Donald Trump

Trump Isn't Running the Government Like a Business

A CEO actually learns from mistakes.

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Trump Tower
Niall Carson/ZUMA Press/Newscom

Anytime a reporter interviews Donald Trump voters about their reasons for supporting him, you can count on one of them to cite his capitalist credentials. The president has "a businessman's approach to running the country," a Chicago business owner told a Chicago Tribune reporter in a story this week.

If only.

Trump is completely lacking in government experience, unlike almost every one of his predecessors. But during the campaign, he touted business background as evidence of his ability to handle the presidency. Never mind that his fortune was built on a large inheritance from his wealthy father, that he went through six bankruptcies, and that many of his ventures (Trump Steaks, Trump Airlines, among others) vanished without a trace. He and his supporters preferred to focus on his successes, which he promised he could duplicate in the White House.

But no competent business executive would operate a company the way Trump has operated his administration. Protecting the brand is a key mission of every company. As plenty of defunct corporations can attest, it takes years to establish a reputation and secure the trust of customers—and that reputation can be destroyed overnight.

Ask Volkswagen, whose managers rigged cars to defeat emissions tests; or Samsung, which sold phones that were prone to catching fire; or Chipotle, which had repeated outbreaks of food poisoning. Through ethical lapses or performance failures, these firms drove away the consumers who made them successful. And the damage may never be undone. Those companies are now striving to prove that they have learned from their mistakes and will do better in the future.

Trump, by contrast, goes out of his way to raise doubts about his honesty, competence and willingness to correct mistakes. His tweets accusing President Barack Obama of wiretapping created a fantastic lie that was promptly debunked by everyone with knowledge of the facts. This embarrassed many of his Republican allies in Congress and drove his approval ratings down to historic lows.

Had he done anything so self-destructive as the CEO of a publicly traded company, he would have been fired.

A key to success in business is filling jobs with good people. But Trump has failed to fill thousands of jobs with anyone at all. He complains that Democrats have slowed confirmation of his Cabinet appointees, but Democrats don't have enough votes in the Senate to block these nominations. Part of the problem is that he was slow to make some of his choices because he saw no need to devote any attention to such matters until after the election. Another is that some of his nominees, being exceptionally wealthy, require more extensive vetting to head off conflicts of interest.

The problem is even worse that it appears. CNN reported that there are some 1,900 job vacancies in the executive branch, most of which don't have to go through the Senate. Even conservatives have chafed at the delays. There is "a personnel crisis in the Trump White House," wrote John Fund in National Review. "Trump has named only 20 sub-Cabinet-level positions, including two who withdrew—a list that includes nominees for ambassadorships, counsel positions, and commissioners, according to a tracker from the Washington Post and Partnership for Public Service."

Sean Hannity claimed Trump is being sabotaged by "deep-state Obama holdovers" in the government. But if the president wants loyalists who will carry out his policies, he has to actually appoint them. A corporate executive who encountered persistent obstruction from top or middle managers would waste no time replacing them. Trump, by contrast, has wasted two months and will undoubtedly waste more.

Most businesses do business with other companies that are crucial for their success—suppliers, distributors, lenders, advertising agencies and the like. Able executives understand the value of proven partners and treat them with respect. Trump, by contrast, has undermined our chief military alliance, NATO; heaped contempt on the leader of a vital ally, Germany; and done everything possible to antagonize a previously friendly neighbor, Mexico. Business leaders sometimes have to fight, but the smart ones avoid unnecessary quarrels with those whose cooperation they may someday need.

If Trump brings any business executives to mind, it's those who ran Enron, a high-flying energy company that was ultimately destroyed by its own fraud. What one documentary said about the people who ran Enron may someday be said about Trump and his accomplices: "It's astounding that they got away with it for so long."

© Copyright 2017 by Creators Syndicate Inc.

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  1. When will so-called free marketers get a clue. All this babble misses the biggest point — which is why Trump supporters yawn. Or laugh.

