Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Run Government like a business

A common cry in election rhetoric is that government should run like a business.  There is a fundamental flaw in that logic. Unlike business, government has to provide some services that cannot be profitable unless they are corrupt for example police. How can law enforcement be a business?  Who would pay for it the 99% of the time they don’t feel they need it; or the Fire department?  There are too many things that government is expected to do, or be ready to do that can only be tax funded which means everyone must pay a share, hopefully a fair share, all the time.  You can’t wait until you are invaded then run out and buy an Army.  We all pay to educate today’s children so we will have tomorrow’s professionals.  A previous generation including those who had no children paid for our basic education.  Then there are public roads, parks, pensions, water, sewers, civil defense, zoning and so on.
True some government services, like the post office look like they can run like a business, most of the time. Even that has some limits, some things the post office does would not be done by a profit oriented business, like delivering to every single address, no matter how remote, inconvenient or dangerous.

If it could be run like a business, who would you want to run it?   A Henry Ford who created the modern middle class, or a Kenneth Lay of Enron, who made himself rich and defrauded millions?

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