It is frustrating when yet another misguided politician insists that government should be run like a business. Aren’t you tired of that?
On Wednesday evening, Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Robert McDonald, told Rachel Maddow that the VA health care system needed to function like a business. This should surprise no one; Mr. McDonald is the retired CEO of Proctor and Gamble and has limited experience leading anything but a business. And he is an Obama appointee, reflecting that Democrats have joined Republicans in acting out the fairy tale that successful business people make the best leaders of government and its agencies.
Here in crAZy we’re suffering from this on a large scale. Arizona’s buffoon for a governor, Doug Ducey, campaigned on his business experience (Cold Stone Creamery). He often repeats his pledge to manage the state like a business. Thus far, that approach has failed miserably. However, it will ensure that Arizona wins the Race to the Bottom, as we face a growing deficit and poorer measurable outcomes on all fronts. His policies center on transferring state budgetary funds to the hands of private industry. Charter schools and private, for-profit prisons are two of this favorites. Most recently, he suggested the state’s university system be (what else?) run like a business. Accordingly, he directed the University Regents to take a “businesslike” approach in solving the problem of our grossly underfunded higher education system. He’s enamored with for-profit “universities” like the fraud-ridden, under federal investigation, University of Phoenix. Interesting that the Arizona Constitution, which he swore to uphold, reads (Article 11, Section 6): “The university and all other state educational institutions shall be … as nearly free as possible.”
While government does need to function with higher efficiency and effectiveness, it should not do so “like a business.” It is not a business. It’s a government – for the people, by the people, and all that. But why listen to me when you can turn to Forbes, a business magazine for some perspective? In 2012, John Harvey offered a clear and convincing explanation of why government should not be run like a business. He reminds us -
…the key issue is this: not everything that is profitable is of social value and not everything of social value is profitable. The proper role of government is the latter.… Profit is the realm of business, while unprofitable but socially useful tasks is the responsibility of government. (Forbes, 10/5/2012)
Republicans, Democrats, and the rest of you confused public servants – please give up this madness! Your jobs involve running a government. Make it so.
And Mr. Ducey: The Grand Canyon State ain’t no ice cream stand. We deserve better than your foolishness. The time cannot come soon enough that you are Stone Cold Out of Office.