Mitt Romney = Governor Romney

Here’s something as rare as John Boehner without an orange complexion: a political blog written today that has nothing to do with the Supreme Court’s ruling on health care (we really don’t know enough until some time has passed for intelligent analysis.)

For better or worse, Mitt Romney’s central theme seems to be emphasizing his time as a businessman in the private sector and using that as his argument for why he is a better job creator than Barack Obama. That is an illegitimate argument (see earlier post on what that means.)

Without getting into the jargon of formal logic. Romney’s argument is exactly the same as if I earned a J.D., practiced law for a few years, and then applied for a job as a Family Practice physician at a local clinic based on the argument that I had earned a doctorate degree.

Regardless of what you think of Mitt Romney, his experience in the private sector is irrelevant. No less an economic conservative than Milton Friedman wrote that business and government are distinctively different institutions with different goals. The goal of a business not only is, but should be, to earn a profit. It is precisely the lack of profit motive that makes government a necessary institution. It allows businesses to operate without worrying about self-regulating, and it is uniquely positioned to create jobs during recessions because it does not have to answer to shareholders who expect dividends. Besides, it is unfair to expect businesses to hire people “out of the goodness of their hearts” during economic downturns.

An honest and legitimate campaign would have Romney campaigning as Governor Romney, especially since a governor is also a government’s chief executive. I think we all know why that hasn’t been the strategy of choice.

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