Tuesday, August 3, 2010

What has this country come to? I mean, really?

Creating and building your own private business is good experience for lowering the horrendous unemployment rate in Connecticut, right?

That's what candidates who have started their own businesses say. But it's not true.

One caveat that few seem to have checked, is what businesses are the candidates referring to? What does Ned Lamont do? What did Linda McMahon do? She is married to Vince McMahon, the steroid tycoon who converted regional "wresting" into a national company.

Her campaign contends that she created "500 jobs" in Connecticut. Doing what? Writing scripts? Wrestling as independent contractors? Five hundred jobs, whatever they are, does not seem to have revived Connecticut.

McMahon et al, who are running on their supposed business acumen, do not understand one simple matter. Operating a state is not like being the executive of a company.

For openers, entrepreneurs seek to fill a consumer niche. Turns out a lot of adolescent types wanted to watch bulked up men gymnastically throw, hit, and jump on each other. That's why the WWE is successful.

A show about, oh, rebinding old books,  or rock collecting, would not be a ratings smash.

Neither would feeding  and sheltering the poor, providing them with medical care, or  negotiating budgets. That is why government exists -- because it is the agency of last resort. Government does not need to make a profit. It gets its money from taxes.

Solving these kinds of problems is extremely difficult and requires a politician (from the Latin word for "government").  Here are some good politicians: Thomas Jefferson, Lyndon Johnson, FDR, and Winston Churchill.

Ronald Reagan and cronies made "politician" and "politics" into dirty words. This was part of the whole "starve the beast" decade of wealth distribution to the wealthiest, and the devil take the hindmost.  If you're poor or unemployed, in this laissez-faire system, it is because you are inferior, unmotivated, and a malingerer. Or your ancestors were slaves kidnapped from Africa, and we all know, or we thought we did, that some "races" are superior to others.

At any rate, being able to sell ice cream in the desert is not the same as being able to sell a budget in Hartford. Or to negotiate. Or to convince people that paying taxes is morally superior to letting your neighbor starve, or sicken and die, in country full of food and doctors.

Ability to turn a profit does not make one a good governor or senator. Of course, it is possible to do both.

What does Ned Lamont do? He inherited a fortune, had a go at Cablevision and is founder and president of Lamont Digital Systems, which apparently wires up colleges with high-tech communications gizmos. He supposedly makes at least $500,000 a year.

What does Linda McMahon do?

 Who cares?

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