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About a decade ago, Washington Monthly published an article comparing the decision making styles of the Bush administration (dominated by the business mindset) and the Clinton administration.  The article described the Bush approach as clean - the people in charge made decisions and people below them in the hierarchy carried them out.  The people in charged asked for and received feedback and input but they were, in Bush's term, the deciders.  The article described the Clinton approach as messy and at times chaotic, but pointed out that the decisions coming out the Clinton administration tended to be better decisions.  The Clinton approach involved lots of discussion and debate, a cacophony of competing voices and ideas.  The result was that by the time the Clinton folks arrived at a course of action, all sorts of potential problems had been considered and integrated into the proposals.

The Bush approach is typical of the business world.  A handful of people make decisions everyone else implements them.  Theory says businesses are highly attuned to information - that business leaders receive feedback through multiple mechanisms - everything from the standard financial reporting to turnover rates and customer feedback.  Business schools have spent decades trying to reinforce the notion the successful businesses are open to feedback.  The reality is different.  Employees have a great many disincentives to providing bad news to management so bad news often doesn't get to decision makers.  Business literature is filled with examples of businesses that get bad news and ignore or rationalize it away.  Despite the business school argument (a favorite, by the way of Mitt Romney) that "management" is a discrete set of skills transferable to any business, business literature is replete with examples of successful business persons who figure their skills will work in any industry but whose ventures outside of their basic industry fail in sometimes spectacular ways.  Successful business leaders far too often become trapped in a bubble of bad information and ego-stroking.  Again, business literature has cases of CEOs who thought everything was just fine until the bankruptcy attorneys arrived.

If you look at the fiascoes and disasters of the Bush administration, you see clearcut examples of the business mindset at its most toxic.  Bad news was argued away, while even the faintest glimmer of good news was trumpeted from on high.  Bad decisions were ruthlessly doubled down because no one in the inner circle dared disagree.   Bad news wasn't communicated up the hierarchy and those in charge remained in a bubble of comforting, reassuring information.  When the collapse came, they couldn't cope with it.

Mitt Romney ran a nearly perfect business school campaign.  He talked endlessly with "investors" large and small, tailored his message to each audience like a good marketer, attacked the incompetence of current management, projected worst case scenarios in an attempt to validate a change in management and projected equally rosy images of what would happen after that change in management.  He ran his presidential campaign as he would have run a takeover bid of a large company.  He packaged self interest as patriotism and marketed it to voters in the same way he would have marketed an IPO to investors.  His 2008 loss was integrated into his thinking - just like the good b-school clone he is, he examined what went wrong and made adjustments.  The endless flip flopping and changing positions was an indication of his core principles - you have to sell people on buying a product and the product he was selling was management Mitt Romney style.  In the b-school model, your core values and beliefs are irrelevant because what you're selling is a skillset.  "I can manage this," you say, "I have the skills."

The most common criticisms of government - inefficiency, bureaucratic, unresponsive, isolated from the people and so on - are equally applicable to large businesses.  Don't believe me?  Try dealing with an airline or a big bank sometime.  Look at the American auto industry which should have spent the 1990s planning for the future and instead fell into a rut of producing behemoth SUVs.  Even Hollywood studios dump tens of millions of dollars into comically awful movies and outright flops (the story behind Disney's John Carter is a good example of the ways in which big business manages to outsmart itself and dump piles of good money after bad into money losing propositions; you had people successful in some areas who simply couldn't hear that they might not succeed in this one).

There's been some rather grim post-mortems of the Romney campaign focused on the fact that it sunk massive resources into Plan A and had no Plan B.  When their GOTV system crashed, there wasn't a back up plan.  When Romney lost, there wasn't a concession speech prepared.  Romney's campaign paid large bonuses to his staffers after the lackluster convention and gaffe filled European trip - ironically, that as well is the business model.  They met the goals and so they got the money.  You launch the product on time and hope it works.  If it doesn't, you go back to the drawing board.

