In recent times, there has been a greater call to “run government like a business.” We need to “get rid of those politicians” and “bring in some businessmen who know how to get things done.”
Here in Michigan, we did that with the election of Rick Snyder. With a B.A., an MBA, a CPA, and a law degree from the University of Michigan, all by the age of 23, no one can dispute Snyder’s academic credentials. A partner at Coopers and Lybrand by 29, he became CEO and chairman of Gateway Computer. He is a bright and successful man who parlayed his accomplishments into a governorship.
That’s where everything, as the world knows, turned terrible, horrible, no good, and very bad for the people of Flint. Snyder made decisions as befits a proper businessman, a city’s water system was destroyed, and its residents poisoned.
Government is not a business. Since government is designed to serve the people, it cannot be run solely on the basis of a P & L.
A good friend of mine is an orthopedic surgeon. I’ve been known to give him static that his profession is no more than glorified carpentry in a sterile environment. It’s not, of course. It is fearfully and wonderfully more complex than that. If I mis-cut a 2 x 12 for a rafter, I can rip it out and re-use it as a window header. If he mis-cuts a femur during a total knee, he’s destroyed a life.
Government is not a business. The business of government is people.