Wednesday, March 2, 2011

America, Inc: The Right's Love Affair With Trying To Run Government Like A Business

In today's Arizona Republic, a Letter to the Editor posits that we are not the United States of America, but that we are instead America, Inc.
When all the political agendas and posturing are brushed aside, what remains is America Inc. When America is run like any prosperous business, we all benefit. When America is run by lawyers who become politicians and know nothing about business, we suffer. Government workers are no different from overhead in a small business. Yes, overhead is necessary; but too much overhead destroys any business. Wake up, America Inc., or you're going out of business, and God help us!
I always get a chuckle with those who think that government can and should be run like any other business in the United States.  They actually believe that if the various governments were run like a business that we would never have deficit spending or a national debt.  They actually believe that instead of a President, that we should have a CEO.  That instead of a Congress with a Senate and a House of Representatives that we have a Board of Directors.

No government in the history of the world has ever been run like a business.  The reason being is that business aren't created to benefit the common good but to produce profit its owner.  It doesn't matter if the government in question is a republic, a true democracy, a monarchy or a dictatorship, it relies on the support of those governed.  In our form of government, we elect others to represent our interests, our hopes and our dreams.

We want our governments to provide security, to provide clean water, to teach our children and provide thoroughfares so as we can travel freely.  In the last century we have even wanted to government to provide a social safety net.  What those who believe that government should be like a business don't want is to pay for all that government.  They want government on the cheap.

I don't want government on the cheap.  I want government that is affective and efficient and sometimes that doesn't come cheap.  As I have written before, I think our public schools should be palaces of learning.  I also believe that we should be paying our teachers at least what we pay our rookie pro football players.  We should give them the best educational materials, the latest books, the best technology.  We shouldn't be treating them as social and fiscal pariahs.

Besides, knowing that businesses can't operate without government being there to protect them and subsidize them doesn't exactly make me a fan of running government like a business.  The failures of Enron and a host of other businesses should scare people off the idea of running government like a business.  For some reason they don't.  I guess when you are blinded by ideology that government should be done on the cheap nothing will change their minds.  Which is too bad for the United States of America.

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