Required Practical Experience
Lawmakers Don’t Have a Clue as to 
What Makes a Business Function

Private enterprise is what makes this country work.  The private sector produces goods

and services, employs people, and pays taxes, which allows the government to operate. 

That said, one of the main objectives of government should be to help the private

sector achieve those goals and keep the economic engine running and on track. 

Without the private sector, this nation would come to a halt.

Why, then, is it that we continue to elect career politicians that have no experience in the private sector?  Would you hire someone with no business experience to run your company?  Probably not, yet we continue to elect people that don’t have the vaguest idea of how our system works or how congressional laws and regulations affect the delicate structure of the system that they govern.  With the election of Donald Trump, a businessman, to the presidency, at least business owners now have someone at the top tier who understands what a business goes through in order to survive.  But, he’s just one man. 

The majority of Congress is made up of career politicians with no practical business experience.  The idea of term limits has been discussed for years; specifically a maximum of eight to ten years for congressmen and 12 to 18 years for senators.  Another proposal is that these legislators could run again, but only after a six-year hiatus.  The objective, of course, is to eliminate the career politician.  I would go a step further and suggest that during this six-year government job hiatus the person would be required to work in a non-government-funded job.  In other words, the real business world.  In fact, a six-year work experience in business should be a prerequisite for holding any public office.

Following his retirement from Capitol Hill, career politician and presidential hopeful George McGovern purchased a small hotel and restaurant in Connecticut.  It went bankrupt.  In writing about his experience, he blames the major cause of the inn’s failure on excessive government regulation and the lawmaker’s failure to understand the effects of their actions on the small businessman.  McGovern stated in an article printed in the Wall Street Journal, “I wish 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 United States Senator and a more understanding presidential contender.”  McGovern’s epiphany came a little too late, but it illustrates my point for practical experience.

In the same article, McGovern went on to comment that, “While I never doubted the worthiness of goals such as helping employees, protecting the environment, raising tax dollars for schools, and providing protection from fire hazards, the concept that eludes legislators is whether or not they can make consumers pay the higher prices for the increased operating costs that accompany public regulation and government reporting requirements with reams of red tape.  It is a simple concern that is nonetheless often ignored by legislators.”

McGovern concluded that when these prices were passed on, consumers would often make the decision to cut back or do without.  “Every such decision eventually results in job losses for someone.  And many times these are the people without the skills to help themselves, the people I’ve spent a lifetime trying to help.”

Well, no kidding.  The really sad part of his statement is the fact that this man spent the better part of his life as a United States senator and ran for the office of president of the United States, yet he didn’t have a clue as to what makes this country tick until he became a businessman.  The experience gathered while working for a private concern that’s trying to make a profit can’t be undervalued, and in my opinion should be a requirement for public office.

Marc Dodson