I don’t know if you’ve heard or not lately, but dad-made billionaire Donald Trump has been capturing the attention of the nation by suggesting he might possibly run for President of the United States. This is actually one of those things that happens every decade or so; some massively rich person like Trump (or Perot or Forbes) announces that they’re going to run for President because they’re successful businessmen, and “they can run this country like a business.” For some reason, this quote is never greeted with the guffaws of hilarity that it deserves; somehow, we never hear about famous directors announcing that they’re going to run America like a production of “Guys and Dolls”, or successful ranchers announcing that they’re going to run America like a cattle farm. When businessmen announce that they’re going to run America like they ran IBM, though, we can’t get enough.
Probably it’s just that we’re easily impressed by businessmen in America. We might not know much about governing, but pretty much everyone has tried to make money, and we all know how hard it is. So when someone who makes a lot of money talks, we tend to say, “Wow. He must be smart, if he can make that much money.” (We tend to forget options like, “He must be incredibly unethical,” or “He must have a rich daddy whose money he squandered to the point where he had to declare bankruptcy multiple times.”) But maybe, just maybe, these businessmen have a point. Let’s look at some of the ways Obama could run America like a business.
1) Cut out the middleman. Right now, the United States has a military budget that dwarfs its discretionary spending. A large part of that comes from the research, development and purchase of military equipment. Back in the days when peacetime meant considerably less spending on weapons technology, it made sense to contract this work out, but this is the 21st century. We’re a military superpower now, and it’s time to accept that we’re constantly equipping our troops. So Obama should use eminent domain to confiscate the assets of companies like Honeywell, General Dynamics and Pratt & Whitney and nationalize them, passing the savings along to the American taxpayer.
2) Cut our losses on unprofitable projects. At this point, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost us trillions of dollars without achieving any of the goals we set or generating any kind of return on our investment. Any good businessman would take the hit, write off the losses, and proceed to something that makes a profit.
3) Explore alternative revenue streams. The federal government makes money by taxation. (It spends money by providing services to its customers, a vital difference that makes it impossible to apply traditional business models to government, but we’re pretending that’s not true right now.) So if you want to make extra money without tax hikes, you need to find something else to tax. The currently-illegal drug trade is a multi-billion dollar industry that currently goes completely untaxed, due to our insistence on throwing both producer and consumer in jail. Legalizing drugs would not only save us billions of dollars a year in enforcement costs, it would generate billions more in tax revenue. Sure, some might complain about the morality, but we’re running America like a business now, and it’s the bottom line that counts!
4) Expand your revenue base through mergers and acquisitions. Right now, one of the most contentious issues in American politics is immigration. People want to defend the borders, people want to make sure that Mexicans have a path to citizenship, people want to make sure that Mexicans can continue to provide a labor base to the agricultural industry. In addition, people want to make sure that the Mexican drug trade doesn’t cause problems for America. The obvious solution? Annex Mexico. You have a much smaller southern border to defend, the Mexicans become citizens and don’t have to worry about hostile borders, and the drug trade becomes legal (see point number 3.)
5) Ensure a consistent long-term vision from the top. Elections every four years? A new CEO every eight years, one that could wind up with a diametrically-opposed viewpoint to the current head of the company? No sane business would even dream of operating this way. No, it’s time for Obama to abolish the electoral process and declare himself CEO For Life. It’s the only way to make sure that the long-term goals of America get recognized.
6) Get rid of unnecessary middle management. What does Congress even do, other than get in the President’s way and neuter his bold plans for America’s future? Fire ’em all, and deal directly with the governors. (Who are, of course, free to fire their state legislatures as well, so long as they understand that they can be replaced if they don’t do what the boss says.) The savings in Congressional salaries alone would be worth millions.
7) Outsource unprofitable divisions. Look, there’s really no nice way to say this, but…there are some states that just aren’t pulling their weight. They’re always near the bottom in education, employment, and a host of other standard-of-living categories, and they constantly demand federal money while decrying federal interference. It’s time to just go ahead and “downsize” the populations of these states (humanely, of course) and replace them with cheaper citizens from China or India. Just bring them over here, put them to work, and let them help make America great again!
These are just a few of the great strategies I have, and I’m not even smart enough to have a rich dad like Trump! I’m sure that a CEO as President would usher in a new
Gilded Golden Age for this country, and I don’t see why we should wait for 2012 to start implementing it.