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Will Oremus at Slate finally got to the heart of the private equity Romney debacle. In his latest column, he wrote 10 things a PE firm would/should do to prep this country for sale to China.Because really — if you want to know whether or not Romney’s private equity experience would be a boon to the country, you have to think about what a private equity firm would do to the country.
Well, maybe not, this is a country made up of citizens after all, not a company made up of employees. Still, Oremus’ points are funny (and as we know, humour is mostly derived from truth). We’ve listed a few of our favourites below. For the full article, head to Slate.
Without further ado, our favourite points:
- Right-size the operation. Does America really need 50 states? Audit them one by one to find out which ones add value and which are dead weight. We probably can’t jettison West Virginia without opening ourselves to border-security issues, but selling off New Mexico, Mississippi, and Alaska—which take in twice as much in federal spending as they provide in revenue—would make the country stronger going forward. There are surely takers out there who could put the land and the people to good use. Singapore, do I hear $5 billion?
- Streamline the management process. The boys in Washington may be democratically elected, but they can’t pass a budget to save their lives. To cut through this morass in the boardroom, we’ll get rid of the legislative and judicial branches. Checks and balances worked fine for 200 years, but these days a country must be nimble to compete in the global market.
- Raise taxes. Sure, it’s painful and unpopular, but that’s the nature of this business. Those Bush tax cuts were a nice perk in times of plenty, but the United States is leaving too much money on the table. Paul Ryan says it’s “class warfare” to raise taxes on the rich, and he’s right—that’s why we should go beyond Obama’s proposal and repeal the middle-class portion of the cuts, too. While we’re at it, the charitable deduction for income taxes is good politics but terrible management. And why don’t churches pay property tax? Time for the IRS to pass the collection plate.
- Spiff up the infrastructure. Fully rebuilding America’s outdated infrastructure would be prohibitively expensive for our purposes, but a few cosmetic fixes on the cheap could work wonders. That flashy high-speed rail plan that recently petered out? Get it going again. China loves trains. We’ll also need to spruce up those decrepit airports. We’re trying to woo a foreign buyer here, and anybody who deplanes at JFK is likely to take one look at that dump and re-plane posthaste.