WSJ.com - Opinion: Why Government Can't Run a Business
The Obama administration is bent on becoming a major player in -- if not taking over entirely -- America's health-care, automobile and banking industries. Before that happens, it might be a good idea to look at the government's track record in running economic enterprises. It is terrible.
There are a number of reasons why this is inherently so. Among them are:
1) Governments are run by politicians, not businessmen. Politicians can only make political decisions, not economic ones. They are, after all, first and foremost in the re-election business.
3) Governments use other people's money. Corporations play with their own money.
4) Government does not tolerate competition.
5) Government enterprises are almost always monopolies and thus do not face competition at all. But competition is exactly what makes capitalism so successful an economic system. The lack of it has always doomed socialist economies.
Cost cutting is alien to the culture of all bureaucracies. Indeed, when cost cutting is inescapable, bureaucracies often make cuts that will produce maximum public inconvenience, generating political pressure to reverse the cuts.
6) Successful corporations are run by benevolent despots. The CEO of a corporation has the power to manage effectively... But American government was designed by the Founding Fathers to be inefficient, and inefficient it most certainly is.
7) Government is regulated by government.
It is government's job to make and enforce the rules that allow a civilized society to flourish. But it has a dismal record of regulating itself.