The idea is that you do your research up front, you test with focus groups and maybe even test the new product in a targeted market, see how it works then introduce it on a larger scale, you roll it out in a major campaign.  You can look at Romney's 2008 campaign as a test marketing effort that informed his 2012 campaign. He adapted afterwards, wooing conservatives far more intently to blunt the rise of candidate's to his right.  His sudden pivot to the center in the first debate was deliberately planned and timed to get the maximum benefit.  It wasn't some unprecedented move but I think it was Romney's one move that surprised the Obama team (the timing not the move itself).  Although Romney may have been  uniquely dishonest among American politicians, that makes sense - he was not selling ideology, he was selling his management skills and winning the election would be proof of his superior management - if you win, who cares if you lie?  As long as it isn't illegal.  In essence, the Romney folks were saying "No one really cares if AT&T supports one cause or another as long as our cell phone is good."

Here's the problem though.  Government isn't a business.  Politics aren't a business.  There are things both can learn from businesses (and vice versa) but they aren't the same thing, they don't exist for he same reasons and the skills required to succeed at one are distinctly at variance with the skills to succeed in the other.   The decision making processes are radically different, the goals are radically different, even the communication processes are different.

Successful government requires constant discussion and compromise, constant engagement.  Unlike the CEO who can bark orders and have them carried out, Presidential power is limited and requires careful work building coalitions and majorities. Congress isn't a board of directors - each member of Congress can accurately be envisioned as a leader in his/her own right, the head of a small and powerful part of the government.  An electoral campaign isn't a takeover bid of an underperforming company.  The metaphors in which successful business persons think can only take them so far in politics.  Mitt Romney and the entire Republican party apparatus pushed the metaphor as far as they could.  They  nearly succeeded and at the end of the day they accomplished a lot.  But they started with the wrong questions and ended up at the wrong answer.  It's not a business and the intellectual models of the business world don't work out in the political world.  A candidate isn't a product to be sold and government isn't a business to be managed.  Electioneering isn't a marketing campaign and serving voter and constituents isn't like selling a product or service.

Cross posted at OneUtah.

Originally posted to glendenb on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 04:23 PM PST.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  MBA Presidents (33+ / 0-)
    Here's the problem though.  Government isn't a business.  Politics aren't a business.  There are things both can learn from businesses (and vice versa) but they aren't the same thing, they don't exist for he same reasons and the skills required to succeed at one are distinctly at variance with the skills to succeed in the other.   The decision making processes are radically different, the goals are radically different, even the communication processes are different.
    Whenever I hear a political candidate say he should be elected to office because he knows how to run a business, it pretty much guarantees I'm going to support his opponent.

    About a month ago, I heard a story on NPR where a Young Conservative interviewed gushed about how good it would be to have a president who was an MBA because he would "know how to make a profit."

    For one thing, I didn't know that government was supposed to earn a profit.  And who does she think would receive it?

    And for the other, she was probably too young to remember this, but the last time we had an "MBA President", his name was Geo. W. Bush.

    "All the World's a Stage and Everyone's a Critic." -- Mervyn Alquist

    by quarkstomper on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 04:51:38 PM PST

  •  "Government should be run like a business" (32+ / 0-)

    is almost the stupidest goddamned thing I have ever heard.  Every time I hear someone say that, I immediately know they are either a RWNJ or someone too stupid to apply a moment's worth of critical thinking to republican talking points.  

    •  I would ammend this to add (16+ / 0-)

      that civic institutions (schools, prisons etc.) should not be run like businesses either.  Sadly those of us in education are seeing that sad results of what happens in this scenario.

      “It is the job of the artist to think outside the boundaries of permissible thought and dare say things that no one else will say."—Howard Zinn

      by musiclady on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 07:52:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Don't forget science. (6+ / 0-)

        Many of the country's scientists are supported through NSF, DoE, DoD, NIH, etc...

        Business will not necessarily invest in say... developing magnetic semiconductors for spintronics. This is an exercise left to my fellow colleague and many others with support of the NSF (coming from fellow taxpayers).

        Right now there is one component we can easily utilize to store/process information corresponding to a part of the electron: CHARGE!

        Possible in today's techs. You're using that technology NOW.

