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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.

But.

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?

Just wondering.

Mirrored from LEONARD PIERCE DOT COM.

Comments

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carbonunit
Nov. 16th, 2010 06:21 am (UTC)
To start with, I agree with you, and this sort of thinking frustrates me as well.

But my impression is that so called conservatives believe the public is not the owner or the shareholder but the customer of the government. They dislike being forced by law to buy things they don't want such as roads and fire prevention and food inspection and military and so on. In their ideal world they would save their money and only buy these things on demand.

If you argue with them about the likely result of such a policy, where you get gated communities with pristine streets but barely connected by the crumbling ruins of highways, or mass casualties among the poor from eating cheap poison food full of industrial waste, they just look smug, because you've basically confirmed their viewpoint i.e. that they're shouldering the burden of paying for the needs of undeserving people. They basically really want to live in Somalia, because they think they'll be the nabobs safe in a castle with plenty of low cost slaves.
faeriemuriel
Nov. 16th, 2010 03:52 pm (UTC)
There's a big part of me that fantasizes about these people getting what they want. Mainly because it won't be long before they're not the powerful and protected. I would love to be one of the first to start demanding "protection" money from "accidents".
dvandom
Nov. 16th, 2010 02:25 pm (UTC)
They want to run the government like a business that they have bought and are chopping up for assets before leaving the gutted carcass on the dock.
anne_jumps
Nov. 16th, 2010 10:28 pm (UTC)
Beautifully stated.
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Leonard Pierce is a freelance writer wandering around Texas with no sleep or sense of direction. If you give him money he will write something for you. If you are nice to him he may come to your house and get drunk.

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