This is a question about our government as a whole, rather than an evaluation of the management skills of a particular Chief Executive (POTUS) who considers himself the ultimate deal maker. The Economist reported Steve Ballmer, former head of a large tech company, has been working on a new project – completing Form 10-K for the United States of America. The project is called USA Facts: Our nation, in numbers.
If you’re not familiar with Form 10-K, it is the global gold standard of corporate disclosure. United States regulators require public companies to provide comprehensive overviews of their businesses and financial condition each year, including audited financial statements. The information is provided on Form 10-K.
USA Facts aggregates publicly available data from federal, state, and local governments. It then groups the data into four operating divisions based on the ‘missions’ described in the U.S. Constitution:
- Establish justice and ensure domestic tranquility
- Provide for the common defense
- Promote the general welfare
- Secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity
After reviewing USA Facts, The Economist wrote:
“Governance is poor. The country is not managed using a coherent taxonomy. So, for example, the House of Representatives, the Senate, and the White House each split the job of running America into roughly 20 operating divisions. But their categories are different, meaning crossed wires and insufficient accountability…”
The findings aren’t much of a surprise. The government does not compare favorably to corporations. It has a profit margin of negative 3 percent. (The S&P 500 average is 8 percent.) It invests more in the future than most companies. Research and development and capital expenditures are 12 percent of revenue. (The S&P 500 average is 8 percent.) Debt is 289 percent of tax revenues, which are a proxy for sales. (The S&P 500 average is 77 percent.)
If you’d like to review the numbers, visit USAFacts.org.
And if you want to find approaches for managing your own finances more effectively than the U.S. Government, please read my book Mindful Money: Simple Practices for Reaching Your Financial Goals and Increasing Your Happiness Dividend.
Weekly Focus – Think About It
“Ignorance and fear are but matters of the mind – and the mind is adaptable.”
–Daniel Kish, President of World Access for the Blind
* These are the general views of Jonathan DeYoe and they should not be construed as investment advice for any individual.
http://www.economist.com/news/business/21721428-new-website-treats-state-if-it-were-company-form-10-k-americas-government (or go to https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/peakcontent/+Peak+Commentary/05-08-17_TheEconomist-A_Form_10-K_for_Americas_Government-Footnote_4.pdf)