45’s pitch was that he was a ‘successful businessman’ who would show us all how to run the government like a business. (More)

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Mitt Romney made something of the same claim touting his business experience. Trump had a best selling book, The Art of the Deal to back up his claims. His ghostwriter would disagree. What do voters think when they hear this line from Republicans? How many voters have experience in business other than as customers?

Most people think that business exists to make a profit and therefore must by definition be more efficient than the government. They think of government as cost overruns like the infamous $600 hammers or airplanes that keep costing more than the original estimates. They think of the original rollout of the Affordable Care Act enrollment which had some big time glitches.

Here’s the deal. Every misstep and cliché of the government gets exposed and reported on. Business, for those who have not worked there, makes just as many oopses. But business mistakes are rarely covered by our media. They are buried.

I worked at various levels of management including as an officer in publicly held companies for over 30 years. The notion that business must be more efficient than government because they need to make a profit is a crock.

Business is inefficient. Government is inefficient. Education is inefficient. Academia is inefficient. Religion is inefficient. Every institution you can think of is inefficient. Why? Because groups of people are only partially gathered to meet a common goal or purpose. Groups of people also gather to visit and gossip and just hang out. Groups of people are comprised of individuals with their own agendas. Those agendas may or may not align with the big group’s goals. Groups of people can be terribly inefficient.

Just because businesses have to turn a profit does not make them anymore efficient than any other group. Businesses have tax loopholes and write offs and amortization and a whole host of ways to bury their mistakes. Think about the computer rollout for the ACA. I can name two companies who are in the process of writing off multi-million dollar projects in hardware/software upgrades that were abject failures. Their failures will irritate the heck out of their partners but will not receive the kind of publicity the ACA got.

Business is not more efficient than any other institution. Government is not any less efficient. Government just doesn’t sell it’s successes as well. For those whose voted for 45 thinking that government should be run more like a business, may you live and learn. May you survive having fallen for this line of B.S. Running a business and governing are very different skill sets.


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