        We would also like to utilize another part of the electron called SPIN!

        Possible NOW with special layering of metal/semiconductor materials.... or doping GaAs with magnetic element Mn - that is okay i guess.  Most of those developments come out of grad student toil and of course, tax payer monies.

        It's a time consuming process. Time is money so private enterprise would not invest in this kinda stuff.

        Why hello there reality, how are you doing?

        by Future Gazer on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 09:09:27 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  National Academy of Sciences Climate Change Video (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Kevskos, stormicats

          Their main website is nas.edu, lots of good science information for decision makers, teachers and the public.

          Here's their video about the science of climate change:

          http://www.youtube.com/...

        •  Science is not a business (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Kevskos, pitbullgirl65, JeffW

          In the process of getting out of a broken post-doc, the principle investigator lectured me on how science is a business now. Her lab was a mess of compartmentalization. She was so intent on maintaining total control that she refused outright when I suggested starting a weekly lab meeting to catch up on overall progress of research projects. I have, until that point, have never even heard of a lab that did not conduct lab meetings or any other of communication among members. She literally jumped down my throat when I put forward a suggestion for a grad student's project which strayed marginally from my own assigned project. Even though part of my post doc involved organizing the lab and teaching grad students, there were projects that I had no idea were even underway. Not surprisingly, her lab isn't doing so well now, a year later.

          Registered Buddhacrat

          by clear SKies on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 12:57:19 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  tl dr version (0+ / 0-)

            Science takes time. There's no way that business will wait as long as science needs and that's why government picks up the tab when it comes to funding science.

            I can't defend the way PIs run their labs, but a good one will ultimately accept that there are failures and unexpected results. They will help you pick yourself up and try something else.

            Why hello there reality, how are you doing?

            by Future Gazer on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 05:47:15 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  I think the monied interests (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JeffW

        have intentionally spent billions trying to confuse the difference between civilization and socialism (and w/our President I think that's often used as a euphemism for prejudice).

        The shrub masters had their conclusions before they needed any facts.  Any facts tossed were cherry picked or meaningless. Remember, reality was what they said it was and any fact they didn't like was viciously attacked while blatant lies were exalted. In fact, like glendenb said, the shrub admin was run exactly like a corporation.

        Rmoney is a person w/o any skills other than salesman, who through privilege got a Harvard MBA and through $, coercion (bullying), and lack of conscience succeeded as a sociopath in a sociopaths ballpark but lost in the reality of a national presidential campaign.

  •  If Government WAS run like a business, (6+ / 0-)

    think how much revenue, (less profit of course) they could collect by charging people for walking on City/Town sidewalks!!  I would invest in that.    

  •  Fabulous observation & analysis (8+ / 0-)

    When Harry Reid described Mitt as giving used car salesman a bad name, I thought:
    "Who would you rather by a used car from?"

    Avoiding Theocracy at Home and Neo Cons Abroad

    by UniC on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 12:31:34 AM PST

  •  The goals are different! (15+ / 0-)

    Business is about making money with no investment in the 47& or a future beyond 2014. Government is about our collective power to fix things for the 100% and beyond.

    Why we bother to engage in dialogue with these idiots is beyond my comprehension. Why pundits try to reason with them is beyond me. We know what is wrong with them. They just think that they need to scream louder. So let them scream louder!!!!

    Meanwhile, we need to just keep working for 20141111111

  •  Don't Validate the Business Vs. Government Debate (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lazybum, Sparhawk, ladybug53, stormicats

    Neither exists in a vacuum. Someone who's successful in government is going to need fluency in the language of business and a lot of very successful business people likely have a keen understanding of the gears of government. There is no business monolith any more than there is a government monolith. The more we buy into the idea of it's government vs. business interests, the more we validate right wing nuts that it's a false dichotomy of business vs government.

    I would argue that business and goverment are parallel universes that are more alike than they are different and neither side is as simple as it appears on the surface. Businesses don't necessarily love other businesses. A lot of them would love business destroying policies if those policies decimate their competitors and give them an unfair advantage. Likewise, there is often little love lost between different arms of government even within the same political party.