    Trump has no executive experience. None. He ran a family business, for chrissakes.I was an Entrepreneur Coach/Consultant for over 35 years. They come in two flavors. Autocrats and Leaders. Trump is an autocrat. Have you ever heard a businessperson ridiculed because they don’t know how to delegate, or can’t? That’s him.

    It’s not just business. As a salesman in my 20s, I still recall a school superintendent telling me he always hired people smarter than him. Imagine Trump saying that! (stop laughing)

    Almost all his problems as the Chief EXECUTIVE trace to that. Many of his cabinet heads cannot even hire their own #2. Trump MUST try to run everything, which is why he’s in a death spiral, and keeps making a monkey of himself.

    We’ve seem it all before. Trump is the Republican Jimmy Carter. But Jimmy, as a farmer, never developed the habit of either an autocrat or leader. He simply never ran a structured organization of professionals, Neither has Trump. Well, Trump’s also a psycho with a severe ego deficiency.

    1. A Michael Hihn post that i agree with! O brave new world!

      Trump’s also a psycho with a severe ego deficiency.

      Positions of power do tend to attract those. After all, where else can the sophisticated narcissistic-sociopath-on-the-go get away with indulging his or her pathologies to their fullest extent?

        1. I too stand with Hihn!

          DAMN. What did I do wrong?

          1. That was a joke. I should be more careful here/

      1. Positions of power do tend to attract those

        Depends, and that was the first obstacle between my politics and management training/consulting.

        It’s the LUST for power. What’s that mean? It means power for its own sake … as the primary focus .. instead of a TOOL to achieve positive change. Look for that and you’ll see it in both politics and organizational management (profit and non-profit)

        I once saw it described as the levers of power (tools) versus a club (force)
        When I managed the Washington LP (the first paid state director). a guy rejoins the party. He had been elected to a local school board. Used his recognition to get elected to the state House, founded a Libertarian Caucus, rose to the the second most powerful elected official in state government, Chairman of the House Finance Committee.. Every partisan election as a Republican.

        He laughed when I asked if he ran as a Republican because he was a doer instead of a talker. He had great insights, so I had him write columns for our newsletter. Blew me away on drugs. Said a LOT of people simply were afraid their kid would see somebody high. So his position became that public high should be a misdemeanor with a small fine. Like public drunkenness. I published several LTEs bashing him has a statist, all under one heading, “What Have You Ever Done.” It was fun.

        He never lectured voters, always asked. Sought power as a lever to advance liberty. Did it.

    2. As a salesman in my 20s, I still recall a school superintendent telling me he always hired people smarter than him. Imagine Trump saying that!

      I hire experts. I hire top, top people. And I do listen.

      That’s from Donald Trump himself. (You don’t need to read the rest of the quote.)

      1. That’s from Donald Trump himself.He also said he could kill somebody on Times Square with lots of witnesses, and his followers would defend him.

        (You don’t need to read the rest of the quote.)

        From a master bullshitter?
        Is that why he has denied his own Cabinet secretaries to hire their own staff? Why he’s THOUSANDS of appointments behind, sticks his nose into everything, but has an hour or so per day to tweet — the same people who would excuse even cold blooded murder?

        He admires Putin, because Putin … gets things done. Donald’s sole criteria.

        Denies the constitutional authority of SCOTUS as a balance of power ,…. on HIM?
        Publicly offered to pay the legal fees of anyone who ASSAULTED hecklers at rallies?
        Shows REPEATED contempt for anyone who disagrees with him (who would cower in fear if employees in family business controlled by an autocrat..)

        For Chrissakes, he even campaigned on a 60% tax cut for HIMSELF! Top a MAXIMUM 15%. What’s YOUR tax bracket?

        Who does he appeal to. Among others, those who glorify the fist.
        Instead of an open hand.

    3. He simply never ran a structured organization of professionals

      Jimmy Carter was Governor of Georgia before he ran for president. This would qualify as running a structured organization of professionals-on paper anyway…

      1. Jimmy Carter was Governor of Georgia before he ran for president

        Just as bad there, for largely the same reason. Contrast that with Reagan, who also had neither executive nor govenment background.

