November 04, 2010
Government is Not a Business
This ad wasn't a joke. Did you read the bullet points? One said "Treat citizens like customers." This TV ad was created by candidate Rick Synder, who ran and won the race to become Michigan's governor this past Tuesday.
This idea of "running a state like I ran my business" has become a more popular talking point in the last few years. Because in times of financial suffering, it sounds appealing. This was Meg Whitman's big push. She ran eBay. eBay did good. So let's give her the reins to California, and she'll turn it into a successful online auction and shopping Website...wait.
It's not the same thing. The government is not a business. A state's role is not to increase total ROI, get bigger and buy-out other states. A state's role is not to take your tax dollars and invest them in blue-chip index funds.
Like it or not, government is charity. It's justice. It tries to right civil wrongs. That's what it is. And even if you think that's not what it should be - even if you think the role of government is simply to protect the constitutional rights of the populace, a business doesn't do that either.
If you want a balanced budget, elect an accountant. If you want social "justice", elect a community organizer. If you want a good ROI, invest in the market yourself.