Not a business?

In a reply to my Oct. 8 blog, the concept that the government is not a business was raised. In a big picture sense, that may be true.

But I might suggest that in the sprit of “if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, there’s a good chance it’s a duck,” I suggest that our government is a business.

The government certainly has many of the same functions of a business. And, as such, it needs to be properly managed. That is where we are falling short right now. Management is falling down on the job.

In my shop, as in just about any successful business, management never has a knock down, drag out fight in front of the employees. The leaders don’t have their little temper tantrums in public. That all happens behind closed doors. Seeing your boss in a hissy fit, arguing angrily with the shop manager is not the kind of thing that inspires confidence in the employees. Nor does it do anything for their comfort level. It is counter productive and any sane manager would avoid it.

This, in my mind, is the biggest failure of the current administration. It seems to have lost touch with the art of politics, very similar to the art of management. It’s a lesson for us on how not to run a business.



  • Well said, David!

    I keep thinking why “we the people” cannot simply fire the public employees when they do not perform. We’ve got to wait a few years, after letting them use our money to try and almost perpetuate themselves in their fat paying jobs. Not right!

  • Jeff Duncan says:

    Businesses exist to turn a profit, governments don’t. Businesses have an owner or board that makes decisions on how to run the company, usually for purposes of generating more profit. Governments exist to provide services and protect the people under them. You can try to make a comparison of course, just not sure why you would want to as they are such different creatures?

    The reason you normally don’t see the tantrums and the fits in a business setting is simply b/c there’s no reason for it. A manager or shop foreman is not elected by the other employees and as such does not need to cater to their whims. The majority of the stuff you see on the news is merely an act aimed at catering to constituents in order to be re-elected.

    Now you can blame the current administration for the failures we see. Though I would have to call that a blatantly biased view from what I’ve seen. My view is that both sides of the aisle have grown more and more unwilling to compromise. It doesn’t matter how good you are at the “art of politics”, if both sides won’t sit at the table nothing is going to get done.

    Lastly I went back to read it and you contradicted yourself in that post. You say you don’t borrow for x,y,and z, though you use a credit card for some things and have accounts with suppliers? That’s borrowing! A credit card is borrowing money as is having an open account with a supplier. The idea that b/c you didn’t use it to pay a bill but used it to buy material or equipment is irrelevant. Borrowing is borrowing. If you want to grow a business your probably going to have to borrow. Imagine Bill Gates had that attitude, we’d all still be using typewriters? If Henry Ford had that attitude we’d still be riding horses to work! Sure I’m mostly a cash business too, but if I need to purchase a new machine, or move to a bigger shop, or buy a new truck……I’m going to borrow money and won’t think twice about it. However the manner in which I borrow money, and a large company borrows money, and the government borrows money are not comparable. And as such goes back to my feeling that trying to compare how a government runs to how a business runs is not all that useful… two cents anyway.

  • Ron Visser says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more. Right on!

  • American government is a three part management arrangement in the Constitution designed to divide and share responsibility. It does not work when cooperation is ignored which is our current situation. The Republicans in Congress are building up for a huge retaliation when ever they get in power again which is bad news for our future. I’m very hopeful that future elections will solve this.

  • Doug says:

    As long as one party preaches “I got mine, the heck with everybody else” and the other parties preaching “We’re all in this together” and nobody is willing to meet somewhere in the middle our government cannot function correctly. It was designed for our representatives to do what is best for all of the people not what is best for the representatives themselves.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive. For more information, please see our Terms of Use.