Harvard Business Review online written by Henry Mintzberg
Donald Trump ran his campaign with the promise to manage the U.S. government like a business. In fact, he just announced that his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, will head up a “SWAT team” dedicated to making this happen.
Trump assumes, as do many Americans, that the country’s major problem is too much government. In my view, the United States is not suffering from too much government so much as from too much business all over the government. This president came into office to challenge “the establishment,” only to ensconce the country’s powerful business establishment in his cabinet, at the expense of Washington’s weaker political establishment.
Should government even be run like a business, let alone by businesspeople? No more than business should be run like a government by civil servants. Each in its own place, thank you. Governments experience all kinds of pressures that cannot be imagined in many enterprises, especially the entrepreneurial kind run by Trump.
Consider this: Business has a convenient bottom line, called “profit,” which can readily be measured. What is the bottom line for terrorism: The number of countries on a list, or of immigrants deported, or of walls built? How about the number of attacks that don’t happen? Many activities are in the public sector precisely because their intricate results are difficult to measure.
Running government like a business has been tried again and again, only to fail again and again. In the 1960s, Robert McNamara introduced the Planning-Programming-Budgeting System as a “one-best-way,” businesslike approach to government. The obsessive measuring led to the infamous body counts of the Vietnam War. Later came new public management, a 1980s euphemism for old corporate managing: Isolate activities, put a manager in charge of each one, and hold them responsible for the measurable results. That might work for the state lottery, but how about foreign relations or education, let alone, dare I say, health care? People in government tell me that new public management is still promoted, though now it might better be called “old public management.”
For-profit colleges are winning their battle to dismantle Obama-era restrictions as Education Secretary Betsy DeVos rolls back regulations, grants reprieves to schools at risk of losing their federal funding and stocks her agency with industry insiders.
Moved to gut two major Obama-era regulations reviled by the industry that would have cut off funding to low-performing programs and made it easier for defrauded students to wipe out their loans;
Appointed a former for-profit college official, Julian Schmoke Jr., to lead the team charged with policing fraud in higher education — one of a slew of industry insiders installed in key positions. Schmoke is a former dean at DeVry University, whose parent company agreed last year to pay $100 million to resolve allegations the company misled students about their job and salary prospects;
By Brian Ross Matthew Mosk
One of President Donald Trump’s closest confidants, his personal lawyer Michael Cohen, has now become a focus of the expanding congressional investigation into Russian efforts to influence the 2016 campaign.
Cohen confirmed to ABC News that House and Senate investigators have asked him “to provide information and testimony” about any contacts he had with people connected to the Russian government, but he said he has turned down the invitation.
“I declined the invitation to participate, as the request was poorly phrased, overly broad and not capable of being answered,” Cohen told ABC News in an email Tuesday.