we need is to have savvy business leaders take charge of runaway government spending and bring sound business principles to running the country. It is a fallacious and myopic response to the perceived problems of government, that if it comes to fruition, will actually exacerbate the real issues we are facing as a country.

First, being a successful business person doesn’t prepare one for public service anymore than being a lawyer does, and possibly not as well as being a lawyer does. Lawyers make up more than half of the Congress, and they are terrible, but there is no reason to think it would be any better if the elected came from any other walk of life. Once you enter political life, you are absorbed into the culture already present, regardless of your former profession.

Bluntly speaking, let’s drop the whole notion of a guy out of the movie “Dave” going in there and making good ol’ American common sense decisions, that speak to the heart of the American people. The “businessmen” that are usually running for office are straight out of the corporate hierarchy, most of whom have made their reputations on keeping stock prices up by not just cutting, but slaughtering American jobs, and benefits and retirement for workers, while making everything they can in China, thereby destroying the long-term prognosis for the American economy for short-term returns. They remunerate themselves for insuring the future impoverishment of America, by rewarding themselves with millions of dollars in wages, compensation, and bonuses, and negotiate contracts guaranteeing that the company they helm will pay for everything from their penthouse to their dry cleaning for the rest of their lives.

Finally, lest we forget. These people who reward themselves so richly for changing volume sales of their corporations by tenths of a percent, and now so piously want to “get America back on the right track” are the very people who have corrupted the system with thousands of lobbyists and millions in campaign contributions. There are no lobbyists in Washington working for you, you don’t have the money to hire one, so your congressman spends his day listening to the lobbyists of corporations, and doing their bidding to insure future campaign contributions. The only thing that putting these people in Washington will do is make them their own best lobbyist. They don’t give a shit about sending your job overseas now, why do you think they will care about you when they are your Senator?

That is one of the things that makes Rand Paul so refreshing as a candidate, he was just an eye doctor that decided to make a change in the world. Unfortunately, he is also an idiot that believes the same “business has the know-how to fix it” line of bull.

Arnold Schwarzenegger ran for governor spouting the same “business principles” crap. “The people of California are working, it is the government that is not working.” He said he would “eliminate redundancies and save money”. He criticized Grey Davis for wanting to borrow money to prop up the budget of California, as well as his plan to cut school money and money for poor families. Within 6 months, Arnold had borrowed money to prop up the budget, and cut money for schools and the poor for the first of what would be many times.  Now after 7 years of Arnold and his practical, business sensibilities, California, that if an independent nation would be the world’s sixth largest economy, is broke.

I don’t want government priorities to have fiscal responsibility first and foremost. There are many important things that lose money that we need. The people who tell me the Post Office is losing money and it should be privatized it so it will be more efficient, don’t live in a place like Sulfur Well, Kentucky. I like maps, but I have never seen it on any map. It is so small that the tiny post office doesn’t even deliver the mail. The residents just stop by to pick it up. Maybe it is not fiscally responsible, but it is a good thing to have in Sulfur Well. The people who talk about privatizing the post office, wouldn’t stand to privatize the military. I am sure that would save money too. We could get rid of the Air Force as well. Just rent planes from Fed Ex and kick the bombs out the back when we need to bomb something. The bombs are laser guided so you don’t need to have a terribly accurate bombing platform right? The post office was the only branch of government that turned a profit up until the late 90’s when everything started being done online. With the reduced volume came reduced income, but it isn’t that the Post Office made bad business decisions, and where the hell are all the 18-year-old kids gonna register for the draft if the nearest post office is 80 miles away? Changing where they do that will cost MONEY, and no matter where you decide to do it, somebody is going to call you  fiscally irresponsible. Part of the reason to have government is to do the things that are too big, too expensive, or too inefficient, that still need to get done.

Really if we were serious about electing people who were prepared for public service we would have to beef up the Political Science curriculum in colleges, demand a Master’s Degree in Political Science as well as at least a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and Sociology out of potential politicians, and require at least a decade of service running and growing a Non-Profit, with full disclosure of all 10 years of financial records while at the same time having the person interning at local levels of government.  We should then require that all campaign finances be made public on the website of the candidate, and that once elected that his agenda be 100% public and availible on his website. This means every meeting with every lobbyist including lunches and every trip made and who financed it. If we aren’t able to get any meaningful campaign fund reform, than every congressman should be required to wear the corporate logo of his top 12 campaign contributors right below the ubiquitous flag pin on his lapel. Maybe then, maybe, we would have a better class of politicians in office. Then again, there is a saying that anybody who desires political office is unworthy of it because of the desire for political office.

What we shouldn’t do is presume that anybody is worthy of public office because he was a cop, fireman, veteran, judge, athlete, or god forbid, a corporate vampire. What makes a public servant good is serving the people and looking for their long-term as well as short-term good. We don’t get much of that here.

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