What Obama can learn from the drug dealer

You may think the following, regarding strategic advice which the American President can learn from drug dealing organizations, to be disrespectful.  If so, please understand (as I hope you do) that it was not my intent. 

What provoked this was the Ronald Brownstein piece entitled A 2012 Paradox in the current National Journal, and available here http://www.nationaljournal.com/columns/political-connections/obama-s-coalition-suffering-in-recession-20110428?mrefid=mostViewed

In it, Brownstein singles out the groups Obama will need to envigorate to vote for him next year:  blacks, youths, Hispanics.  If Obama had his ‘druthers, in the Brownstein view, the President would list out the obvious domestic problems, and call for more spending (with concurrent deficits) to combat them.  Having lost Congress and the American people on spending large amounts borrowed from future generations, that won’t be possible. 

… many liberal strategists fear that Obama could win this battle and lose the war in 2012. These critics argue that the tactical benefits of embracing greater deficit reduction come at a high cost: By agreeing that Washington must tighten its belt, the president has essentially precluded additional large-scale government efforts to stimulate growth and create jobs. “You are really conceding whatever the growth we have is the growth you are going to run with—and maybe even a little less, because you are going to start cutting spending,” says veteran liberal activist Robert Borosage, codirector of the Campaign for America’s Future.

The President sees higher taxes on the rich as his and the nation;s salvation to yawning budget deficits.

My point is that the NJ piece is written from the point of view of what the President must do to win.  However, the drug dealing community and I have a message for him:

Yo, Mister O.  You are on the wrong track. 

You know we are in business to make as much money as we can.  We need dealers, helpers, lots of people.

Every so often, we re-figure how much of our profits to give the street guys.  Think very carefully about this, man:  If we give them all the profits, nothing is left for us and we may as well quit.  We would never do that.

But if we take every last penny of the gross for ourselves, there won’t be any profits either.  Because no one will work for nothing. 

So, what happens is that as we expand the share that street guys get, more and more of them line up to work for us, and they work harder.   We keep getting more and more, until at a certain point, we start making less.

We work very hard to find that point.

What you are doing, man, is something else.  You are building up a fiery rage about the very best street guys you got.  It’s not fair they make so much, you keep saying.  You’re going to whack your best guys, not because it gets you the most money, just because you think it isnt fair.

Now, you might be able to run around your ‘hood, getting people angry enough to re-elect you based on this unfairness talk.  But even if you do, everyone where you are will get less.  It’s a stupid move.


Somewhere, some day, a Republican nominee, maybe a Republican President, is going to speak in very simple terms to the young and ‘disadvantaged’ of this nation.  In terms and words which they can understand.  This may not be a good way of conveying why excessive tax rates tend to cut, not expand, tax revenues. 

But there has to be a way to convey this and other economic arguments.  I think that even residents of the toughest neighborhoods can grasp this idea.  A concept that even drug dealing organizations live by every day of the year.