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posted: 3/14/2014 1:01 AM

Business experience won't assure government success

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Every so often voters are wooed by businessmen entering politics because they want to "run government like a business." The appeal of this to sentient taxpayers weary of the exponential growth of government debt, spending and taxes is seductive, but rarely satisfied.

Business executives who "wannabe" elected government executives visualize government using a corporate model. A business corporation's mission is to make money for the stockholders. Right there you have the single greatest difference between business and government entities.

Business takes investment money from stockholders for the purpose of selling something, goods or services, and returning cash in the form of dividends and/or increased value of the investment. Government, on the other hand, takes cash from taxpayers for the presumed purpose of returning services.

Another misunderstood difference between the corporate and governmental realms, is the role of the bureaucracy. Workers in the world of business are employed as long as their employer needs and can afford them. In government, however, under the merit system and public employee union contracts, it is incredibly difficult to dismiss workers. The businessman-politician will not have had practical contact with this system and will grapple with its limitations on his exercise of executive authority.

Only one of the candidates for the Republican nomination for governor has extensive success in both the business and governmental realms. Dan Rutherford has made the transition from the corporate world to the Illinois legislature to the state treasurer's office.

Mr. Rutherford, who has experience in Springfield as both legislator and constitutional officer, has the greatest probability of correcting the course of this foundering ship of state.

Kirsten Reeder Howe