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Waging Class Warfare


© Garry Trudeau

To me, the big question is: does Mitt Romney realize the difference between running Bain Capital and running the country? He got bored even running the State of Massachusetts, or maybe it just didn’t make him enough money.

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12 Comments

  1. Jeff wrote:

    I always wondered where the notion that running the country was like running a business came from, and why having a business background was seen as relevent experience. In business, if you have a project that you aren’t seeing returns on, you can kill the project. But in government, you can’t just cut a program that doesn’t make you any money. Education, healthcare, and other social programs do not generate any revenue for the government. In the business world, such programs would be cut. In government, at least in my opinion, they shouldn’t be. But this seems to be the argument being made by conservatives: if it doesn’t make money, it’s a drain on the balance sheets.

    Unfortunately, the government is not a business, is not designed to be a business, and should not be run like one.

    Monday, June 25, 2012 at 10:34 am | Permalink
  2. Anonymous wrote:

    Jeff – I agree government is not a business and should not be (and never will be) profit driven. I think what conservatives are saying is that throwing more money at a problem doesn’t necessarily fix it. As a country we’ve been pouring billions if not trillions into our education system. Most people I know would say it hasn’t gotten any better. So is the answer in that case to spend more, or spend wisely? We’ve also been spending billions of social welfare programs, but in many if not most cases it hasn’t lefted anyone out of poverty, so should we spend more or spend more wisely.
    I don’t pretend to know the answers on how to make either system more effective and actually do what is intended. I have some ideas, but not a complete program. Ithink the discussion needs to be about how to build a better mousetrap then just buying more mousetraps IMHO.

    Monday, June 25, 2012 at 5:54 pm | Permalink
  3. Arthanyel wrote:

    Running a LARGE business is as much like running a government as you can get without running a government. Characteristics – top executive over a very large work force, needing to inspire people to produce good results without having complete authority or direct connections, having to deal with millions to billions of dollars, having your decisions often in the public press, having to make sure your constituants (shareholders) are happy, etc. So there are a lot of parallels.

    But the jobs are different. Romney’s greatest real experience was the Olympics turn around and being governor, Obama’s is the last 3.5 years.

    Monday, June 25, 2012 at 6:14 pm | Permalink
  4. PatriotSGT wrote:

    #2 was me.
    Arthanyel – I’d agree that running a large business is relavent experience for running government. People now are questioning whether Romney has enough of “the right” experience having been both a Governor and a business executive. What I find ironic is their are people who voted for Obama in 08 now questioning whether Romney has enough experience, as if Obama in 08 had any executive experience.
    IMHO when it comes to experience Romney is over qualified when compared to 08 Obama.

    Tuesday, June 26, 2012 at 5:13 am | Permalink
  5. il-08 wrote:

    I think you guys missed the point completely, it isn’t a question of experience, it is a question of motivation and decision making. If you want to talk experience, there is no doubt that 2012 Romney has more experience than 2008 Obama, relative to the position they are applying for. The point of the Bain Capital argument is that Romney would put the interests of big business before the interest of the people because that is what you do in venture finance. As president, would Romney see as his judges the rich and powerful (as a venture capitalist would) or the common man (as a liberal would)? The Bain Capital experience seems to show that there is an excellent chance that Romney would just make the rich richer and the poor poorer. It has nothing to do with qualifications.

    Tuesday, June 26, 2012 at 7:35 am | Permalink
  6. Iron Knee wrote:

    The problem with this discussion is that statistically, business experience does not translate into good governance. Do we have that short an attention span that we forgot that Dubya was the first president who had an MBA? And his vice president was the CEO of Halliburton? Dubya and Cheney couldn’t even manage the aftermath of Katrina, something that you would think would benefit from business experience.

    Want other examples? Rick Scott was the co-founder and CEO of Columbia Hospital Corporation and later a venture capitalist. But now he is one of the least popular governors in the country amid accusations of corruption.

    CEOs don’t even make good politicians. Donald Trump, Meg Whitman, Carly Fiorina, Herman Cain, Rich Lott, Carl Paladino, Linda McMahon, and many other former CEOs couldn’t even win elections, despite pouring their own money into them.

    About the only example I can think of of someone with lots of business experience who has made a decent politician is New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg. Although even he has problems because of his autocratic, anti-democratic, CEO-like behavior.

    Tuesday, June 26, 2012 at 8:37 am | Permalink
  7. TENTHIRTYTWO wrote:

    “We’ve also been spending billions of social welfare programs, but in many if not most cases it hasn’t lefted anyone out of poverty”

    The armchair statistics aside, I’m not sure the purpose of a social welfare program is to lift people out of poverty. I think it is just to prevent them from dying.

    Barring complete control and distribution of wealth, economies will always have poor people and unemployed people.

