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Bill Gunderson


Can a Businessman Run a Country?

Posted: 02/10/2012 5:01 pm

President Obama sure likes to hold Warren Buffett up as an example these days. After all, it is Warren Buffett that is dying to pay a higher tax rate. Never mind that he is currently fighting the IRS over a paltry billion dollars or so in unpaid taxes.

Warren is also hot and bothered about his secretary paying a higher effective tax rate than most millionaires and billionaires. Of course, we still have not seen her tax return, so we really don't know what rate she does pay. I guess it does not matter however, that Mitt Romney paid several million in taxes while Buffet's secretary may have paid a few thousand. Who's counting anyway?

My question to you the reader is this: If God forbid, something should happen to Mr. Buffett, would he feel more comfortable hiring Barack Obama or Mitt Romney to take over the management of Berkshire Hathaway? Oh, I know what you are thinking, government cannot be run like a business; it takes politicians to get things done.

It is thinking like this that has helped create a current debt load of $15 trillion dollars! Do you think that Mr. Buffett would have gotten us into the mess that we are currently in had he been running the country over the last 10 years? I highly doubt it. Warren still lives in the same humble abode that he has lived in for years. He is known for being pretty frugal. Oh, I forgot however that Mr. Buffett is a businessman though. We can't have a businessman running our country.

Actually, it would be real interesting to know where we would be today had Warren Buffett been running the country for the last 10 years. Maybe he would have consulted with other businessmen like Steve Jobs of Apple Computer or Jim Skinner of McDonald's about the economy and job creation. Instead our president goes to CEOs like Jeffrey Immelt of General Electric and Antonio Perez of Eastman Kodak to get his advice about job creation.

Is that the same Jeffrey Immelt who has had the stock of GE going backwards by an average of 3.3 percent per year over the last 10 years? Is that the same Antonio Perez who just had his company file for bankruptcy? Eastman Kodak was once a member of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, it is now a penny stock! I don't know about you, but when I want to lose weight, I seek out a skinny diet counselor.

Now back to Berkshire Hathaway. What does President Obama's resume look like when it comes to investing in companies? Let's see, there was some $520 million that went into Solyndra. How did that one turn out? Did the investment go there on merit or favoritism? What would Buffet's shareholders say if Warren made an investment that went from $520 million to zero in the span of 18 months?

How did the Obama administration's investment in Beacon Power go? Oh well, it is just taxpayer money that we don't have. How about the billions that went into the so-called stimulus program? What kind of return are we getting on that one?

While it is intriguing to think where our country might be today had a crackerjack businessman like Warren Buffett been running the show, it is an absolutely frightful thought to think where Berkshire Hathaway might be today, had Mr. Obama been at the helm for the last 10 years. This may sound like a harsh observation, but close your own eyes and ponder these questions for a minute.

The bottom line is this: What we have been doing has not been working. The hole that we have to climb out of here in America is getting deeper and deeper and deeper. In fact, it is getting so deep, I think I can see Greece-austerity, strikes, riots, and bailouts anyone?

We need a different skill set in the White House right now. We need a turnaround expert in the worst way. Oh, I forgot that a businessman cannot run a country. If a bunch of politicians can run the country into the ground, I feel pretty confident that it will take some businessmen to turn it around.


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