Is Business Experience Essential for a President?

by | May 22, 2011

Much is made about how the next President should be someone with experience in business. This was the appeal of Donald Trump’s phony flirtation with running, and now it’s the appeal of Herman Cain, the former business executive promising to take on Obama. The sentiment is valid. People yearn for a President with experience in […]

Much is made about how the next President should be someone with experience in business. This was the appeal of Donald Trump’s phony flirtation with running, and now it’s the appeal of Herman Cain, the former business executive promising to take on Obama.

The sentiment is valid.

People yearn for a President with experience in the real world. Many recognize that professional politicians such as Barack Obama never have, and never will, do an honest day’s work in their lives. By “honest” I mean obtaining money voluntarily surrendered by customers for products and services, rather than forcibly handed over by the coercion of taxation and regulation.

Obama was a “community organizer” which is a polite term for manipulating groups of people to gain the greatest amount of power for the greatest amount of handouts made possible through local and federal tax money. After being President, Obama will live off the taxpayers (and a fawning media) forever, regardless of what his future holds and regardless of whether he serves one or two terms in office. And Obama is not the first career politician to seek or hold the White House. He’s just one of the more abysmal and destructive examples.

Given all this, it’s understandable that people yearn for a “man of business” to take over. But valid sentiments can still lead to erroneous thinking. It’s a mistake to think that whether a man running for President has lots of political experience or no political experience is the essential factor. It’s the candidate’s ideas that matter. And his integrity to those ideas.

The United States is at a point where it doesn’t merely need help; it needs actual restoration to its status as a constitutional republic.

Other than democratic elections, there’s very little resemblance between the United States system of government in 2011 and the system as it started out, and was conceived, back in 1787. The main thing keeping the nation from collapsing into dictatorship or some kind of authoritarian rule are the division of powers. You can undercut President Obama with a Republican Congress, for example. John McCain and the Democrats can pass McCain-Feingold, a law which censors free speech for certain corporations who aren’t left wing in outlook, and the Supreme Court can turn around and strike the law down. The Supreme Court can likewise, at least theoretically, strike down the unpopular and unconstitutional ObamaCare socialized medicine law.

Unfortunately, the separation of powers among the executive, legislative and judicial branches is not enough. The separation of powers can stop the government from doing stupid things, or reverse some irrational things that the government does. But separation of powers cannot save us from ourselves. The biggest threat facing the nation today is, arguably, the fiscal crisis. Government is now spending and borrowing at a level that a 100 percent, permanent income tax on everyone — effective tomorrow — would not begin to resolve. The potential, unintended consequences to our currency, our politicized federal reserve system and the entire economy as we know it constitute uncharted territory.

Politicians can and will do nothing about this, because, quite simply, the people will not let them. The people — a majority of them that is, a sizable majority — must allow the politicians do what has to be done which, among other things, is to start the privatization process for these programs of nationalized retirement and health insurance that have long ago gone bankrupt.

Does it matter if a businessman does this, or even a career politician for that matter? To me, it matters little. I would love any candidate willing to take the lead in this area, anyone effective at convincing Americans that this has to be faced. Of course, even a good candidate — with a career in politics or a past career in business — cannot lead people where they refuse to be led, and all indications are that people are not facing up to the reality of what’s confronting us with the current economic mess.

The brief and widespread flirtation with Donald Trump — nothing more than a publicity stunt, as it turned out — shows how many Americans falsely believe that the principles of business are what’s required to save the unsavable from itself. You cannot make socialized medicine, or nationalized retirement, fiscally or morally tenable. The greatest business mind in history could not do this, because it’s flatly impossible and wrong to try.

What America needs is not better accounting, but better facing of reality and an increase in self-responsibility. It’s fashionable to complain about government, but not for the right reasons. The prevalent attitude about government is, “It’s taking and spending so much money, but it’s not giving me much in return.” Hello!? It’s not the job of government to either take or return money. Government exists to protect your freedom from violent criminals, not to give you an income. This is the point that at least half (and I fear more than half) of the American population does not get, and so long as this remains the case … we’re going down, as a society.

The United States needs the exact opposite of a Barack Obama: A President who will tell them the truth about how wrong they are, and lead them to the right and ultimately most productive course. This means ending the entire welfare state as we know it. Obama is “leading” the country to dependence, stagnation and ultimately provides the rationalization for a dictatorship, as conditions worsen. People should fear this more than the freedom that the end of the welfare state would dictate. Any candidate who grasps this is a welcome one.

Dr. Michael Hurd is a psychotherapist, columnist and author of "Bad Therapy, Good Therapy (And How to Tell the Difference)" and "Grow Up America!" Visit his website at: www.DrHurd.com.

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

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