As Randall Denley says in today’s Ottawa Citizen, “Events of the past several months have certainly made private-sector executives look incompetent, but the corollary is not that politicians are better at business.”
He then goes on to describe how the public and private sectors have different motivators and drivers as well as different reward systems. In short, a properly functioning marketplace operates on a financial risk-reward basis, while governments operate in a no-risk environment where they control the resources, the laws, the money-collecting mechanisms, and the money-printing equipment to be used once the taxpayers have been wrung dry.
And the irony of it all is that we now have politicians taking control of large businesses like GM and Chrysler, not because the politicians have better business smarts (you only need to look at Jim Flaherty to prove that point) but because the businesses had themselves become too big and unwieldy. “GM is failing because it is bureaucratic, unable to make tough decisions, can't control costs and doesn't have a compelling plan for the future. In other words, it was run too much like a government and not enough like a business.”
With few exceptions (across all parties) I wouldn’t trust the fiscal ability of any politician to balance my check book, let alone direct the day-to-day operation of a multi-billion dollar corporation dedicated to profits and wealth creation. Yet that is precisely what they are doing.
If GM and/or Chrysler are going to fail, they will fail for reasons beyond the scope of this (or any) government to fix, so by dabbling in an area they know nothing about, the politicians are simply delaying the inevitable and incurring huge taxpayer obligations in the process.
"I don’t have the brains for business. I want to go into politics." - Mao Xinyou