NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- For years, we've heard politicians denigrate CEOs as "Fat Cats" who "make money off the backs of working people" -- as if CEOs don't really work. To many politicians, and average Americans, management seems easy. Just bark an order and things get done.
The current administration accepted this paradigm. They employed many famous professors to create visions of how things should work. The rest, they feel, is easy -- just implement; leave the details to others.
But it seems that our politicians are being schooled on the reality of managing complex organizations. According to this week's Quinnipiac poll, only 43% of Americans feel the Obama administration has been competent in running the government. That is down from 73% in an April 2009 Gallup poll who said Obama was a strong and decisive leader. Perceptions and reality have collided.
Government mismanagement is nothing new. Both Republican and Democrat administrations have proven equally incompetent. For example, name a government-controlled organization that can legitimately compete with private sector peers. Last year, Amtrak asked Congress for $1.8 billion in subsidies while SkyWest Airlines (SKYW), America's largest regional carrier and Amtrak's largest competitor, had a gross profit of $1.8 billion.
The U.S. Postal Service lost $16 billion last year while UPS (UPS) and FedEx (FDX) produced gross profits of $40 billion and $28 billion, respectively.
But, what about a traditional government institution? The U.S. Department of Education budget increased 120% from 2009. But, SAT scores in 2009 were 1016; in 2013, they are 1010. Maybe SAT scores are not the right success measure. Then tell us, "What is the right success measure?"
Did they forget to create one, or is the government avoiding accountability for results?