    That guy who said we need to elect an MBA president deserves derision, but not because he thinks a business savant would be better for the government. He should be derided because he fails to see that the best government officials already most of the same skills that he thinks is missing in government.

    •  Typo... (0+ / 0-)

      That last paragraph should read...

      That guy who said we need to elect an MBA president deserves derision, but not because he thinks a business savant would be better for the government. He should be derided because he fails to see that the best government officials already have most of the same skills that he thinks is missing in government.

  •  This is an idea I have had for years, (12+ / 0-)

    but you have put it into words far better than I could.

    The government isn't supposed to be about making a profit. Yet making a profit is the only purpose behind any business.

    The documentary "The Corporation" made it clear in my mind.

    From the "The Film" page;

    Taking its status as a legal "person" to the logical conclusion, the film puts the corporation on the psychiatrist's couch to ask "What kind of person is it?"
    The conclusions are chilling... We must all remember that a corporations (or business) is not a democracy...it is a dictatorship, run by people who's only purpose is to make money.

    "Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell." ~ Edward Abbey

    by SaraBeth on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 02:18:20 AM PST

  •  American enterprise has many problems. (4+ / 0-)

    A main one seems to be that people who go into business tend to be rather cavalier about what comes first and what comes next. Also, in recent years they have been convinced by professional schools of management that, instead of focusing on the goods and services being produced and brought to market, they could just focus on manipulating people to force them to do the right thing -- i.e. what they were told. While ideologues are convinced that all it takes to accomplish anything is the right idea, in practice they actually rely almost entirely on the word. That is, dictators tell people what to do and obedience insures, rather magically, that it gets done. Whether or not anyone actually knows HOW to do anything gets left out of the equation. So, business is conducted on a rather esoteric plane without anyone having to ge their hands dirty.
    That the results are ultimately disasterous has gone largely unnoticed because, contrary to the myth of autonomy and independence, American enterprise has always (from the granting of the first charters by the crowned heads of Europe) been subsidized from the public til, either with access to free resources, protection from competitors, or, in more recent times, grants of money. The myth of free enterprise is perhaps the most pervasive and provides evidence of what I noted at the start -- confusion over what comes first and what comes next to the point of reversal. Which, in the case of "run government like a business" actually means that government is supposed to like business and help it succeed like it always has. Government regulation that doesn't make enterprise more regular and predictable and less risky, but aims to protect either consumers or the environment, is not only anathema; it is a gross reversal of what they are accustomed to -- like children being expected to care for parents, instead of continuing to be suckled at the teat. American enterprise has existed in a juvenile state, lulled into thinking that demand (dictation) is what makes the world go 'round.
    Instinct-driven people are creatures of habit and indirection. Their basic strategy is round about, or perhaps random. Their habits make it possible to anticipate what they are going to do (and intercept them) but indirection serves to confuse their enemies. The cons' campaign was a good example. They attacked women to curry favor with males whom, I guess, they expected to return the favor by insuring that the women under their control would vote as they were told.
    Habit + indirection = failure. But then failure is their familiar. Even negative habitual experience can be a comfort. Not to mention that failure acts as a spur to "try and try again."
    The familiarity of failure is not a flaw, it is a feature. It is integral to the cons' existence.

    We organize governments to provide benefits and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 04:07:53 AM PST

  •  I have a business degree, been in business for (10+ / 0-)

    many years, and I've served on a city council.  The nuts and bolts operations of a government and a business are much the same to get the work done.  But you can't run government like a business since government exists to serve the public welfare and collectively do those thing we can't do alone.

    I think the one aspect of government that drives some people crazy and makes them demand government "be run like a business" is that government by its very nature engages in transfers of wealth and income.  The poorer, lower taxed parts of town tend to require more services and expenditure than the newer, wealthier, high tax parts of town.

    •  You have to balance between both groups of people (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kurt

      You have to keep in mind that the richer, high tax group are the people that actually pay the bills. Without them, you don't have a town or a government. Private sector economic activity pays for the whole party including all public services, no matter what level of government you're discussing.

