THE BLOG
11/12/2013 01:17 pm ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

Republicans Wouldn't Like a Government Run Like a Business

A common political talking point is the belief that government should be run like a business. While this is a really awful idea, there are certainly those who believe this nostrum.

So how, exactly, would a company run the government? Well, the Chamber of Commerce, whose tag line is "Standing Up for American Enterprise," has a few items on its wish list. Who better to tell us how a business would run the government than a group described as an "organization of businesses whose goal is to further the interests of businesses"?

On that list would be an increase in the federal fuel tax. Yes, a tax at the federal level that would affect hundreds of millions of Americans is deemed important and necessary by the Chamber of Commerce. Such a tax would not be popular with the vast majority of tax payers, however. What business takes a poll of likely buyers to determine if they are going to increase the cost of their products?

Also on that list is immigration reform. They believe the idea that immigrants are stealing our jobs is a myth. They also feel that immigrants are important for job creation. Perhaps they didn't get the memo about how damaging immigrants are to the economy because of all their freeloading.

The Chamber of Commerce also has supported Common Core for education, has "advocated vociferously for increased use of renewable energy and renewable energy technologies," was against the government shutdown (and would like to change policy to make sure it doesn't happen again), and has championed various increases in sales tax across the country.

But perhaps most interesting is how the largest organization of businesses would proceed when it comes to health care reform.

The rhetoric from many who claim to support running the country like a business suggests that the Affordable Care Act (affectionately known as Obamacare) is incompatible with their beliefs and thus should be discarded completely. However, it should be noted that the Chamber does not argue for repealing the ACA. Instead they are for "promoting strategies and solutions to encourage health care reform that lowers cost, improves quality, expands access to health care, and protects American jobs." Essentially, the Chamber would like to use the ACA as a starting point and enact changes to improve it.

Those changes would include attacking "Medicare and Medicaid fraud and abuse," which happens to already be part of the ACA. Improve health and productivity with wellness programs which is also already part of the ACA. "Foster the use of health care IT to improve efficiency, lower costs, and reduce medical errors" which is of course already part of the ACA. "Pool risk and purchase coverage at an affordable price," which everyone knows is already part of the ACA. "Reward providers for quality," which, you guessed it, is part of the ACA.

In essence, if we ran the country like a business, the ACA would be the type of health care reform we could expect.

The problem is that many believe this logic to be apodictic and never consider the yin and yang relationship between the public and private sector that propelled the U.S. to prominence in the first place. It is perfectly reasonable to expect the government to cut wasteful spending or exhibit fiscal prudence. But the reality is that the purpose of government is antithetical to that of a business and wanting government to run like a business is just a poorly constructed analogy fraught with unsagacious thinking.

Previously published in the Detroit News.