If We REALLY Ran Government Like a Business….

I get so annoyed when people say that government should be “run like a business.” Government isn’t a business; the statement betrays a total lack of understanding of what government is and does.

Government should, however, be run in a businesslike fashion–and a Congressman from Minnesota has made a proposal borrowed from the world of business that I absolutely agree should be applied to government as well. According to the Political Animal blog, 

Rep. Rick Nolan (D-Minn.) introduced a bill Friday that would prevent members of Congress from getting paid in the event of a government shutdown.

“It’s time to put an end to government by crisis management,” Nolan said in a statement. “And it’s time for Congress to start living in the real world — where you either do your job — or you don’t get paid. If hundreds of thousands of other federal employees are to go without their salaries — twisting slowly in the wind in a government shutdown — then the Congress should not be paid either.”

Under Nolan’s bill, members of Congress would go unpaid for the duration of the shutdown. He introduced similar legislation during the 16-day government shutdown in 2013 that left 800,000 federal workers furloughed without pay. While his bill never got off the ground, Nolan donated the money he was paid over the shutdown to charities in his district.

As anyone who follows the news is aware, the Crazy Caucus–led by Senator Ted Cruz–is threatening to shut down the government once again if they don’t get their way; this time, “getting their way” means defunding Planned Parenthood and denying basic medical care to millions of poor women (and poor men, who rely on Planned Parenthood for STD testing, among other things).

When union workers strike, they don’t get paid by their employers. Why should We The People–who employ these bozos–continue to pay them while they are refusing to do their jobs?

It’s bad enough that they work a three or four day week for wages hard-working Americans can only dream of. As the blogger, David Atkins, concludes:

If Republicans want to run government like a business, this would be a good way to start. If you don’t do the work you’re supposed to do you don’t get paid.

Makes perfect sense to me.


  1. Republicans stand behind this belief because they are owned by big business and are being paid to support running government as a business. This could be why they are pushing so many religious issues through the legislature; “protecting” big business religious freedom which is their own. We can no longer separate Republicans from big business due to SCOTUS passing Citizens United and curtailing voter registration and voting rights by allowing continuing gerrymandering.

    I’m with Theresa – why should this Republican Congress NOT shut down government when it will not effect their lives in any way – especially on payday?

  2. Sad thing is, they could easily do this and not feel a thing. Their salaries are not the bulk of their incomes. The under the table money isn’t going to stop just because the government shuts down. They’re incredibly stupid not to jump on this opportunity for a painless faux-populist PR move.

  3. I agree with Scott Armstrong’s statement – “They’re incredibly stupid not to jump on this opportunity for a painless faux-populist PR move.”

  4. If they are going to shut government down, shut it ALL down, including Soc. Security, Medicare, collecting taxes, the FBI . . . .everything.
    Shutting down a little of the government is sort of like going on a little of a diet — you still eat what you want, but you’ve given up beets.

  5. Steve; obviously you do not depend on Social Security or Medicare from month to month to survive as many thousands of us do. Do you have older or disabled relatives or friends who depend on the income and medical care? We have already paid for our Social Security and pay Medicare monthly out of our SS checks. You are obviously an unaware wealthy Republican who is already not paying taxes and don’t want the IRS or FBI coming after you.

  6. “denying basic medical care to millions of poor women.” Come on, Sheila, you know better than that. The bill contains a provision that the same level of funding for these services shall continue. This is not about denying medical care, but about PP’s abhorrent abortion practices. PP has built up a sort of monopoly, built with our tax dollars, that crowd out other non-profits wanting providing free and low cost health care and reproductive (non-abortion) services. Unfortunately, PP is able to enlist a lot of people to spread the false message you did that this is about denying women health care. If PP got out of the grisly abortion business, you’d see this controversy end immediately.

    As far as members of Congress, do you really think they work only 3-4 days a week? Just because they’re in session doesn’t mean they’re not working. They have committee meetings, review material in their office, meet with constituents, etc.

  7. I have to agree with Steve. I wonder how fast America’s domestic enemies and their supporters would change their tune about how bad government is when bodies start piling up through members of Congress refusing to do the job they swore an oath to do. I no longer have any patience or tolerance for those who follow Norquist’s dictum that government should be small enough for our foreign foes to drown it in the bathtub.

  8. Ms. Green, read “Eric M”s reply. But to put it simply my point is this: Shutting off ALL government activities would get the attention of people who keep electing the members of Congress who do this.
    If they THEN want a shut down, fine, but it will be perfectly clear who is doing it.

  9. While I agree that the congressman’s proposal is right spirited I don’t believe that it would be effective. Too few politicians are dependent on their salaries.

    The required solution is to get rid of the aberration, politicians who can only get elected by appealing through public brainwashing to the lowest common denominators of the electorate whose entire cognitive capacity is wrapped around one issue that has nothing to do with governance.