      That being said, poorer people deserve representation as well, and I'm not sure that even conservatives have a problem with support of programs for poorer people by richer people. Smart government is government that takes into account these differing interests.

      (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
      Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

      by Sparhawk on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 10:14:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  At the local level the streets must be paved, the (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        happymisanthropy, orangeuglad

        sewers have to work, law enforcement must be provided for, and fire protection provided.  The list goes on.  Poor people pay taxes too, but the property taxes in the center city drop as people flee to the urban fringe.  But a city is an organic whole and the quality of life of those with more wealth paying higher taxes are as dependent on maintaining the health of the community as are those who live in less wealthy areas.

      •  and the government needs (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JeffW, orangeuglad

        to protect the economy from megalomaniacs who believe that their contributions are more valuable than other people's.  Depressions are always caused by rich people who think they can keep squeezing the middle class indefinitely.

        It's been a hundred years, isn't it time we stopped blaming Captain Smith for sinking the Titanic?

        by happymisanthropy on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 12:25:27 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  This thinking bothers me a bit (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pitbullgirl65, JeffW

        The richer, high tax group of people do not actually pay the bills.  Oh, they pay part of them -- and if they have a big house inside the city or county, yes, they pay a bigger share than I do with my little 1000 sq. foot ranch.   But I still pay taxes.  Even when I rented an apartment instead of owning a house, I paid taxes, because you can be darned sure that the cost of those taxes was figured into the rent I paid.  

        I pay taxes with every gallon of gas I buy, with every non-food item I purchase, with every kilowatt of energy or gallon of water I use.  

        But I use a fraction of the kilowatts that the big house on the hill, with six bedrooms and a kitchen bigger than my entire house and three huge rooms for entertaining and five bathrooms.  My little yard can be cut with a push mower -- Big House uses a rider, unless he's using a service, and they THEY use a rider, because he's got a bloody acre and a half on that hill.  His backyard is as big as all the backyards on this block combined.

        He's using more resources than me.  He takes up more space than me.  He probably buys more expensive food, eats out more, has more than one vehicle, throws more parties....

        He pays more because he USES more.  If he lived in a 1000 square foot ranch and used a push mower, he wouldn't pay any more than I do.

        I refuse to kowtow to someone because they've chosen to live a more lavish lifestyle than I do, and because they've got the money to do so.  They can bloody well pay more -- it'll take a lot more water to put out a fire in his house than mine; his fancy house is a lot fatter target for thieves than mine.  

        Besides, private sector economic activity is NOTHING without CUSTOMERS. And that would be me again, wouldn't it -- as long as I've got money to spend.  None of mine is vacationing in the Caymans.

        Plenty of towns in this country got built with only average Joes and slightly-above-average Joes coming together to decide they wanted more than their own little House on the Prairie.  None of them waited for the largesse of the wealthy to lift them out of the dust -- they did it themselves, and the wealthy FOLLOWED because that's where the customers were.

        Poorer people don't deserve representation because it's a nice thing for those wealthy, deserving folks to do.  They deserve it because they, too, are part of the social compact.  Conservatives who have a problem with that simply never learned the basic lessons of kindergarden:  share your toys, be fair, and be nice.

        "There isn't a way things should be. There's just what happens, and what we do." — Terry Pratchett (A Hat Full of Sky)

        by stormicats on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 05:13:32 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  The situation state and local governments find (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kevskos, JeffW

      themselves in is more like a business than the Federal government. States, counties, and municipalities operate on close to a cash basis, borrow funds on the open market, may be statutorily required to be in balance, and have restricted or no ability to manipulate the financial and economic environments they find themselves in. Witness the bloodletting in the public sector over the last 3-4 years, mostly at the state and local level. The Federal government operates in a completely different universe. It must be responsive to a different set of needs and constituencies, and it can (and does) exert a great deal of influence on the economy and financial markets. That ability to intervene sets the Federal government apart and allows it to insulate itself from events in the short- and mid-term. Policy can take precedence over numbers, and the measures of effective government become intangibles one cannot enumerate on a balance sheet.

