July 26, 2012 |

In Our Opinion: Government really needs to get down to business

Where should business experience go on a presidential candidate's résumé? Front and center, at the bottom or not even mentioned?

Mitt Romney has used his business experience as a major selling point for his candidacy, even suggesting in May that there should be a Constitutional amendment adding business work experience to the qualifications for president.

That might be extreme, but it's not be a bad idea. President Barack Obama doesn't have business experience, and it's showing. Just a couple of weeks ago he angered many business owners by suggesting they couldn't have built their business without help.

One would hope Obama didn't mean his words literally, but just didn't think them through. This is about more than picking apart sound bites in a search for bias. It's about the current state of our government and how we need a leader to address our government's problems the way an executive might address a floundering business's problems.

As the federal government grows in size and scope, it seems our leaders are less and less able to manage the operations of that government. While the Congress grinds to a snail's pace under the weight of partisanship and pretense, the two men who want to be our next president are sniping at each other and many in the electorate are beginning to feel hopeless. Doesn't anybody remember there's a government to be run?

As the campaign continues in its umpteenth month, we're reminded of why so many people worshiped Obama four years ago. The man has charisma. But as we've seen over the course of his presidency, charisma only gets you so far and many of us got tired of the impassioned speeches when no change came from them.

Business experience teaches leadership and problem-solving. If there are two skills the presidency needs now, these have to be near the top of the list.

Mitt Romney has business experience, controversial as it may be. We're not convinced Romney will do it, but we would hope that, if he were elected, he would use that experience to start down a reform-minded path with the federal government, conducting a careful, focused and—dare we say it?—non-partisan look at the government's programs and lead the Congress in changing things for the better.

It's not really fair to compare the federal government to a business. A government—in theory—works on behalf of the public and is not out to make a profit. But just for the sake of argument, wouldn't we all be better off if our leaders took some business principles to heart? Business owners have no choice but to balance their budgets. The alternative is bankruptcy. Good business owners listen to their customers and are responsive to their complaints; they know if their customers aren't happy they can go elsewhere.

Unfortunately, it's a bit tougher for citizens to shop around for governments. As good business people know, competition makes everybody better. Maybe it's time for another revolution.

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