The Business of Government

Bill Neinast

This is so much fun. Watching an historical event unfold is exciting.  The dawn of each day opens a new script.  Comedy may be the playbill today.  Tomorrow may bring suspense or romance.  The only consistency is inconsistency.

The unfolding event is a successful businessman assuming control of the largest business in the world.  Except for President Eisenhower, that business has been run by politicians for the last century.

Under political management, the business of government was to support the re-election of those already in power.  Decisions are made on agreements to support one politician’s desire to have the post office in his district named after him if he will, in return, vote to award a billion dollars to a colleague’s district for a memorial to Fidel Castro.

The voters had their fill of that type of management and said, “Let’s try having a real manager run this operation for a change,”  and voted for the change.  Now, even before he is seated as the CEO, Donald Trump is showing us how to run a business.

Watching the reaction of politicians to business management coming to Washington is what is so much fun.

Among the more humorous scenarios is Senator Chuck Schumer’s reaction to Trump’s pick for Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  Dr. Ben Carson has been asked to head that department and Schumer thinks that is a questionable choice.

The Senator believes that HUD is a large, important organization that needs to be run by a politician or experienced administrator.  In his opinion, Carson has none of those “qualifications.”

That is sadly humorous because Dr. Carson has lived through those great HUD experiments.  He is a product of a single parent household living through one of the HUD ghettos of high rise apartments in inner cities that had to be gutted, restored, or destroyed within a matter of years because of abuse and neglect by both the tenants and management.

Carson grew out of those tenements and the tutelage of a mother who could not read or write to become an acclaimed neurosurgeon.  This is the man that Schumer thinks is not intelligent or experienced enough to tell a bunch of politicians and civil servants that their grandiose plans to take care of the needy are not working. Conversely, he probably will have some good ideas on what is needed and will work.

After chuckling over the Schumer reaction to Carson’s appointment, sit back and enjoy the drama over Trump’s selection for head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  Watch Al Gore’s reaction to this one.

Oklahoma’s Attorney General Scott Pruitt is Trump’s pick to head the EPA.  There could be no greater nemesis for Gore.

Pruitt is a climate change doubter who apparently reads the history of climate through the ages instead of the computer printouts generated by the “garbage” programmed into them—remember the IT axiom of garbage in, garbage out.  

In addition, Pruitt’s supporters view him as a champion of fighting overzealous, wasteful government regulation.  He has led court challenges to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and the constitutionality of the Dodd-Frank campaign finance law.

The prospect of Pruitt rolling back reams of federal regulations are joyous thoughts for manufacturers with smoke stacks and farmers and ranchers with a few pesky wet spots in their fields.  This, however, is a bane to Al Gore and politicians who will not be able to bring billions of dollars back home to eliminate those smoke stacks and wet spots.

The Carson and Pruitt nominations did not stay on stage very long.  Each was quickly replaced with another player who had one or more politicians in panic.

All of this is very interesting and entertaining. 

So here’s the perspective.

President-elect Donald Trump is already making waves like none ever seen before.  He will not take office for another six weeks, but he is demonstrating beautifully how a non-politician businessman goes about tackling problems.

There could be no better revelation of this business approach to not waste time on nonessentials when he stated that he does not take the offered daily intelligence briefings.  He said there is not time or utility in hearing the same things over and over every day.  He told the intelligence types to come to him only when they have something new. 

This makes it look like watching the business of government run by businessmen instead of politicians will be an interesting education.

I cannot wait. 


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