“The government should be run like a great American company. Our hope is that we can achieve successes and efficiencies for our customers, who are the citizens.” —Jared Kushner
Jared Kushner, the brilliant and successful businessman who serves as special adviser to his father-in-law Donald Trump, has been selected to lead the White House Office of American Innovation. This office’s mission is to shake up business as usual in Washington, D.C. It will develop new, innovative strategies for making government work.
News of the WHOAI (described internally as a “SWAT team of strategic consultants”) has been met with derision from the usual corners: Big-state liberals, no-state libertarians, and D.C. freeloaders whose careers depend on government bloat and lethargy. This is proof that Kushner is on to something.
There are three keys to great American companies, and each key is best represented by a different kind of company. The keys are Disruption, Customer Satisfaction, and General Excellence. They serve as inflection points to unlock new paradigms and unleash innovation. In this essay I will present three potential business models for the government—one for each key. I will explain how these keys/companies work, and outline how our government can benefit from each.
Disruption always threatens those who cling to the past. Therefore, our government should disrupt the status quo. This suggests our government should be run like a robotics-technology incubator. According to this model, lawmakers and judges use the latest technologies and strategies to perform their functions well. Their laws and legal decisions are equivalent to the diagrams and schematics that show how robots work—with full transparency and granular specificity, scaled all the way up to the national level.
The White House should operationalize any and all functions that are appropriate to the task of those activities. The supply chain of linked intelligences (which is what robots can do if they put wires into each other’s heads) is our main source of disruption. This means new thoughts are incubated. Think Robocop on steroids, with a can-do attitude only achievable by hard-core programming and real human patriotism. If the robots are fueled by coal, all the better for coal miners. Disruption factors will help our government. Jared Kushner understands this.
2. CUSTOMER SATISFACTION
“The customer is always right.” “Let me super-size your order.” “I like to see my customers smile.” These are the watchwords of customer satisfaction—and citizen satisfaction. If loyalty and brand engagement are the goal, the American government should look to the business that inspires the highest degree of customer satisfaction among all citizens. What business is that? High-quality shoe stores. Therefore, the American government should be run like a high-quality shoe store. The shoe store (our civic institutions) must be accessible, attractive, and aspirational. The shoes, designed to be fashionable (i.e. desirable) and reasonably priced (i.e. affordable) are the services the government provides. Constituents decide for themselves which shoes fit best and ignore the other shoes. These unpopular shoes are discontinued and replaced with new shoes. (This is one of the interesting things about shoe stores.)
American feet will be honored and celebrated.
Another interesting thing about shoe stores is that Foot Locker employees dress like referees. This iconic, metaphorical uniform is dynamically adaptable to D.C. bureaucrats who referee the workings of the state, yelling “touchdown!” or “too partisan, automatic five yard penalty!” as the case may be. Meanwhile, discount codes and promotional offers are circulated to maximize citizen engagement with the great American civic enterprise. (Sean Spicer is uniquely suited for this task.) Taxes are lowered by efficiencies in the supply chain, which means Social Security and Medicare can shift from sandals, to running shoes, to loafers with ease. American feet will be honored and celebrated. Jared Kushner understands this.
3. GENERAL EXCELLENCE
Of the three keys to great American companies, general excellence is the hardest to achieve. But with the right leadership actively using private-enterprise knowledge, even the failed Washington, D.C. system can be brought on board. Next stop: general excellence, which is a key factor. Simply put, if President Trump wants the government to achieve general excellence, he should run the government like a general-excellence factory. A general-excellence factory manufactures general excellence. If the government follows this model, it must guarantee every decision, program, law, and announcement achieves an overall quality of general excellence. This is nonnegotiable. The government (factory) produces nothing but general excellence—even substandard excellence is unacceptable—with an assembly line that is constantly upgraded and never shuts down. In this model, our legislators are the factory workers, who are paid to do their best. The supervisors are President Trump, his advisers and his family members, who sit in the break room and give excellent blowjobs to their powerful Russian investors.
Even substandard excellence is unacceptable.
The product of general excellence is shipped to homes across America, where citizens enjoy their lives and feel good about themselves. The factory is called “The United States of America,” and the world envies our general excellence. This take-no-prisoners approach will ensure that tomorrow is brighter than yesterday, and many factors will be achieved. American feet are still honored and celebrated, but in this model general excellence comes first. Jared Kushner understands this.
In this essay I have tried to outline three possible approaches to running the American government like a great American company. I hope it has been useful to my readers, and I would like to go on a canoe trip with Jared Kushner and explain my ideas to him. I believe him to be a highly intelligent person like myself.