        Reagan’s kitchen cabinet was comprised entirely of billionaires and near billionaires … who had all FOUNDED and BUILT a business from scratch. A REAL business, not a string of real estate investments. A later example, Ross Perot, was ridiculed by many, because he had not RUN his business for years. DUH.
        He did was Donald is incapable of. He built a team and got out of their way.

        The best known of Rargans was Peter Grace, who organized the ONLY proposed massive spending cuts in that century, the Grace Commission. Their proposed cuts would have totaled $10 trilli0on by 2000, according to one estimate (Cato’s) His style (entrepreneurial) was the opposite of bureaucratic. Instead of sitting in committees, he sent hands-on managers and accountants out into the agencies, to find REAL waste and fraud — cuts that would not disrupt existing functions.

        He was NOT a braying jackass that screamed CUT EVERYTHING.. He did not paste numbers into a spreadsheet out of his ass and call it a budget, which anybody on earth could so (see Rand Paul, or Ron), with NO hope of achieving. “:He WANTS to cut spending and balance the budget.” Has no clue HOW, but … he WANTS to!

  2. Trump Isn’t Running the Government Like a Business
    A CEO actually learns from mistakes.

    Two whole months! When is he ever going to learn?

    Protecting the brand is a key mission of every company.

    Yeah. Let’s have Chapman school Trump on branding.

    Trump beat the MSM, Academia, the Entertainment industry, the Dems, the Obama Messiah, the Clinton Kleptocracy, and the Republican Establishment. Obviously incompetent with mass communication.

    Maybe the Cosmotarians will teach Trump how he can get half his supporters to turn on him in his own comments section.

    Sad.

    1. Trump Isn’t Running the Government Like a Business A CEO actually learns from mistakes.

      Two whole months! When is he ever going to learn?

      BEFORE being elected. I guess you missed the point?

      Yeah. Let’s have Chapman school Trump on branding.

      Umm, first-year Marketing majors know more than your cult hero. I guess you missed the point.

      Trump beat the MSM, Academia, the Entertainment industry, the Dems, the Obama Messiah, the Clinton Kleptocracy, and the Republican Establishment. Obviously incompetent with mass communication.

      That’s not branding. Ever see old newsreels, the HUGE crowds cheering Hitler and Mussolini?
      No-o-o-o-o, I did NOT say Trump is a Hitler or Mussolini. I showed you the difference between bullshitting a cult and and branding.

      And the math!

      Ten Million voters voted against him, PLUS tell us how many of his votes were ANTI-HILLARY, and not pro-Trump. I’ve only seen percentages, a RECORD HIGH of votes AGAINST the opponent,

      Any questions?

  3. “A corporate executive who encountered persistent obstruction from top or middle managers would waste no time replacing them.”

    But in government, top and middle managers often have Civil Service and constitutional protections that corporate executives do not have to deal with.

    Trump’s problem is not feeling to act like a business owner. It is his failure to comprehend that in many ways, a government leader cannot act like a business owner.

  4. Bringing business fiscal discipline and independent leadership to the bloated US Government is what he ran on. He is doing quite a bit in 2 MONTHS:
    Gorsuch will be appointed +1
    ObamaCare might be gutted or hopefully repealed +1
    Sent troops into Syria and Yemen -1 & -1
    Got the MSM, Academia, the Entertainment industry, the Dems, the Obama Messiah, the Clinton Kleptocracy losing their minds every day +1
    Initiated immigration and visitor restrictions and is stepping up deportations of illegals +1

    1. Bringing business fiscal discipline and independent leadership to the bloated US Government is what he ran on.

      What has he done that could be considered fiscal discipline?

      Got the MSM, Academia, the Entertainment industry, the Dems, the Obama Messiah, the Clinton Kleptocracy losing their minds every day +1

      Is this leadership?

