Paul Krugman speaks to my issue:

Why isn’t a national economy like a corporation? For one thing, there’s no simple bottom line. For another, the economy is vastly more complex than even the largest private company.

Most relevant for our current situation, however, is the point that even giant corporations sell the great bulk of what they produce to other people, not to their own employees — whereas even small countries sell most of what they produce to themselves, and big countries like America are overwhelmingly their own main customers.


Consider what happens when a business engages in ruthless cost-cutting. From the point of view of the firm’s owners (though not its workers), the more costs that are cut, the better. Any dollars taken off the cost side of the balance sheet are added to the bottom line.

But the story is very different when a government slashes spending in the face of a depressed economy. Look at Greece, Spain, and Ireland, all of which have adopted harsh austerity policies. In each case, unemployment soared, because cuts in government spending mainly hit domestic producers. And, in each case, the reduction in budget deficits was much less than expected, because tax receipts fell as output and employment collapsed.

via America Isn’t a Corporation –

I’m sure there are many other reasons why governments and businesses are different, and given the way this topic has moved to the forefront of the presidential campaign, there will probably be a number of articles in the weeks and maybe even months to come, which detail the differences quite nicely.

But the bottom line, so to speak, is this: the goals of nations and profit-making enterprises are different. Nations do not prioritize making profits, and that makes all the difference, in policy, in assessing outcomes, in planning for the future.

It’s fair to dispute the idea that Mitt Romney’s business-dude experience was as wonderful as he claims. But it’s perhaps more important to debate the idea that business people have relevant experience for the running of government.  Many people start in business, get interested in government, get a position on a city council or even in their state legislature, and then go on to seek national office in Congress or the White House.  But this seems to me to be a sensible path: take an initial experience as a business person, then spend some time in government learning more about the sausage making of laws and policy, before thinking about running things at the top of our nation’s government. With that path, someone in government uses their business experience in combination with their legislative or policy experience, to hopefully create a perspective truly useful to our nation.

Somehow I don’t get that from Romney.  Greedy in business, apparently not that great of a governor.  Is this someone who can meld his paltry experiences into something useful for the nation as a whole?  Doubtful.