One stereotype of Republicans is that they promise to run government as a business. This is generally presented by the conservatives as a good thing. After all, businesses are expected to make a profit, run smoothly and run in an efficient manner. In contrast, government is generally seen as being run at a loss, run poorly and run inefficiently. Bush and his fellows came into power with a promise to run the government like a business.
They kept this promise.
Of course, they did not give us the expected efficiency and smoothness. Rather, they followed the sort of business model that resulted in the subprime mess.
This model is essential the same as irrational selfishness. The hallmarks of this are as follows.
First, the individual or group is primarily (or even solely) concerned about itself. The folks bringing us the subprime mess and the Bush administration have this in common. Looking at the behavior of both sets of people, it is evident that the general good was not their concern.
Second, the individual or group is focused on getting what he or they value without reflection on whether this is truly what is good. The sophists of ancient Greece had this problem as does the Bush administration and the subprime folks. In the case of the subprime folks, they were far too focused on money. In the case of Bush, he seems to value damaging America. After all, he has created a massive debt, started wars, and allowed Americans to suffer through disasters.
Third, the individual or group is poor at assessing consequences (hence the irrational aspect). Bush doesn’t seem to have a very good grasp of what his actions and decisions will entail. Unless, of course, his goal has been to wreck America. If so, then he has acted in a very effective and rational manner. In the case of the subprime folks, they clearly did not consider what the results would be of their actions.
Fourth, the individual or group resents attempts to limit their actions and take steps to avoid or neutralize such restrictions even when such restrictions are legitimate. The Bush administration’s guiding quote seems to have been “I’ll do what I want and no one can stop me.” They routinely violated or bent the laws of the United States and acted with resentment and retaliation when people attempted to question or correct them. The subprime folks took steps to neutralize or prevent any regulations or oversight that might impede their drive towards destruction.
While some have praised selfishness and the business model based on it, it does not seem to work very well for most of those involved.