      1. A simple example: the amount of money that has to be spent protecting him and his family – because his wife wants to stay in New York, and Trump wants to weekend in Florida, and his children travel the world while receiving protection – is something he can directly control.

      2. What has he done that could be considered fiscal discipline?

        maybe a stretch, maybe not but hasn’t his budget proposal included cuts for the EPA and Big Bird and some other things? This would be better if he held the line on defense, at a minimum, rather than increasing it but it’s not often anyone cuts anything. Hell, it’s not often anyone slows the rate of increase.

        1. Quite a stretch. The cuts to domestic spending are immediately diverted to the Pentagon. That’s not a cut, that’s just pouring the money down a different rat hole. Add in the fact that these cuts probably won’t happen, and the whole thing is clearly more about political theater than genuine fiscal discipline.

        2. Hell, it’s not often anyone slows the rate of increase

          There’s still time for him to do that!

  5. As a president Donald Trump can run the government as his ideas. But the people who support him should know why he is doing it for the purpose. we should learn which way he going to improve the economy of country. There are so many people against Donald Trump . The presidents should let them know about importance of doing such things publicly.
    http://insainsolutionsdotcom.com

    1. As a president Donald Trump can run the government as his ideas

      In his addled brain. We have this thing we call a Constitution …..

      which way he going to improve the economy of country. He has no clue … does not even know the problems.

  6. these firms drove away the consumers who made them successful

    I would be more likely to buy a VW because obviously they care more about their customers than kowtowing to BS government regulations.

    Chipotle got killed by being too woke. And Samsung by being too cheap. Fie on both of them.

    1. I’d been wishing for a Mexican restaurant within walking distance of my office, and then the other day i found out that there’s a Chipotle opening right next door. Be careful what you wish for, i suppose.

      1. You don’t like white rice burritos?

        1. I don’t like pooping half my body weight five minutes after eating a just-okay burrito.

          1. Also, i can never go back to that Barnes & Noble ever again.

          2. I keep hearing this but it only seems to apply to you defectives 🙂

        2. “White Rice Burrito” was my stage name.

      2. I have a Salsarita’s nearby. I like Chipotle better but I do not appreciate them jacking up prices because smug.

  7. But Trump has failed to fill thousands of jobs with anyone at all.

    Good. Also, “thousands”? Just exactly how much time do you think the president has to review resumes and conduct interviews? What is that, like two minutes per position, 24-7?

    1. But Trump has failed to fill thousands of jobs with anyone at all.

      Good.

      Clueless

      Also, “thousands”?

      Ummm, yes.

      Just exactly how much time do you think the president has to review resumes and conduct interviews? What is that, like two minutes per position, 24-7?

      So you believe Bill Gates hires everyone at Microsoft/t.

      He doesn’t do it personally. He appoints the people to run things, who hire people below them and DELEGATES authority. Trump — TOTALLY incompetent as a CEO — all he’s run is a family business — insists on sticking his nose into everyone else’s business — running loyalty tests — and TWEETING to his cult.

      A laughingstock.

  8. Sean Hannity claimed Trump is being sabotaged by “deep-state Obama holdovers” in the government.

    LOL – nice cherry-picking. In fact, it is common knowledge that government jobs are largely staffed by leftists who will do anything to protect their turf and will fight any GOP administration tooth and nail – this happens every time. But only Sean Hannity is uncouth enough to point it out?

    1. It’s going to take a lot of sweat, blood and tears to get rid of their kind. I don’t like everything about Trump. However, I will do everything I can to act as a booster for the parts of his agenda with which I agree. Especially shit like giving inveterate progressive bureaucrats the boot.

  9. I have never seen a new President put so many of his campaign promises into action so quickly as Trump has. Granted, that’s not always a good thing, but he’s doing it.

