Commercial Record

Require politicians to first work in private sector

By Mike Wilcox
Publisher
Here’s a novel suggestion: require persons running for Congressional seats to spend a few years in the private sector.
This idea was presented to me a few weeks ago, and the more I thought about it the more it makes sense.
Too many of our elected officials are lifetime politicians. They spend their entire lives governing in the bubble known as Washington, D.C. Those in leadership positions at this point have held political office for 30 or 40 years.
They have no clue what it is like to live and work in a rural community. They have no idea what it is like to have to balance a budget or prepare a homecooked meal or work 60 hours a week.
If you are a politician in Washington, D.C. your life is much different. You have a staff of 10 to 20 people completely paid for by taxpayers who work on your behalf.
I was a staffer at one point and can tell you we did most if not all the preparation for the lawmaker. He spent all his energy on public appearances or making speeches, that of course were prepared by us.
We did everything. We ran to get lunches, shopped for birthday gifts for wife and kids, and wrote countless letters congratulating constituents.
I often wonder how such lawmakers or any of the Washington elite could function in one of the hometowns they represent. Could they toil in anonymity in the factory that produced car parts? Could they handle their own bank account or health insurance? Heck, many could not even drive their own car.
My guess is they might not fare very well. But we as citizens have put them in positions where we expect them to handle trillions of dollars as well as tens of thousands of employees. One can easily see why many of us disagree with the excessive spending and few controls the Washington elite initiate.
If these same leaders were required to spend time learning the ins and outs of the private sector, they would be much better prepared for handling the country’s budget, employees and myriad of departments and issues. Because in the private sector, we do not have the ability to print money, nor can we exist very long if our checkbook is in a deficit.
In the private sector, you must work hard, have a solid, flexible business plan and hope and pray that you will succeed before going bankrupt. This training would be invaluable at the federal level where a balanced budget hasn’t happened since the early 1990s, and bankruptcy isn’t an issue because, hey, we can always print more money, many of our uneducated politicians seem to think.
Lifetime politicians lead to excessive government waste and corruption. We can’t expect them to vote for term limits — although to this writer that would be the sensible solution, so the next best thing would be a healthy dose of private sector training.

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