Working for a tech company during the Clinton years, I participated in government affairs, meeting with members of the House, Senate and administration. Everyone I met was highly intelligent, well-educated and well-intentioned. The problem? As with the current administration, none of them had ever worked in the private sector (“No Business Experience Needed,” Review & Outlook, July 13).
Consequently, they didn’t understand the role and value of private markets or basic economics, including supply and demand. To them, if the program failed, the policy was beyond question, so the only reason for failure must be that the budget wasn’t large enough.
Karl F. Buhl
Fort Myers, Fla.
Usually the best political appointees have a mix of some government experience and a lot of private-sector experience. They understand how government works and the effects its actions have on the private sector.
Your editorial reminds me of a stunning admission by George McGovern in his famous article in the Journal (“A Politician’s Dream is a Businessman’s Nightmare,” Manager’s Journal, June 1, 1992). After a lifetime in Congress, the 1972 Democratic presidential candidate earned a small fortune in postretirement speeches and in 1988 purchased an inn in Stratford, Conn. It went bankrupt in 1990 and closed the next year.
Ironically, the liberal icon blamed his business failure on suffocating federal, state and local regulations. Although passed with good intentions—to help employees, protect the environment and so forth—they were bad for business, McGovern acknowledged in his op-ed. “I also wish,” he confessed, “that during the years I was in public office, I had had this firsthand experience about the difficulties business people face every day. That knowledge would have made me a better U.S. senator and a more understanding presidential contender.”
Pacific Grove, Calif.
Copyright ©2022 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8
Appeared in the July 20, 2022, print edition.