Saturday, November 23, 2013

Putting a businessperson in the White House won't give us a "CEO in Chief"

Wanna hear a joke?

Unemployment is high in America.

How high is it?

It's so high even the dishonest government measurement of unemployment clocks it above 7%. Oh, and yo' mama's so fat they count her as two unemployed people.

In a time of high unemployment and flagrant government oafishness like Obamacare, it isn't surprising to hear murmurings about how we "need a businessperson in office." He'll know how to get the economy going! Romney tried leaning on this, and for years Donald Trump had used it to generate publicity.

Businesspeople can't improve the government. Part of the reason businesspeople can achieve things is because they don't have to get votes. Businesspeople only have to provide products. They don't have to whisper sweet nothings in consumers' ears. You can be unlikable and still monumentally successful as long as people like your products. See Steve Jobs.

Politicians have to sugarcoat. They have to whisper sweet nothings. They have to appear likeable. Politicians themselves are the product. That means is they have to lie constantly. The "which candidate would you rather have a beer with" matters big time. In 2008, apart from the media's pornographic love affair with the symbolism of Barack, I think a big part of his prevailing is that every non-lesbian (and probably most lesbians) would rather drink with Barack than Hillary. Barack is probably an interesting enough guy to have a Guinness with. Hillary is lame enough to turn wine into seltzer.

Also, when a CEO promises a new iPhone, he actually has to deliver a new iPhone. He can't not provide one and then just claim he did. And he won't have a million propagandizing media subnormals working 'round the clock to convince the nation he provided this nonexistent iPhone. People will notice the lack of a new iPhone and punish him by buying his competitors' phones.

A politician can say he's going to do something like close Gitmo and then simply not do it. Almost nothing ever happens when a politician breaks a promise. People are trained to expect broken promises from politicians (or at least politicians who aren't members of "their" party). CEOs and businesspeople don't have this luxury. If anything, folks are trained to complain vociferously to businesspeople ("the customer is always right"). Therefore, businesspeople have to follow up to some extent on their promises, or else customers and activist shareholders will topple them. See JC Penney.

Once a politician is in office, he is there for at least two years. Unlike a CEO, you're stuck with him. Sometimes you're stuck with him for four or six years, so he can go right on lying for his entire reign, and there is nothing that can be done about it. A businessperson's approval rating results in immediate profits and losses, and he can be put out of business or fired from the CEO position in a matter of months, not years. Parties of all political persuasions are always complaining about voters' short attention spans. They're right. If a guy is in office six years there is plenty of time for each storm to blow over and be forgotten. In business, even a short term storm can topple someone in no time flat. If that businessperson could count on six years of tenure, chances are his sins would be forgotten the way they are for politicians.

CEOs and businesspeople almost never have the advantage of a monopoly. Government by its very definition is a monopoly. There is one DMV. There is one police force. You can only have two Senators in each state. There is no such thing as an upstart third, fourth, or fifth Senator who can suddenly appear and immediately start taking market share. There is no limit to how many different smartphone brands there can be, which is why CEOs and businesspeople must be nimble and responsive to customers if they are to survive. Government, and its mascots in the Congress and White House, is a monopoly, and it acts like one. A politician with the greatest business background still couldn't do anything to change the clumsy, unaccoutable nature of monopolies. The only thing he could do once in office is privatize everything, and forgetting for a moment that that is impossible under our current system, what politician is going to ride in and start diluting his own power by privatizing everything? The last President to use anti-government rhetoric was Reagan, and as we all know he greatly expanded the government.

By believing a businessperson is going to fix government, market-minded people are adopting the same defective mentality as the most anti-business egalitarian: assuming if we could just get the right person in there, things would be better. Wrong. The institution itself isn't fixable. Getting a different mascot to be its face won't render it fixable.

I've heard champions of the marketplace say it is the only real democracy, the only place where you truly have a voice. The reason that is so is because it is democracy without force. Government is nothing but monopoly and force. Government is democracy without the whole "having a voice" part.

My Twitter feed has a non-government monopoly on good tweets:

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