US President Donald Trump used his first State of the Union Address to call attention to the incredible story of a North Korean defector whose arm and leg had been severed during a desperate attempt to acquire food for his family when he was younger. A crippled Ji Seong-ho later escaped from the prison state that is North Korea in an unthinkable journey. In an inspiring moment, Mr. Ji raised his crutches in triumph as the US President introduced him to the world. Trump’s apparent goal was to use the young man as a “testament to the yearning of every human soul to live in freedom.” Given the unity theme of the Address, it seems the President wanted to use Ji’s story to rally his country around democracy.
The US President is Constitutionally obligated to inform Congress on the State of the Union and meet with both Houses. While there is no specific time when or specific number of times the President has to carry out his Constitutional mandates, nor is there any requirement that the President deliver a speech, the State of the Union Address has evolved to fulfill this Constitutional requirement. Typically taking place on a Tuesday in late January or early February on national television, the State of the Union Address has become less about informing Congress on the actual State of the Union and more about the President laying out his political agenda to the American People.
The World Economic Forum, which is held in Davos, Switzerland, is important to the many Peoples of the world. From poor people to rich people, poor countries to rich countries, small businesses to transinternational corporations, gatherings like Davos matter, because they are where the global elite share their views on how the global economy should work. Davos is an event where the highly influential meet and decide how they are going to “shape global, regional, and industry agendas." Although the platform is far from apolitical, special interest free, and fully transparent, the effort to shape public perception on how the economy should work forces economic leaders to expose their thinking, which helps the Peoples of the world understand the agendas being implemented in their countries and communities.
National leaders from around the globe, along with top economists, powerful businessmen, and billionaires, have gathered at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland to “shape global, regional, and industry agendas." As Donald Trump’s “America First” platform conflicts with the globalization and free trade agenda of the world’s elite, his visit to Davos is largely seen as an opportunity for Trump to sell his vision. Where world leaders frame his views as anti-cooperation and anti-prosperity, the Trump Administration hopes to convince people that a “nation first” focus is better for the Peoples and economies of the world. Above all, Trump needs to assure the titans of international business that his policies will not adversely impact their US business dealings.
Government Dysfunction: A Failure of Political Leadership To Assimilate Into the Business of Government?
Government is not a business in the traditional sense. It is, however, a nonprofit business conglomerate that receives revenue from taxpayers, which it uses to deliver highly diversified services to all citizens who do not directly pay for the varying levels of service they use. This distinction makes government an odd business from the capitalist perspective, but it is nonetheless a business that must be run like a business. Government is a very complicated service provider due to the highly diversified and large profile of services it offers as well as the disconnect between when government collects revenue, when people utilize government services, who utilizes the most government services, and how public officials are hired. This complexity creates a whole host of challenges.
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