If you're Boeing, the federal government is a major financier, the top customer, an intrusive obstacle, and more. Boeing CEO Jim McNerney recently had interesting thoughts to share on the relationship between business and government. Some highlights:

"In the '70s and '80s, businesses practically ignored government. But not anymore. You simply can't succeed today without dealing with government. ...

"Whether it's expanding regulatory costs, trade and tax policies, commercial diplomacy, or any number of other intersections, government decisions can have a major impact on your business. So you can choose: be at the table … or on the menu. It's important enough that I'm telling our emerging leaders that they should be looking for a Washington or global-capital market experience before they hit mid-career."

Sally Blount, dean of Northwestern's Kellog School of Management, which hosted McNerney, wrote:

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