    A key to success in business is filling jobs with good people. But Trump has failed to fill thousands of jobs with anyone at all. He complains that Democrats have slowed confirmation of his Cabinet appointees, but Democrats don’t have enough votes in the Senate to block these nominations. Part of the problem is that he was slow to make some of his choices because he saw no need to devote any attention to such matters until after the election. Another is that some of his nominees, being exceptionally wealthy, require more extensive vetting to head off conflicts of interest.

    This is just dumb. If the key to success is filling jobs with good people, then doing it quickly would obviously be counter to that goal. Usually these jobs are meted out quickly to fulfill decades of political deal making and promises, and Trump doesn’t have all that baggage.

    1. He complains that Democrats have slowed confirmation of his Cabinet appointees, but Democrats don’t have enough votes in the Senate to block these nominations

      The latter clause does not invalidate the former. Seriously?

  10. “A CEO actually learns from their mistakes”

    Probably would be more accurate to say they can be fired more easily.

    Business owners are not necessarily smarter or wiser than politicians, they just have different incentives.

  11. While there’s a lot to be said about a president who doesn’t believe there’s a government solution to every problem, you cannot run federal government as a business. It can’t be done. It’s the largest employer in the United States. It’s known for its entrenched bureaucracy.

    Also, I’m pretty sure Donald Trump isn’t a person who believes in solutions that come from sources other than him or his administration. I hope I’m wrong.

    1. Also, I’m pretty sure Donald Trump isn’t a person who believes in solutions that come from sources other than him or his administration. I hope I’m wrong.

      He does seem to get a lot of information from cable news or right-wing radio, so maybe that’s where he gets his solutions, too.

      1. They’re the best solutions. They’re big league. Believe me.

      2. It seems more his source of problems.

        1. Yeah, it seems to me that conservatives are a thorn in Trump’s side as opposed to any kind of ally at this point. His threat to primary anyone who got in the way of the Republican disaster of a healthcare ‘plan’ should be indicative. Oddly enough I haven’t seen his threats toward the Freedom Caucus mentioned yet on Reason, but maybe I just haven’t gotten to that article yet.

  12. You always hear you can’t run government like a business because the government’s bottom line isn’t profits. Well, neither is a business’ bottom line about profits, its bottom line is perpetuating itself and profits are a means to an end. You don’t make profits and you’re gone and you make profits by delivering what people want at a price they can afford.* You gotta keep your eye on the main goal if you want to succeed and not get sidetracked by secondary objectives. The best car in the world isn’t a Rolls Royce, it’s a Toyota Corolla. The Rolls beats the Toyota in every objective standard but one – that’s the price and that one outweighs all the rest. We want a Rolls Royce government at a Corolla price and that ain’t happening. Stick to building the Corolla, don’t get bogged down in trying to turn an economy car into a luxury car.

    Right now, government’s in a fiscal death spiral and it’s a matter of when-not-if the whole shitshow implodes. Somebody’s got to explain to the people that you can milk a cow twice a day and get a certain amount of milk and that’s it – milking a cow 40 times a day doesn’t give you 20 times as much milk, it just kills the cow. There’s a limit to what government can do and attempting to exceed that limit is going to kill the whole enterprise. You gotta prioritize and stay focused on the main goal, trying to do too much is a sure path to failure.

    1. *Unless you’re too big to fail like GM and then you can get the government to bail you out when you suck at delivering a product people will pay a profitable price for. Which is success of a different sort.

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  14. You can spin “multiple bankruptcies” or letting under-performing brands die as worthwhile accomplishments for a businessman. It shows that mistakes are made in our profit and loss marketplace and that the businessman is willing to pull the plug on failed ideas. Whereas the gov’t and congress would just vote to pour even more money down the failing rathole because “someone’s job depends on this funding” or “my shut-in Aunt really enjoys using the product.”

    1. “My shut-in aunt also really seems to enjoy the smell of cat urine, which is why i’m sponsoring the Cats Peeing On Everything Act. It should only cost $1.6 billion!”

    2. Trump did say that he could shoot someone to death on Times Square, with hundreds of witnesses, and his supporters would still support him. As you do here.

