Tag Archives: past businessmen presidents

Do businessmen make good Presidents?


Dear Dian,
Since you write about all things money and business-related, one individual who wants to be America’s next commander in chief is a successful billionaire businessman. Does being successful in business automatically translate into the making of a good president?
Trump or Dump

Dear Trump or Dump,
Nope. History has shown that past presidents who were businessmen before being elected to our nation’s highest office don’t necessarily make great presidents.

But before going there, let me say that I, like you, live in the United States of America. Not, the United States of America, Inc.

There’s a huge difference in how one manages a country versus how one manages a business. The goal of the president of a corporation is to make money for that company’s shareholders. Period.

The role of the President of the United States begins with keeping all of us safe as he/she is commander-in-chief of the Army and the Navy. Presidential duties and responsibilities are clearly outlined in our Constitution and   include carrying out legislation, setting foreign policy, and presenting a State of the Union address.

Making money isn’t now, nor has it ever been, one of the roles or goals a U.S. president.

Going back to your question, there have been seven previous men who have been president and were businessmen prior to being elected to our nation’s highest office.

They include: Warren Harding, newspaper publisher; Calvin Coolidge, banker; Herbert Hoover, mining; Harry Truman, haberdasher; Jimmy Carter, farmer; George H.W. Bush, oilman; George W. Bush, oilman, major league baseball team co-owner. That all according to a MarketWatch.com story titled, “Opinion: Sorry, Trump: Past businessmen did poorly as presidents” . Paul Brandus wrote the piece published  September 9, 2015.

Brandus writes: “History suggests that there is no link between success in the business world and success in the White House. In fact—and surprisingly—the opposite appears to be true. Presidents with business backgrounds rank poorly among historians and voters, who have turned several of them out of office for poor performance. In fact, since 1900, the only president who is today considered great—Harry Truman—was a failed businessman. “

Research in that piece, conducted by Siena College Research Institute and the American Political Science Association, concluded, “That in the aggregate, presidents who first worked in the business world before entering politics, tend to rank in the bottom third of all presidents. “

My advice: Be careful not to get caught believing everything you hear about our current crop of presidential candidates.

That means assuming one candidate would be better than any other simply because they are portrayed as a  successful businessman will, as the word “assume” spells out, make an ass out of you and me. (ass u me).

So before deciding anything, research each candidate. Then think for yourself. And vote accordingly.