    The gun nuts, the Evangelists, the libertarians, the Fox besotted, the racists; all of those illiterate in, but suspicious of experts in, important fields like civics, science, economics, world and American history.

    The problem at its core is oligarchy. The funding by the obscenely wealthy of a commercial ministry of truth blaring from pseudo loudspeakers on every street corner.

    We are in a new world were we are programmable because we’re educated by and for the past, and the means exist, and there are those beyond wealthy with one unfulfilled fantasy, to become aristocrats with unlimited power as well as unlimited wealth.

    It’s democracy being threatened and we are dependent on democracy.

    So this supply chain of ignorance has to be disrupted. I thought decades ago that the dismal actual performance of oligarchy in practice would be enough to end it but I was wrong. If the oligarchs win and therefore get to write history the faces on the mountain will be Limbaugh, Murdoch, Atwater and/or Rove, LaPierre, and the Kochs.

  10. Steve; they are threatening to shut government down over women’s – AND MEN’S – medical testing and treatment services at Planned Parenthood. NOT to prevent another war…which is something else they are fighting, PREVENTION of another war. Eric M’s comment, “…when bodies start piling up…” is an indication of the inhuman and inhumane actions of the GOP who don’t care whose bodies pile up, just so they get their way on one issue that is none of their business. Their rant about abortions is a religious based point of view and federal dollars are not allowed to be used for them in any medical clinic. There are other medical clinics similar to PP which provide the same services – abortions ALWAYS paid for by the patient – and hospitals across the country which provide abortions covered by the patient’s health care.

    If you are going to argue to shut down all government services over Planned Parenthood funding; I will start an argument to shut down all medical service facilities because they all receive federal funding and all but the religious hospitals provide abortion services.

  11. Pete; the issue is not that politicians do or do not depend on their salaries to live – THEY JUST WANT THAT MONEY COMING IN, DOESN’T MATTER FROM WHERE, THEY DO NOT WANT TO GIVE UP ONE CENT. Follow THAT money, Pete!

  12. JoAnn. I believe that what little they’d loose in income would be more than compensated for by what they’d gain in status from their single issue constituency.

    “Look what I willingly gave up to support your “right” to collect machines of death” , or “to reign in death to babies” or “to stop the Communists” or “Muslims” or “blacks from taking over”.

  13. AHH yes let’s run Government like a business. See below from the NYT and Guardian.

    Specialists in infectious disease are protesting a gigantic overnight increase in the price of a 62-year-old drug that is the standard of care for treating a life-threatening parasitic infection.

    The drug, called Daraprim, was acquired in August by Turing Pharmaceuticals, a start-up run by a former hedge fund manager. Turing immediately raised the price to $750 a tablet from $13.50, bringing the annual cost of treatment for some patients to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Turing Pharmaceuticals, a startup company owned by controversial former hedge fund manager Martin Shkreli, acquired the decades-old drug and raised the cost from $13.50 to $750 per pill. When Turing Pharmaceuticals raised the price of Daraprim to $750 per tablet, the average cost of treatment for patients rose from about $1,130 to $63,000. For certain patients, the cost can go as high as $634,000.
    Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who is also seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, recently proposed a bill that would ease the financial burden of prescription drugs on elderly Americans by allowing Medicare, the national social health insurance program, to negotiate with the pharmaceutical companies to keep prices down. His bill would also allow consumers to import cheaper drugs from Canada.

  14. Think of how much more cost effective American health care would be if all pharmaceuticals were developed under the auspices of the CDC rather than Wall Street.

  15. I just have to wonder how many Republicon Members of the House and Senate Federal and State of Indiana who oppose abortions, have adopted children or taken in children from their states Foster Care System when the birth mother can no longer care for the child, or is unfit to do so????

    If GOP wants to shut down the gevermint let them start by not taking their own salary.

  16. One of the lies that oligarchs sell to minions is that there are fundamental differences between corporations and government. There really aren’t. Workers in government are no different in terms of who they are or what their environment is than workers in the private sector. In both, for instance, their compensation is the minimum determined by the market for their skills and experience.

    Among executives the compensation in government follows the same practices but in business executive compensation is determined by small groups of related executives representing the corporate financial wing or investors.

    In government all Americans are your customers and have an equal say about your products. In business only those who choose your products have a say.

    The differences are in reality small, but oligarchs claim they are critical because belief in that claim makes the government’s customers, voters, fall for the executive compensation structure of corporations.

    Corporation executives get vast rewards and voters/workers get screwed.

  17. Pete: Your four posts today are BRILLIANTLY insightful.
    Aging Girl: Just the name “Hyde” makes me loathe to Google it. I’ll Google his buddy, Jeckyll, instead.

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