      Yes, mistakes are made, but Trump has set a world record for FUCKUPS. And “pulling the plug on failed ideas” is what REAL businessmen do to …. AVOID BANKRUPTCY. … to avoid FUCKING the investors, suppliers and And employees who believed in him, trusted him.

      And a REAL businessman … as a proprietor or family business owner pays back the victims of his bankruptcy .. if not entirely, then to the best of his ability. We call that Personal Responsibilty. Trump sucks at the teat like a welfare queen, but with personal victims

      “Fuck you, loser, for believing in me. I have billions to pursue,
      by sucking your rotting corpse.”

      1. “Trump has set a world record for FUCKUPS. And “pulling the plug on failed ideas” is what REAL businessmen do to …. AVOID BANKRUPTCY. … to avoid FUCKING the investors, suppliers and And employees who believed in him, trusted him”

        Hyperbole much? Also, I think you don’t fully understand bankruptcy, or it’s role in the business world. Sometimes bankruptcy proceedings are the only way to save a worthwhile business that may be at the mercy of larger market forces. I get that you may not understand how that sort of thing works though. Most people do not.

        1. I think you don’t fully understand bankruptcy, or it’s role in the business world.

          I was a coach/consultant to entrepreneurs for over 35 years, which likely included at least 30 with Trump’s tax structure.

          Sometimes bankruptcy proceedings are the only way to save a worthwhile business that may be at the mercy of larger market forces.

          Did he say “SOMETIMES?” (lol) Does he know about LLC- and S-Corporations? Or that every Trump “business” is an affiliate or division Trump Organization LLC?

          I get that you may not understand how that sort of thing works though. Most people do not.

          Correct that “most people” don’t know you made a massive fool of yourself. The LITERATE ones noticed that I said … “as a proprietor or a family business owner pays back the victims of his bankruptcy.” As I helped many do.

          Trump businesses are dozens of divisions or affiliates of Trump Organizations or himself — because a massive 1986 GOP loophole allowed “pass-through” corporations to pay corporate profits as personal income, avoid double taxation..

          So what you’ve defended, by Trump, is like Amazon putting one tiny division into bankruptcy … to avoid paying its supplier and employees, (and fuck shareholders if an affiliate — which Amazon LLC has)

          GM sells stock, based on peoples’ faith in GM. Trump sells shares based on their faith in WHAT?

    3. Richard Branson on Trump’s bankruptcies:

      “Some years ago, Mr Trump invited me to lunch for a one-to-one meeting at his apartment in Manhattan. We had not met before and I accepted. Even before the starters arrived he began telling me about how he had asked a number of people for help after his latest bankruptcy and how five of them were unwilling to help. He told me he was going to spend the rest of his life destroying these five people”

      “There’s Trump’s niece Lisa: In a New York Daily News article, she claimed that Trump and his siblings’ decision to terminate their nephew’s family medical coverage a week after the nephew challenged the will of their father ‘was so shocking, so disappointing and so vindictive.'”

      From a much longer story on Trump’s psychotic compulsion to punish offenders — at Forbes, who first blew the whistle on Trump’s bullshit claim of $10 million in wealth Plus MANY Trump quotes BRAGGING how he DESTROYS others in revenge. From those commies at Forbes.

      What Donald Trump, Richard Branson And Salma Hayek Say About Trump And Getting Revenge

      One sick fuck.

      1. Don’t you usually spam some hackneyed statement about weak minds discussing people? YOu’re discussing people.

        1. Umm. FACTS about people …. FULLY documented .,.. are NOT personal attacks.

          Other than a self-proclaimed Shitlord, would anyone else be confused if i said — about a person — “Donald Trump is President of the United States?” Bastard that I am. 🙂

          1. P.S. This is what a Shitlord (and proud of it) considers “hackneyed” — when posted ONLY in response to an unprovoked personal attack, i.e. aggression by a cyber-bully.

            Great minds discuss ideas.
            Average minds discuss events.
            Small Minds discuss people.

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