Op-Ed

What if GOP ran government like an airline?

John Winn Miller
John Winn Miller

Now that a self-proclaimed super businessman is president, Republicans can finally run government like a business. Right?

Don’t bet on it.

When Republicans say “business” it brings to mind Inigo Montoya’s lament from “The Princess Bride:” “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

For most people, running a business means using history, data, best practices, customer feedback and exacting metrics to make hard choices and, as a result, earn a profit.

For Republicans, it seems that ideology trumps all that (pun intended).

So when you hear Republicans talk about running government like a business, imagine they’re really talking about running an airline.

Who needs accurate data to fly a plane? Just because nearly all scientists agree on the dynamics of flight — and climate change —why should Republican Airlines let those unelected bureaucrats tell it what to do?

No, let each state government pick runway lengths and safety regulations based on what’s best for them because, as everybody knows, the laws of physics — and medical science — vary from state to state.

While you’re at it, eliminate job-killing regulations. Ignore fake history about the evils of 19th-century monopolies or about the good old days of acid rain and rivers on fire.

Consumers don’t need protection by no stinkin’ nanny state, either. Let the airline — and insurance companies — decide who gets a ticket without explanation, kick passengers off the plane mid-air and not reveal the full price until after takeoff (or the operation).

The free market and competition will solve everything. Remember how much prices dropped when a new hospital came to town? Or how out-of-state health insurance companies slashed premiums when they were allowed to sell policies in Georgia?

Stop laughing.

How about cutting the oppressive, highest-in-the world 35-percent top tax rate imposed on Republican Airlines and other corporations?

So what if two-thirds of U.S. corporations pay no federal income tax and those that do pay an average effective tax rate (after deductions, depreciation and loopholes) of only 14 percent, according to a 2016 GAO report?

Including state and local income taxes, the effective rate is 18.6 percent, which means the U.S. ranks fourth highest among the world’s 20 leading economies, according to a March report from the Congressional Budget Office.

Even at that rate, are corporations really paying their share? Since 1945 the percentage of federal revenue coming from corporate income taxes has dropped from 30 percent to 10 percent. Guess who gets stuck with the bill.

What about those poor banks that finance Republican Airlines being crushed by the Dodd-Frank Act’s regulations, designed to curb abuses by financial institutions that brought the world economy to its knees in 2008?

To steal a phrase from “Modern Family:” “Somebody call a “waaambulance.”

U.S. banks have enjoyed four years of record profits, according to the most recent FDIC quarterly report. Even community banks — with less than $1 billion in assets — saw a 10.1 percent growth in net income year-over-year.

“Only 4.2 percent of all banks had negative full-year net income. This is the lowest percentage of unprofitable banks for any year since 1995,” the FDIC report said.

They’d be even more profitable if the “unnecessary” Consumer Finance Protection Bureau hadn’t forced financial institutions to pay back $11.8 billion ripped off from 29 million people.

See how this works? There are problems with the Affordable Care Act, federal taxes, environmental protection laws and Dodd-Frank (i.e. relief for community banks) that need to be fixed using actual business principles.

Any captain for Republican Airlines knows that trying to fly based on sound bites or willful ignorance is “inconceivable.”

Unless, of course, your name is Donald Trump or Andy Barr.

John Winn Miller of Lexington is a retired journalist, indie movie producer, internet entrepreneur and former journalist.

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