America: A Nation, Not a Business

As the 2012 presidential campaign rolls on and the debt debate continues, we continue to hear comparisons equating running America with running a business. Conservatives assert that if we ran America like a well-managed company we would not be in our current economic troubles. The current conservative talking points give the affluent among us nice cuddly names like "job creators," and focus on "fiscal discipline" in government.

Contrary to conservative belief, America should not be run like a business because it is not a business. The main goal in any enterprise is to increase profit. The survival of the company is more important than the well being of its individual employees. In tough times a business can batten down its hatches with relative ease through layoffs, furloughs, cutting hours, and hiring freezes. It can increase efficiency, cut costs, and suspend new investments. Many companies are taking these actions now to survive.

That is not so with America. Americans are not employees able to seek employment elsewhere. They cannot be cut loose by their government, especially not when many of them are already receiving such treatment from employers. Though the long-term health of America is vital, the purpose of this country is to protect and serve its people, not to profit from them or stay in the black while they go under. Sometimes it is necessary to fall into the red.

It was an uncontrollable desire for profit by our biggest firms and banks that plunged us into our current economic recession, not government spending or debt. Spending only increased after these same crippled firms begged government for a bail out. Fiscal discipline was pushed aside as the conservative Bush administration provided the first bailout package. Businesses are laying-off employees, not government. Excessive debt, taxation, and regulation did not cause this problem; high risk, over-leveraging, profit seeking and business excess did.

Conservatives argue average Americans need to endure benefits cuts, tighten their belts, and forgo revenue to decrease the national debt while tax breaks and loopholes continue for "job creators" — the very people who caused the situation in the first place — because doing so might create jobs. Conservatives are willing to support the needs of business over those of the people; they’re willing to let the crew drown to save the ship. If Americans allow them to put government on the chopping block now, there will be no one to stand in the way of further harmful excesses by profit-hoarders in the future.

The claim of "fiscal discipline" by conservatives during the debt ceiling debate should be called into question. Anyone who is willing to drive the country into potential financial Armageddon and risk further negative consequences based upon ideological, not practical, arguments cannot justify a claim for “fiscal discipline.” Government debt needs to be addressed, but that can be done without ruining our credit rating, which would likely serve to increase the debt. America is not a business. It is a country with a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. It should stay that way.

Photo Credit: codepinkhq

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Chris Miller

Chris Miller is a nine year veteran of the U.S. Army where he served in chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear defense. He is a two-tour veteran of the Iraq War where he helped to screen Iraqi police candidates, served as an adviser to an Iraqi infantry battalion, and planned and led security for patrols and logistical operations. He received the Purple Heart, Combat Action Badge, and Army Commendation Medal, among others. After leaving the military, he served two years in the Middle East as a contractor. He is a Fellow and Contributing Writer with the Truman National Security Project. His work has appeared on/in ABC News, Fox News, The Atlantic, New York Daily News, The Guardian, The Daily Beast, Small Wars Journal, and other publications. He holds an LLB(Hons) from the Open University, United Kingdom and a postgraduate law degree from University of Law-Chester, England. He is currently a student at Department of International Politics at Aberystwyth University in Wales. http://millersrules.blogspot.com/

MORE FROM

Watchdog groups sue Trump for deleting tweets, allegedly violating Presidential Records Act

Trump's deleted tweets may come back to haunt him.

Grizzly bear protections in Yellowstone National park are ending

A final ruling by US government officials will strike the Yellowstone grizzly bear from the list of threatened species after its population increased to 700.

Another day, another off-camera White House press briefing

The move to scale back on-camera press briefings comes amid Trump's increasing unwillingness to interact with the press.

Minneapolis might get a $15 minimum wage, but restaurant workers aren't celebrating

Discord has been brewing in Minneapolis over whether tipped work will be counted toward a $15 minimum wage.

These abysmal new poll numbers for House health care bill don't bode well for Senate version

Only 34% of Republicans approve of the new proposed law.

'Pizzagate' shooter gets 4-year prison sentence, lawyers urged judge to deter vigilantism

Welch stormed a Washington, D.C., pizza place and shot off a firearm because of the internet.

Watchdog groups sue Trump for deleting tweets, allegedly violating Presidential Records Act

Trump's deleted tweets may come back to haunt him.

Grizzly bear protections in Yellowstone National park are ending

A final ruling by US government officials will strike the Yellowstone grizzly bear from the list of threatened species after its population increased to 700.

Another day, another off-camera White House press briefing

The move to scale back on-camera press briefings comes amid Trump's increasing unwillingness to interact with the press.

Minneapolis might get a $15 minimum wage, but restaurant workers aren't celebrating

Discord has been brewing in Minneapolis over whether tipped work will be counted toward a $15 minimum wage.

These abysmal new poll numbers for House health care bill don't bode well for Senate version

Only 34% of Republicans approve of the new proposed law.

'Pizzagate' shooter gets 4-year prison sentence, lawyers urged judge to deter vigilantism

Welch stormed a Washington, D.C., pizza place and shot off a firearm because of the internet.