Sunday, July 17, 2011


Many people have been overwhelmed by the "business mind set" - if it works for business, it works for government. I believe this mindset is un-democratic and short sighted.

I'm a retired businessperson. I've worked for small companies, Fortune 100 corporations, and finished my career as a business owner. As I watch politicians try to cut their way to "strong" states and a "strong" nation, I find that there is much confusion between the purpose of business and the purpose of government.

The purpose of a democratic government is to provide the programs and structure that allow the people to be the best that they can be. The purpose of business is to provide products/services that generate a profit. Both share the need for efficiency. Both must generate revenue. Both must control their expenditures. However, their purpose, their reason for being, is very different.

A business can achieve its purpose by charging a price for its products/services, expanding its market and controlling its costs. A business can start up or close down at will. It can have products/services that are aimed at selective segments of its selective market.

A democratic government can achieve its purpose by listening to the people. It must decide what the people want/need. It must then raise the revenue to accomplish these wants/needs. It can't close down or start up at will. It must serve the majority of the people. It must look at the long term and assess its actions on future generations.

People in a democratic society - WE THE PEOPLE - expect to pay taxes and fees. We expect services. We expect efficiency. We expect fairness. We don't expect special treatment for the richest. We don't expect bribery in the form of "campaign contributions". We don't expect to be treated less fairly than the people who hold political office. We expect a government of, by and for the people - not just the richest people, not just the business people - all of the people. We are a state and a nation, not a business.

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