Skip to main content

The Difference Between Running a Business and Running a Country

  • Author:
  • Updated:

This argument deserves to be made over and over again to counter the ridiculous assumption that being successful in business means you know how to run an economy. Here's Obama on the difference:

When some people question why I would challenge his Bain record, the point I’ve made there in the past is, if you’re a head of a large private equity firm or hedge fund, your job is to make money. It’s not to create jobs. It’s not even to create a successful business – it’s to make sure that you’re maximizing returns for your investor. Now that’s appropriate. That’s part of the American way. That’s part of the system. But that doesn’t necessarily make you qualified to think about the economy as a whole, because as president, my job is to think about the workers. My job is to think about communities, where jobs have been outsourced.

Paul Krugman chimes in:

A country is not a company — and it’s definitely not a private equity firm.

And here’s the thing: Romney is running for president entirely on the basis of his business success. In a better world he could be running on the basis of his successful health reform, but now he’s condemning that very achievement. In a better world he could actually be running on the basis of some kind of coherent policy ideas, but instead he’s offering nothing but a mix of tax cuts for the rich and benefit cuts for the middle class so extreme that focus groups refuse to believe that this is his actual proposal.

Once the Bain record becomes a liability instead of a strength, there’s nothing there.

I think the Democrats are absolutely right to hammer Romney on his Bain record and draw a contrast between his ability to get rich and his ability to create jobs. This myth has gone on for far too long and has given the rich a mythical status in American culture as the all-knowing, all-seeing benefactors of the country and all of its prosperity.

Enhanced by Zemanta