And now, another exciting edition of “Here’s The Thing”
Okay, here’s the thing. Fiscal conservatives, usually those on the right-libertarian end of the spectrum, often claim that government should be run like a business. Now, I don’t agree with this; I think business should be run like a business and government should be run like a government, because they are different entities with different goals. I also distrust people who think that there is one solution that can be applied to any problem; when all you have is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail, and so on.
Let’s say I did agree with this idea. If it’s true, why are these same people so fiercely opposed to taxation?
Follow along with me here: if government is a business, then legislators, presumably, are the managers. (Please do correct me if I’m making a mistaken assumption, because I honestly think I’m missing something in this argument.) The product, one assumes, is the services that the government provides — defense, retirement plans, social services, infrastructure, and so on. The customer would be the citizenry, and the profit would be government revenue in the form of taxation (taxes being the mechanism by which the government collects revenue).
So why are these people dedicated, at their core level, to (a) cutting services and (b) decreasing taxation? If my understanding of the model of government-as-business is correct, this means that their idea of running a business means restricting the goods and services the business provides, and severely limiting, if not eliminating altogether, the price the customer pays for them. This is insane. No one runs a business like that. In fact, most businesses expand and thrive by expanding their product/service line, and by charging as much for their product as they can get away with. Cutting the goods or services offered and stripping prices to the bone is what a failing business does. It’s certainly not what a robust, healthy business does.
Am I missing something? In this model, are the taxpayers supposed to be the owners or the shareholders? If that’s true, who are the customers? Is tax money supposed to be capital instead of income? If so, what’s the income stream in this model? Or, is it possible that I’m overanalyzing this, and that really, they don’t want to run government like a business, but deliberately run it into the ground — something that indicates that I’m right, and that government and private industry are two different animals and should be treated as such?