A case for business people in politics

Win or lose, Donald Trump gives us food for thought. He wants to use more successful business people in government. To negotiate for us.

This would be a good idea for any president of any party. We would be smart to use them throughout government.

This is not a new idea. But it has gone out of favor over the last few decades. It has been smothered by the rise of our elite political class. People who have known no other work but politics or lobbying. The list of business people in this administration is as short as the list of Catholics who work in Mecca.

We need more of them in government. In various nooks. At various levels. For a simple reason: They think differently than people who donít know business. Their minds are trained differently. They cherish different values. They would challenge our political types. They would offer suggestions not seen or heard in government for ages.

All of this would be healthy for the country.

Think differently? Of course they do. A successful business person must understand how to balance the books. Must always know where the money comes from. And do what must be done to increase the flow.

The business person must always test how and where that money gets spent. Must demand proper budgets. Must crack the whip when the sales fall or expenses rise.

The successful business person knows when to sack poor performers. And where to trim fat. And when to close a division or sell off part of an enterprise. Business people must set goals, demand precise plans, demand answers when results sour.

Compare this with the work of political types and bureaucrats. Lesson number one is Learning How To Spend. They know revenues are guaranteed. If not enough money arrives, no problem. They run a deficit. And they raise taxes to generate more money. Meanwhile, nobody cares if they canít balance the books. Nobody really cares if they cannot account for all the money.

Nobody sacks them if their promises and plans are bogus.

When is the last time you saw a political leader close down even tiny government departments? We see big business executives thin the ranks of employees and slash expenses. When do we see government executives do the same?

Even Forrest Gump would know our governments are top-heavy with over-paid executives. And our bureaucrats rarely lose their jobs. No matter how incompetent they may be. No matter what goofups they make. No matter how unnecessary their work is.

They are motivated by totally different matters than are business people. They are rewarded for spending and for building empires. These are the opposite of the incentives for executives in business.

Government departments might well benefit from a good shaking up from leaders from business.

As for trade and other deals? This is where Trump wants to use business people to negotiate for us. Or at least to contribute to the negotiations. They certainly would bring new ideas to the table. And a kitbag of new negotiating tools. And this country has a poor record when it comes to negotiations lately.

In a separate area, I would love to see America create a serious business council. Composed of owners of small and mid-sized businesses. They might serve no more than two or three years. I would love to see our presidents and congresses be required to study reports and suggestions from such a council.

This seems like a pipe dream. Which is a pity, since our economic health depends upon such people. They constitute our new jobs machine. And they are ignored today in much of government.

Business owners donít need to take polls to know what Americans are thinking. They deal with them as customers every day.

They also know stupid regulations and unreasonable taxes when they see them. And most of them would be brash enough to tell our leaders so Ė from the President on down.

Like him or hate him, we ought to tip our hats to Donald for a good idea.

From TomÖas in Morgan.

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