Government is not a private enterprise. It is a public obligation.
As shown by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder with his "emergency management" (EM) plan for the bankrupt City of Detroit, the GOP is on the one hand cunning in trying to promote privatization as a free market paradise while "caring" for the publics' interests; on the other hand, continuing to irresponsibly govern using archaic methods out of 19th century, political/economic thought.
Detroit and its legislature have been experiencing a corporate/Wall Street coup. Thus, the EM can have power, under "law," to make and change policy decisions at will, and without accountability to the public; and having racism being involved, which is not too far-fetched, given Detroit's history of racial conflict (Chicago Magazine, October) 2012; Peoples World, March, 2010)
Detroit's "restructuring" is characteristic of what the right side of the political spectrum wants: Running government like a private enterprise.
The following are some simple meanings of the words government and enterprise (Merriam-Webster's Dictionary and Thesaurus).
Government: The making of policy; the organization or agency through which a political unit or agency exercises authority; the complex structure of institutions, laws and customs through which a political unit is governed.
Private enterprise/business: a project or undertaking that is especially difficult and risky; business organization; gamble, speculation; corporation; spunk.
Even with the simplicity, the meanings show an obvious distinction. Government is an entity comprised of politics, legislation and enacting laws which create the organizing of a society or nation with a mutual understanding of acknowledgement and acceptance from government and the people. Add in, of course, basic rights that are not for sale.
Private Enterprise/business is an entity (in modern terms) comprised of a board of directors, CEO, upper/lower management and workers with particular functions for each (or a smaller entity with a similar organization) to accumulate capital/sell products. But it does NOT enact laws, propose policies, have officials in office for a limited time (sometimes, anyway), conduct political campaigns and to be voted for or against, whether it's a society, nation or region.
“Private” enterprise, i.e., private monopoly, is about making more money than one deserves (considering occupation and skills) while not being generally held accountable for violations against the public interest, but its executives saying (or whining) about their freedom being violated. There is capital dominating labor, which should be the other way around since capital cannot exist without labor.
Again, these are simple descriptions.
As part of complementing their privatization goals, Republicans have been adamant over the years about lowing taxes, this being a rallying cry. In itself it sounds noble. But, their selectivity has been akin to serving nobility. The upper classes have been the true beneficiaries, while consequently burdening the masses with the bulk of paying.
In April 2013, the public debt (as opposed to intra governmental debt, with both added to get the total of the national debt) was 75% of gross national product (GDP, total consumption of a population). Under Republican George W. Bush Jr., tax cuts were implemented (which Democratic President Obama extended). But, besides the 1% benefitting, Bush Jr.'s Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the 2008 Great Recession where as devastating to the people, both foreign and domestic. About 47% of public debt is held, or owned, by foreign investors. (U.S. Treasury Data, April 2012)
Overt funding of an already bloated military budget (gone way beyond self-defense) is supported and/or tolerated by the GOP, from "moderates" to neoconservative arm chair warriors. And in trying to balance the U.S. budget, the GOP is pushing cuts to necessary and beneficial social programs to cut government "interference." The latter in particular shows what one of the GOP's priorities is: funding war and gutting peace.
The current problem of making the government business-like has its roots in 1980, with the ascendency of the Right-wing, led by Republican President Ronald Reagan. (The political landscape took on a meaning reflecting the title of the Star Wars film, "The Empire Strikes Back.")
An increase in deregulation created wild speculation by the financial sector to "gamble" with other people's money. The "nuts and bolts" of this period leading to the Great Recession is well-documented by director Charles Ferguson in his film, "Inside Job."
The handiwork of the Bush Jr. administration was especially a factor. The public debt climbed up to 69% of GDP in 2008, the last year of his second term. (Wikipedia: National Debt of the United States) College expenses shot up to 130%. (Censky, 06/ 01/2011, CNN Money)
The U.S. national debt now is over $16 trillion. A record essentially attributed to GWB Jr.: A $10 trillion+ debt, and with his first term, even starting with a surplus from the Clinton administration, then passed on to the Obama administration. (Who, then, in their right, sanely-speaking, mind would blame the debt on Obama? Politically-speaking, the Right would.)
Considering what is described above, the GOP and Rick Snyder cause problems overall, not solutions, for state and federal governments to be run for promoting the general welfare, stated in the U.S. Constitution.
The word humanitarian is not a part of the GOP's vocabulary, when looked at ideologically. The idea of staging a corporate/Wall Street coup in Detroit is a glaring example.
© 2013 David Starr