The government is not a business

BTW guys, I haven’t figured out yet how to approve comments and I don’t know if the comment registration system is up and running yet. We’e also had some intermittent outages.

Bear with us! Be patient! This is a good old fashioned capitalist site powered by US greenbacks and, like any business, we’re working hard to deliver nifty products and services to everyone. The ability for readers to commend or criticize posts is probably the single most important reader feature.  I’ll get it wired at some point, even took the next few days off just to make time to do that.

Which is a clumsy segue to a broader point: FreeThoughtBlogs is a business, the goal is to generate revenue, as much as possible in fact. The US government on the other hand is not a business. This is plainly evident by the kinds of projects the government takes on. Ever watch Deadliest Catch? We do not as a nation maintain a fleet of Coast Guard helicopters and ships in the Bering Sea because it’s a money making propisition. Quite the contrary, it’s incredibly expensive.

We do that because we have, collectively, decided that that capacity is in the public good. Having those aircraft and ships available makes crab fishing much safer, it lowers costs all around. As a spin off, it also provides jobs directly in the Coast Guard, and indirectly for vehicle production, support  services, and all the bars and stores and everything else that comes along for the ride. There’s a debate every election year about what government services are and are not in the public good. But most people agree that search and rescue is good and that such activities need not be profitable.

Imagine if those crab fishing boats were operated by the same rules some Congresspersons insist we subject the government to. The latest batch of greenhorn hires walk off the deck leaving pots unattended, they march into the wheelhouse with a list of demands. They tell Captain Sig he better reduce the size of his operation, note he’s not allowed to increase revenues, and request he dock not only their paychecks and give it to the ship’s investors, but every check every other boat provides all greenhorns. Any retirement of insurance benefits must be cut, but the captain has to keep charging the greenhorns full price for them Sig is also told all safety gear and inspections are to be curtailed immediately as these are job killing burdens. The ship’s line of credit with any banks must be capped arbitrarily. And, if the captain doesn’t go along, the greenhorns will begin cutting holes in the ship and setting it on fire.

That probably wouldn’t go over well with the rest of the crew of the Northwestern, and it sure as hell wouldn’t fly with other greenhorns on other boats.

If the government is to be run like a business, then the goal would not be to shrink it or limit revenue. Far form it. The goal would be to make the business as huge as possible.


  1. TonyC says

    Government as business:

    1. Businesses operate within a market. What market is Government in? Is it a monopoly, or should it compete in all areas? (don’t pay taxes to US, Inc! Instead, become a subscriber to NA, Corp – as a foundation member you will be entitles to discounts with many of our partner enterprises – companies you use every day!).

    2. Businesses make profits (or losses) for their investors. Who are the investors in US, Inc.? is it us? if so, how does US Inc make money (what’s the business plan) and will it pay a dividend? Who are the market makers? will there be an IPO?

    3. Businesses exist within a regulatory environment. If the US Govt is a business, what is it’s environment? can it simply make lays that benefits itself versus its competitors?

    There are lots of other reasons that US Inc is simply stupid rhetoric. If Republicans treated business the way they treat the Govt., they would soon discover how different they are.

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