    Tuesday, June 26, 2012 at 9:14 am | Permalink
  8. Arthanyel wrote:

    Good points all. The bottom line is the best experience for being President is to be a governor of a large and diverse state first (actual run large organization, actually in governance) however looking at W as an example that doesn’t necessarily work either.

    And, as I said, if you can’t have THAT experience the next best thing is running a very large company, or very large non profit, as the only other examples of running large organizations.

    While it is true many CEO’s are loony tunes (Ellison, Jobs, Whitman, Trump) that’s not universally true. If I could have (back in the day) elected Robert Townsend as President I would have been a happy man – and if you don’t know who he was, get yourself a copy of “Up the Organization”.

    Tuesday, June 26, 2012 at 5:48 pm | Permalink
  9. PatriotSGT wrote:

    IK – I agree the egomaniacal CEO’s who pay more attention to headlines then bottom lines are not suited for the job. There are those that work for their companies, care about their employees and would make decent leaders, we just don’t hear about them because they’re too busy running their business.

    1032 – I agree the social safety net is there for people who have had a misfortune or dealt some uncontrollable hand. Our disabled come to mind and those afflicted by natural catastrophe. On the opposite side we have many who are able, but just not willing to step up and contribute and those are the ones I was reffering to. I also know there are some who need a temporary hand up after some unfortunate set of circumstances and I have no problem with programs designed to help them while they re-tool their skill sets.

    My point is while people are sniping Romney for not having enough experience we elected a president with no business or executive experience and seemed to be fine with that. So what’s experience got to do with being elected. Experience campaigning along with experience raising money seem to be the 2 most important skills to get elected not actual experience doing anything. That is a problem we as an electorate have because we’re the idiots who keep putting those idiots in office. Perhaps we need to try something different.

    Wednesday, June 27, 2012 at 6:40 am | Permalink
  10. Iron Knee wrote:

    Good point PSgt. Maybe my sample is self selecting. If you are a successful and good businessman/woman, and you decide to become a politician, you probably have an ego larger than your business sense.

    The answer to your final question is that it is Romney who is claiming that his business experience is relevant. So when I point out that business experience often doesn’t translate into good governance, your counter argument that we elected Obama who didn’t have any business or executive experience isn’t a counter argument, it reinforces my point precisely.

    And Obama did have experience as a community organizer, which does seem to have been somewhat relevant, both for campaigning and for governing.

    Wednesday, June 27, 2012 at 9:07 am | Permalink
  11. TENTHIRTYTWO wrote:

    Again, as far as I know, all of our social safety nets are not designed to help you re-tool your skill set. They are designed to help you survive. Food stamps and unemployment don’t train you for a new profession. They don’t provide you education. They don’t provide you work experience. Sure they could get a loan, but who is going to give a loan to someone who is out of work?

    I understand what you are saying, but consider that in order to accomplish what you are talking about, we would have to dump even more money into the nets. (I’m ignoring the fact that the relationship between potential employees and available jobs is much more complex than this) In the modern political landscape where debt is awful, government programs all suck (except the ones I’m on, don’t you touch those!!), and austerity is king, what chance do you suppose that has of happening?

    I believe Obama attempted to put together some kind of training or vocational school investment and….

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/13/us-usa-budget-education-idUSTRE81C1Z620120213

    “The fund would require congressional approval, which is far from assured. In 2009, when Obama called for an aggressive $12 billion investment in community colleges Congress allocated just $2 billion.

    This time, Congressional Republicans vowed as soon as the budget was released to block big spending on new programs, calling for a focus on deficit reduction instead.”

    My perspective is that your criticism is inappropriate because the systems aren’t designed to do what you are complaining they don’t do. It has nothing to do with the amount of money we put towards them. And attempts have been made to get them to do what you want them to do, and those attempts have been subverted.

    Wednesday, June 27, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Permalink
  12. PatriotSGT wrote:

    1032 – I don’t disagree with you on the social nets. Thats exactly what they are there for, as a safety net. But for how long should we stand and hold the net after they leap form the burning building and when should we expect they’ll climb down and walk on there own. If the net is to help someone pick themselves up and dust themselves off to get moving again, why do we have generations who never get out of the system? I’m not talking about our sick or disabled, those programs we should have as a compassionate people, but those that are neither.
    But I digress, the point is Romney has executive experience as both Govenor and CEO, neither of which Obama had before being elected. So why didn’t anyone vet his lack of experience? And I agree with IK that simply being a CEO doesn’t necessarily qualify someone to be president, but neither should it disqualify them. I’m not saying Romney is the answer, but I don’t think Obama is necessarily the right choice either. I don’t know, I think it’ll be like Arthanyel said in an earlier post, people will vote in November while holding their noses.

    Thursday, June 28, 2012 at 6:04 am | Permalink

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