      I think this is at least part of the reason that the Mark Warners of the world can be good governors but make mediocre federal legislators (and poor presidents for that matter). That's not to say a business understanding of the need to invest for the long-term and in making government work efficiently are without value. It's just that they are in service of completely different objectives than a typical for-profit entity.

  •  Voters are not shareholders either (5+ / 0-)

    Typically each shareholder gets one vote for each share they own so when issues like CEO compensation come up at shareholder meetings it is guaranteed to pass regardless of what the smaller shareholders think.

    Republicans think the 47% have no shares so should not be allowed to vote.  That backfired.

  •  Businesses Grow Or They Die (4+ / 0-)

    I don't think Republicans want government to do that.

  •  If governments should be run like businesses (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kevskos, kurt

    wouldn't that mean that eventually businesses would also be run like governments?

    And because businesses are people, are governments people too? The mind boggles...

  •  Key dynamic. (6+ / 0-)

    We always have to remember one important thing - businesses can and do go bankrupt.

    Not every business is a roaring success. Many in fact go bankrupt, proving that all businessmen are not geniuses. In contrast very few governments are allowed to go bankrupt.

    Generally the aim of a business is to grow. To do this the owners have to take some risks. They identify a market that  they think they can make money in and go for it. If they are right they profit. If they are wrong they lose, and often harm suppliers in the process.

    In contrast governments don''t  get to pick their customers or their markets. They have to serve no matter the ''profitability''.

    Governments therefore generally take fewer risks and move more slowly, leading many to criticize. Only in a crisis do you tend to see quick action.

    So of course a government can not be run just like a company - unless you are happy having your government regularly going bankrupt.

    Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable. - JFK

    by taonow on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 06:28:29 AM PST

  •  You invest money into government assets (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    California06, walkshills, Kevskos

    You do not receive money back from government assets. In fact, it's very hard to determine a ROI. Interstate highways have facilitated trade far beyond what anyone could have imagined. But, if convoys of big trucks were stuck driving through every small town in America, maybe all of that traffic would have moved to rail. The dollar amount and the opportunity cost can't be measured.

    "A cynical, mercenary, demagogic press will produce in time a people as base as itself." - Joseph Pulitzer

    by CFAmick on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 07:07:23 AM PST

  •  finally (4+ / 0-)

    20 years ago a man ran for mayor of Houston on the idea  that he would run things like a business. A friend said that was wrong because a goverments goal is not to make money , but how to spend money. I have considered this to be true and wonder why others dont see it

  •  Not only methods but also measures of outcome (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    California06, happymisanthropy, JeffW

    You make excellent points that need wider public discussion before the next elections.

    And it's not just the methodologies and cultures that differ.  The target outcomes are very different and they are often much more difficult to measure when it comes to good government.

    In government, the costs and benefits are often far away, in time or place or character, from the investments that produce them.

    Even in something comparatively simple like health care, the magnitude of the true costs and benefits is never apparent to the insurance company making those decisions, nor is there any reason in the laissez-faire model that the company should care a whit about many of them.

    It's one of the reasons we assign certain tasks to government instead of commerce in the first place.

    ------
    Ideology is when you have the answers before you know the questions.
    It is what grows into empty spaces where intelligence has died.

    by Alden on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 08:32:19 AM PST

  •  I (5+ / 0-)

    think the government should be run like a family.  A family has to spend money wisely, but also takes the welfare of the family members in the decision making process.

    As a parent, you don't say that your child can't have braces because you want to make a bigger profit and have a bigger savings account.  You don't buy diamond-studded braces, but if you can afford them, you get good, regular braces and do without luxuries because it is good for the child.  You don't insist that an 8-year-old pay for them because there is no way that child can pay--not enough income.

    Repubs are doing the equivalent of telling the child to pay for her braces, even though she has no way to make enough money to do so.  Low income families can not possibly pay for some of the things that conservatives want to cut so that others can have the metaphor diamond-studded braces.

