Trump’s Business of Government

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Trump’s Business of Government

From left to right, Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, and Donald Trump on the 2016 campaign trail. (Photo: Reuters)

The White House has announced that Trump will name his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, to run a new Office of American Innovation – described as a SWAT team of strategic consultants staffed by former business executives, designed to infuse fresh thinking into Washington and help make government work more like a business. 

It’s good to have fresh thinking about how government might function more efficiently. But it’s important to remember that government is not a business. The purpose of government is not to show a profit. It is to achieve the common good.

Precisely because there are many different views about the common good, government leaders must be capable of listening and responding to many different opinions and perspectives.

A free and independent press is essential to the health of a functioning democracy

They must also be public educators – telling the public the truth, explaining the consequences of different options, and conducting public deliberation about what is best for society.

Above all, presidents should enrich and strengthen democracy – building trust in democratic institutions, avoiding conflicts of interests, and promoting tolerance and social cohesion.

So far, Donald Trump has done the opposite. He doesn’t need more business advice. He needs more advice about how to lead a democracy.

Robert Reich

Robert Reich

Robert Reich, one of the nation’s leading experts on work and the economy, is Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. Time Magazine has named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the last century. He has written thirteen books, including his latest best-seller, Aftershock: The Next Economy and America’s Future; The Work of Nations; Locked in the Cabinet; Supercapitalism; and his newest, Beyond Outrage. His syndicated columns, television appearances, and public radio commentaries reach millions of people each week. He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine, and Chairman of the citizen’s group Common Cause. His widely-read blog can be found at www.robertreich.org.

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