Thursday, September 29, 2016
And the corollary is, what's good for business is good for America
This is a fallacy, and I think it's time we addressed this head on:
Government and business have distinctly opposite interests.
Business is, at its core, for profit. Not 'breaking even' and definitely not taking a loss. It is simple math. Dollars and cents, nothing more.
And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that idea.
There is nothing wrong with the idea that the aim of business is profit. This is what drives the economy and is the backbone of the world. Supply and demand. Incentive to create something, to work for something, to achieve the things that you want - this is one of the things that 'makes America great', if you will.
But it is not the only thing.
There are things that all people need that are not profitable - in fact, they cost.
Having clean air, water and safe-to-eat food is not necessarily profitable, but they are necessary for our survival. We need to defend ourselves from attack. We need roads, we need health care, we need a national infrastructure, we need an educated people and - we need a legal system. We need laws to protect people from being hurt, damaged, stolen from or killed.
We need laws for business as well, to make sure that business can operate fairly. What if we didn't have laws that enforce contracts? If a business sold widgets to someone in advance, and then the person just took off with the widget and didn't pay, without laws that enforce that business' right to have that contract honored - "I give you stuff, and you pay for it" - that business would have no recourse. And if someone broke into the business' warehouse and stole all their inventory, there wouldn't be a thing you could do about it. The legal system that protects us all - businesses and individuals alike - has to be created and enforced by We the People. And taking care of the interests of the Amercan people costs money in the short run, although it pays off in the long run - in quality of life, in freedom, in security, in progress. But not in quarterly profit.
This is the difference between government and business.
Business is like a powerful engine - with wheels and steering and brakes, it can go where you want it to go, but without parameters like steering and brakes, it can run over and destroy people.
If the goverment is run like a business, then the only concern is the profit. And in business, people's welfare is not the most important thing. The only concern is the bottom line. For business, that's fine - it's the way it's designed. But the government exists for the interest and well-being of the people.
And a perfect illustration of this was given to us by none other than Donald Trump.
Last Monday, at the first presidential debate, Hillary Clinton said, "Donald was one of the people who rooted for the housing crisis. He said, back in 2006, 'Gee, I hope it does collapse, because then I can go in and buy some and make some money.' Well, it did collapse."
Trump replied, "That’s called business, by the way."
In those six words, he made the case for not only why he is unfit to be President (or even dogcatcher) but why government should not be run like a business.
Running the country like a business means money first, people second.
Being a wealthy businessman (I don't say 'successful') is not a reason why Trump should be elected President. Because he is proud to profit by the hardship and losses of the American people.
This is his priority, and it is his prerogative as a business person to at least attempt to do so.
But the President is a public servant. The President's interest has to be first and foremost that of the American people, not his own wealth and power. Do you really believe that if those were to come into conflict, that the People's interests would prevail?
Donald Trump himself has told us in six words why he should not be President.
Posted by Alicia Morgan at 1:00 PM