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Would You Invest In a Company Run In This Manner?

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My latest column for AIER was inspired by the unpleasant task, not long ago, of reading Biden’s recent State of the Union address. (I cannot bear actually to listen to such things, as I detest having my intelligence insulted in such a smarmy fashion.) My piece involves a speech to shareholders given by an imaginary clueless CEO (Jones) of an imaginary corporation (Acme) [2]. Here’s my conclusion:

In reality, of course, no private corporation would ever be run as irresponsibly as Jones runs Acme Inc. Indeed, even to contemplate such a degree of cluelessness, incompetence, and fraudulence in a corporate CEO is nearly impossible.

Yet after beholding now for more than a year the presidency of Joe Biden, I think it fair to say that he, the real-world president of the United States of America, is as clueless, as incompetent, and as fraudulent as is Jones, the imaginary CEO of Acme Inc. If you disbelieve me, read Biden’s 2022 State of the Union address. It proves my case [3].

Of course, Biden isn’t unique. American presidents – and state governors, and big-city mayors – have long peddled nonsense to their constituents. These politicians continue to get away with their destructive fraudulence for three main reasons. First, unlike shareholders in a private corporation, it’s extremely difficult for a citizen of a political jurisdiction (especially at the national level) to escape. Second, unlike executives of a private corporation, government officials can implement their policies, and cover up much of the evidence of their failure, by using coercion.

The third reason is that – unlike shareholders, customers, and suppliers of private corporations – many citizens of political jurisdictions believe that duly appointed government leaders have powers to work miracles. The belief is distressingly widespread that coercion deployed by government officials can work such wonders as making low-skilled workers worth more than they are really worth by enacting minimum-wage statutes, miraculously multiply domestic resources by borrowing and spending money, and increase citizens’ access to goods and services by denying citizens access to goods and services offered for sale by non-citizens.

With such bizarre beliefs being so widespread, it’s no wonder that millions of Americans can listen to the likes of Joe Biden and think “Yeah! Our national government is in the hands of a competent CEO!”