David Post: The business of America

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 4, 2012

By David Post
Almost 100 years ago, Republican President Coolidge said, “The business of American is business.” Many think government would be better if run by businessmen … and leave women to run IBM, Pepsi, HP and Facebook.
After announcing his latest idea for amending the Constitution last week in Las Vegas — of course — Republican nominee Mitt Romney met with the imaginary Presidential News Network (PNN):
PNN2012: Mr. Romney, you’ve proposed a number of constitutional amendments. Is your latest proposal just political rhetoric?
Romney: Not at all. I’m a Mormon. We believe that the U.S. Constitution was divinely inspired and that our founding fathers were foreordained by God to establish this great country. Similarly, constitutional amendments are inspired by our heavenly father, and I am merely the messenger.
PNN: How is amending the Constitution considered conservative?
Romney: I’m a strict conservative and don’t want to change a thing other than to go back to the way things were in the good old days. My father did better than his father, and I did better than my father. Just compare our tax returns. We need to make sure that my kids will do better than I’ve done.
PNN: Can we discuss your proposals?
Romney: Of course. The Mormon Church balances its books. Ann and I have wealth managers to balance our books. The U.S. should balance its books. Congress won’t balance the books, so the Constitution should require it.
PNN: Do you think the Constitution should define social values?
Romney: When critical to the fabric of our nation, I do — which happens to be my exact words when I married my lovely wife, Ann. Our marriage is perfect. Our sons are perfect. Our grandchildren are perfect. We are the perfect family. All Americans should be like us with $200 million in the bank and two Cadillacs in the garage of each of our three or four houses. I lost count, but so did John McCain, a great Republican, when he ran for president. The only way to be perfect is for the Constitution to require that marriage be between one man and one woman.
PNN: Didn’t your great-grandfather have multiple wives?
Romney: That was before Mormons changed the rules. That’s a great example of how principles — and that’s what Constitutions are supposed to be — can be changed for the better.
PNN: Yesterday, you announced that the constitutional requirements to be president should be changed.
Romney: Indeed, I did. The Constitution requires that the president be 35 years old and a natural-born citizen of the U.S. Since my good friend, Donald Trump, did not personally witness the birth of President Obama, he questions whether all the requirements were met.
PNN: Wasn’t John McCain, the last Republican candidate, born in Panama?
Romney: Look, his dad was born in the U.S. Obama’s dad was born in Kenya. See the difference?
PNN: So, how should the Constitution be changed?
Romney: It should require presidential candidates to have at least three years of business experience. Then they would understand the needs of small businesses, the job creators in our economy.
PNN: Many presidents didn’t have three years of business experience.
Romney: Like whom?
PNN: Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt.
Romney: Don’t forget that Theodore’s father was a businessman who made a ton of money, maybe more than I did. Franklin was a Democrat, and his failed socialist policies regulating banks and providing a safety net for the elderly and poor caused our current debt crisis.
PNN: Presidents Eisenhower and Reagan are highly regarded Republican heroes and neither had any business experience.
Romney: The business world was not as complex back then.
PNN: Nor did Republican nominees Dole and McCain.
Romney: Bob Dole got lots of business experience as a spokesman for Viagra.
PNN: Presidents Hoover and Bush (II) were both businessmen, presided over the worst financial calamities in U.S. history, and are generally ranked among the worst presidents.
Romney: Both became president after very long periods of economic prosperity. Good times can’t continue forever. They reduced government regulation, cut taxes and promoted economic freedom rather than European socialism. Eventually, history will give them credit for squeezing the fat out of the system and enriching the wealthy so that the system could grow again.
PNN: That’s what you did at Bain, right?
Romney: Exactly, and I want to do that for America.
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David Post is one of the owners of MedExpress Pharmacy and Salisbury Pharmacy and teaches in Catawba’s Ketner School of Business.