  •  The right has been so ideologically purified (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kurt, orangeuglad

    that they insist on their own set of facts, ones that do not exist in reality, and any so-called business model will simply collapse under the weight of their own bullshit when relying on fantasy.

    see: Cultural Revolution, Famine

    Have you hugged your Boeuf Bourguignon today?

    by wretchedhive on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 09:27:56 AM PST

  •  Business is for Profit (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean, fayea, JeffW

    Government is for Peaceful Society.

    The "Business Model" of top down national government has been tried many times - the most efficient being Nazi Germany.

    If not us ... who? If not here ... where? If not now ... when?

    by RUNDOWN on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 10:22:36 AM PST

  •  to secure these rights, Governments are instituted (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fayea, happymisanthropy, JeffW

    Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness are not all that profitable for business, but when Sandy hits, we have to help, we have no choice. What else can we do as a nation? We are in this together folks.

    If a country is a company, it is a very odd one. Our only customers are ourselves. Do we strive to make a profit off our children? Do we deny them healthcare because it is not cost effective? I hope not.

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the consent of the governed
    The Republicans ignore the part about why government is necessary. Just like they ignore most of the Constitution except for the tenth amendment, the second amendment and just  parts of the first. The rest is just a god damn piece of paper, to quote Bush.

    We most hang together, or we will most assuredly hang alone. We are not a business; we are a family.

    It is possible to read the history of this country as one long struggle to extend the liberties established in our Constitution to everyone in America. - Molly Ivins

    by se portland on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 11:04:31 AM PST

  •  From one who went from private to public (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fayea, La Gitane, Kevskos, JeffW, orangeuglad

    I agree with most everything you said, but I would like to flesh out this one point.  Government is not like a business because business is easy.  There is crossover in sales, management, PR, and sometimes collaboration.  In reality business is about producing one thing or achieving one result.  Governing is infinitely more complex.

    If my public organization does not perform then people in this state potentially get away with murder.  I am being literal in this example.  If my public organization does not operate with due process and arrive at consensus then a professional career can potentially be wrongfully destroyed.

    When I was in the private sector my only considerations were 1.) can I beat the competition on price, 2.) How far can I mark this up, and 3.) what is the least I have to do for the most profit?  That approach requires no concensus, no morals, and no consideration of other viewpoints.

    You are absolutely correct that Government is not a business.  Government must consider all.  Business only considers one or a few.  That is no way to approach service to your fellow citizens or the least among us.

    Of all forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane. - Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

    by SocialRazor on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 11:41:24 AM PST

  •  If the US were a business ... which States (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    catwho, JeffW, orangeuglad

    would we sell off as "underperforming assets"?

    Here's data to guide the decision of which States need to be let go.

  •  Rec'd for title alone (0+ / 0-)
    Successful business leaders far too often become trapped in a bubble of bad information and ego-stroking.  Again, business literature has cases of CEOs who thought everything was just fine until the bankruptcy attorneys arrived.
    Yep. Our bosses boss surrounds himself with people who tell him what he wants to hear, not what he needs to hear. Those that do tell him the truth are harrassed.  

    I'm so sorry if I'm alienating some of you/ YOUR WHOLE FUCKING CULTURE ALIENATES ME. Bikini Kill

    by pitbullgirl65 on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 03:19:47 PM PST

  •  If government spent (0+ / 0-)

    money like many businesses we would be throwing government workers in jail for wasting money.  I sold corporate travel for many years which also included many government agencies.  Very few companies tracked travel costs and required travelers to obtain the best travel price like government agencies.

    I also sold incentive travel.  Worked the travel for a health insurance company back in the 80's that sent over 1000 staff and spouses to Switzerland for a week and put them up at a hotel with a $500 plus a night rate.  Great use of health care funds there.  What would people say if Medicare tried something like that.

  •  Government is the antithesis of Business (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    stormicats, JeffW

    The goal of good government is to ensure that the many thrive.

    The goal of business is to ensure that investors are enriched ...often this is at the expense of the many when speaking of Big Business.  

    When people speak of making government small...what they mean is weak.   Weak enough that the Big Business can profit at their expense.  Pollution for Profit etc.

    "I think it is much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers that might be wrong." Richard Feynman

    by leema on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 04:23:00 PM PST

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