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Sanity Zone 10-4-2012 Business aint Government, and Vice Versa

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Posted 10-04-2012 at 12:07 PM by xan

There is a laughable myth that government can be run just like a business. That managers who are good at making profits can just easily run a successful government. It is laughable because those who get lucky enough to succeed in a business think that they know how to solve society's ills.

Governing is hard. Really hard. But it's easy to be a monopolist. In fact, if you fail at being a monopolist, you should be sterilized. Most businesses operate to get as close to a monopoly as possible. Differentiate, drive down costs, create an image of utility, real or imagined.

Government is about achieving as much fairness and equity in administration of law and service as possible. There is no success if government gives the "impression" of utility; it either does or doesn't. The theory of profits is incompatible with fairness and equity. This is not to say that administering should be bereft of efficient use of resources. However, fairness and equity should never be compromised for the sake of efficiency. Government is successful when citizens believe that the game of life within that society is fair, or at least makes every last effort to be.

Our worst federal administrations have been "successful" businessmen. This arrogant class of elected officials usually are so myopic that they don't foresee the externalities of their policies. As an example, the investor class, with its businessman President, lobbied for and received a restructuring of the tax code to favor passive income (capital gains) over wages (hard work). To the investor class, this made sense, as it would "stimulate" the economic growth of the nation. It actually did the opposite. In fact, historical analysis should have deterred this from happening, as lowering passive income tax rates to near or below wage tax rates always results in poor economic performance and contraction of jobs. But, businessmen know what is best.

Those who focus on governing have to look at the whole picture. They have to address more than just the next quarter or the next election cycle (at least they SHOULD). Laws take years to pass, take years to implement and more years to assess the impact. Business decisions are always more responsive because the scale is much smaller and there is less nuance. It often takes decades to assess the impact of a President, precisely because of the scale effect.

It is tragic that we have another choice between a governor and a businessman. At least in the last election, both men were governors, who understood what it means to have the privilege of governing. Both men were extremely concerned with the total ramifications of any legislation or policy and had the long term health of the nation as their foremost goal. It was a tough choice between men dedicated to social service.

Sadly, that is not the debate this time. This election cycle is bereft of facts, specifics and constructive discussion. This election cycle is all about power. The discussion has devolved into which side can paint the other one with enough fecal lies to make that candidate unelectable. It's not their fault. As a nation, we've become a massive collection of lazy, low-information voters. We just can't find the time to fact check or hold candidates accountable. Rather than be insightful and engaged, we've slovenly transformed politics into a team sport, where, regardless of the team's policies, we cheer them on to victory, because it's just so much easier since we don't have to question our identities.

No argument, there's a lot of cause to be angry. You can hate either candidate, but that's falling into the trap of ignorance. Sometimes electing the guy you hate because his policies are better makes the world work better, not the least because you'll be watching more closely to what he/she does. The next step would be to stop listening to the candidates' parties' propaganda and find out all the facts. Then, god help you, think about what could possibly go wrong with that policy.

That may be asking a lot. Good luck.
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  1. Old Comment
    The problem in America is too many people have no real idea what they're talking about and then tell everyone else they don't know what they are talking about. Here's a fact worth pondering: You say that it's sad we have a governor vs. a businessmen, but actually we have a governor/businessmen vs. a senator/lawyer. The current President has no experience in business or in governing... Take that for what you will. I'm not a rah rah politician, because politics mostly make me sick. But I have an obligation as a citizen to know the facts and make the best choice possible.

    So with that in mind, I would like someone who knows how to manage this economy. Having not only experience, but a record of success in business is a good place to start, and we have, at the very least, that in one of these candidates. The other has zero. But I believe in giving people a chance to prove or make a fool of themselves before I make a final judgement. All I have to do is look back 4 years ago when Obama said he'd "cut the deficit in half" by the end of his first term. Instead it has risen. And what is his defense? He tells us that we're losing a little less each year... That isn't gaining, and it's far from cutting the debt in half as he pledged. We're still losing TRILLIONS every year. You can blame the previous administration all day long, and they are absolutely responsible for the debt that was inherited, but when you add to the problem you can no longer point the finger at someone else. Especially not after a full term.

    I don't want or need the government to tell me how to live my life. I need the government to manage the economy in a way that allows us to live better and be able to pursue our dreams. So I have to disagree that being a businessmen doesn't give you an advantage in being able to run a government. No one is saying it's easy. But when you've been successful in business and have many years experience as a governor, I feel a lot better about that than someone who has been neither of the two. Good managers know how to manage money.

    The president wants to raise taxes to cut the deficit. Well that sounds brilliant if you don't know the first thing about economics. And I'm no economist, but this is just common sense. If you raise taxes you cause businesses to have to lay off workers, which means people are out of work and not paying taxes. You see, it's not about how much you tax one person, but how many people are paying taxes. Lower the rate, and you have more jobs, more tax payers, subsequent increased revenue and less dependency on the federal government.

    But that's just it. This administration wants us to depend on the government. It's how they can control us.

    It's Marxism at it's best (or worst). You rob the rich to pay the poor- because Marxists believe it is somehow immoral to be wealthy- and everybody is supposed to be happy with that. But not only is that unfair to those who have worked hard to get to whatever wealthy income they have EARNED, it also means the poor and middle class no longer can find work because no one can afford to pay them, and everyone goes begging to big brother. We're not there yet, but we're close, and we have to stop it while we still can.

    If you disagree with me, I don't hate you for it. I want what's best for this country, and I'm sure you do too. But I can say with absolute conviction that this administration isn't it.
    Posted 10-05-2012 at 09:32 PM by burningmetal burningmetal is offline

  2. Old Comment
    Another nice Xan post.
    Posted 10-13-2012 at 05:11 PM by jcp026 jcp026 is offline
  3. Old Comment
    saintsfan403's Avatar
    Good post. I was born in Canada, but my family is American (my dad currently resides in the US) and due to my family ties/working as a petrologist, I'm always paying close attention the US political cycle.
    That being said, I'm enamoured with the conservative term 'job creator', especially when they use it to describe billionaire investors.
    I don't know where that term came from, but the myth of jobs magically arising due to lower taxes is absurd. No investor is a job creator, consumers are the sole mechanism that drives job creation (sorry Mr. experienced businessman)
    As far as I know, investors want to minimize expenses to increase their profits. I don't think that means spending money hiring millions of people.
    Posted 11-29-2012 at 11:53 PM by saintsfan403 saintsfan403 is offline
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