What If Our Government Ran Like A Business?

govt and businessOur country was built on business.  Free market, survival-of-the-fittest, improve-or-die business.  The United States of America has always been the land of opportunity – a place where success is not only possible, but fully expected by those who follow the timeless and dependable business formula:  work hard, be fair and honest, embrace change, meet the customer’s needs, strive for continual improvement.  Roll up your sleeves, git ‘er done. Take care of business.

American business people know how to build success and wealth that is shared by all.  It’s a perfect system, where vendors, employees, owners, and customers all benefit when the business model is executed right.  Our Constitution was written by geniuses – all of them businessmen.  It empowers individual citizens and protects our property rights, both of which build prosperity.  The framers clearly viewed daily life as business.

We are, and always have been, good at business.  So why do we suck so badly at government lately?

GDP growth is stagnant.  As our labor participation rate shrinks, our debt explodes.  Real wages and buying power have plummeted.  Federal government gets bigger while the quality of its work gets worse.   Our military has atrophied, our infrastructure is pathetic by international standards, and we have achieved banana-republic corruption status.  TSA security lines at airports are three hours long.  Our government can’t control our borders, but they are laser-focused on who goes in which bathroom.

It seems like our federal government can’t get anything right these days.  Maybe it’s because we haven’t had any business people running the show for a long time.  Washington, DC is now bulging with academics, lawyers, and career politicians.

If a business leader were in charge of our federal government, he or she would find a world of opportunities for easy and quick improvement.

A business leader would establish accountability.  In business, if an employee or a manager is given adequate resources and training and still doesn’t get the job done, he or she is fired.  In the federal government nobody is fired – ever – no matter how egregious their performance or corruption.  We can no longer afford government employee unions.  The outrageous pay rates and guaranteed benefits, the horrendous productivity, the protection of bad employees and the corrupt crony connections between government unions and politicians must stop.  Without the drag of government unions, the cost of government could be significantly and quickly reduced, and performance improved.

A business leader would face fiscal realities.  Unlike the current group of academic dreamers and socialists in government who think throwing taxpayer money at any problem will solve it, business people know that money does not grow on trees or printing presses and does not magically cure every hiccup.  Believe me when I tell you that no company (at least none that survives) budgets like our government does.  Can you imagine Ford increasing its budget for production of each model by 15% every year, regardless of sales and profit?  Of course not.  Ford, and every other company, large and small, operates by zero-based budgeting.  Every department or product must justify every dollar spent with performance and profit, every year.

A business leader would set and maintain priorities, and establish a functional management structure.  Sadly, our federal government has become a patchwork of obsolete and redundant agencies and departments with overlapping or obsolete agendas and nobody really in control.  Survival and success in government work relies on political connections, not performance.  Bureaucrats are rewarded based on the number of employees they acquire, not on their accomplishments – and certainly not for efficiency!  Every successful private enterprise has a business plan.  We need a government plan, with real and measureable objectives, and a solid management framework to ensure that the objectives are met.

Government insiders, and most liberals, would argue that government can’t be run like a business, because it does not exist to react to consumer demand and offer a product.  I disagree.  Citizens have needs that must be supplied by the federal government, and they are set forth in the Constitution.  Unfortunately, our behemoth government cranks out mountains of products that we don’t want or need, and does a pretty lame job of providing the services we do.  Some will say that most of the cost of government is “entitlements” that can’t be reduced.  That’s BS.  Built into the cost of entitlements is a huge bloat of inefficiency, fraud, and corruption.

Of course the nation’s executive must share power with Congress.  But that’s no different than a private business being driven by consumer demand.  The leader must have vision and the ability to direct and motivate others.

If Donald Trump is elected, we may have the opportunity to see if our government can be run more like a business, and if that results in improvements for American citizens.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

And I’ll be taking care of business (every day)
Taking care of business (every way)
I’ve been taking care of business (it’s all mine)
Taking care of business and working overtime! Watch out!

Bachman Turner Overdrive – Takin’ Care of Business

 

Cowboys and Cowgirls Needed – Apply Now

john_wayneI am more concerned every day about the lack of leadership in our national affairs.   As the well-being and security of our citizens continues to decline, the dearth of leadership among our federal political officials becomes more evident and more critical.

There’s a big difference between leadership and arrogance.  Just saying “follow me” isn’t helpful when the leader is stumbling off a cliff.  A true leader must have:

  • vision – a clear understanding of the situation as it is and the correct path to what it should be
  • honesty – zero-tolerance of any person or action motivated by personal gain ahead of mission
  • optimism and inspiration – the genuine desire to make things better for all, and the belief that improvement is not only possible, it is necessary
  • resolve – shared goals that are unshakeable, and determination to accomplish those goals
  • responsibility and accountability – willingness to shoulder burdens for the benefit of others, to admit and recover from failures, and to be open to criticism
  • courage – the ability to stay cool under fire and focused on the goal

Where are the true leaders today?  We have plenty of idealogues.  Demagoguery has become an art form.  Politicians have learned to exploit the weaker instincts of their constituents – fear, envy, selfishness and laziness – using psychology to manipulate voters.  Public officials seem to be only inspired to gain and hold power, without even bothering to seek solutions.

Where are the principled journalists?  The pursuit of truth has been replaced by a vapid addiction to titillation and sensationalism.  We are told that “sex sells”, and that the pursuit of profit is now the sole motivator in the the news business.  That in itself is deceitful because consumers of news are not given a choice.  The reality is our elite news media seek to empower themselves using the same psychological manipulations employed by our self-serving political leaders.

Is the lack of leadership a symptom of what’s wrong with America?  Or is it the cause?  Do we still believe that the qualities of true leadership matter?  Do we employ them in our own lives?

I contend that we don’t need more new ideas.  We don’t need more laws.  We certainly don’t need more self-absorbed charlatans in public office.

We can get out of this mess and back on the right track.  We just need to find, encourage, elevate, and empower true leaders at every level of our society, bottom to top.    Are you one?

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

Where is my Marlboro man?
Where is his shiny gun?
Where is my lonely ranger?
Where have all the cowboys gone?

Where Have All the Cowboys Gone – Paula Cole