Barack Obama’s cabinet is highly qualified on almost every score. It’s the first cabinet to feature someone who has already received a Nobel prize in the field (Teddy Roosevelt as head of his own cabinet excepted). Obama pulled highly qualified people from a lot of important positions, from both major parties, and from across the nation.
Conservatives, religiously believing Obama’s administration cannot be allowed to succeed, erupted in bluster this past week when a chart mysteriously cited to an unfound (by me) “J. P. Morgan study” claimed Obama’s cabinet has less that 10% who have private sector experience. [See updates at bottom of post.]
“No business people!” the bloggers splutter. “However can the government function?”
Gullibles rarely ask good questions, so we don’t need to bother with an answer to the question, if it’s a stupid question. And in order to determine whether it’s a stupid question, we ought to ask whether the chart has any resemblance to reality.
According to the White House website:
The Cabinet includes the Vice President and the heads of 15 executive departments — the Secretaries of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs, as well as the Attorney General.
Six others have “cabinet-rank” status: White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, OMB Director Peter Orzag, U.S. Trade Representative Ronald Kirk, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, and Council of Economic Advisors Chair Christina Romer.
Vice President, plus 15 executive department heads, plus six others: 22 people.
If only 10% had private sector experience, that would be 2.2 of them. Each of the 22 people comprises about 4.5% of the cabinet. Two of them with private experience would be 9% of the cabinet. Three with private experience would reveal the chart to be in error. Would it be possible to create a cabinet of 22 people and have only two of them with private experience?
The bullshit detectors in the bloggers’ minds should have been clanging like crazy when they saw that chart.
No one has cited any methodology for the chart, so I figure it was created on a napkin by interns for the American Enterprise Institute at lunch, and it took off before anyone could check the claims made for accuracy. I’m a bit reluctant to blame it on J. P. Morgan, but maybe AEI can provide the interpleader to pin the blame on that private sector organization — which would be one more demonstration that private sector experience may not be all that AEI tries to crack it up to be. Before counting, I guessed that Obama’s cabinet has more like 50% with private sector experience; it turns out to be more like 80%. So the question now becomes, how and why did the chart originator discount real private-sector experience?
The “J. P. Morgan” chart from AEI is a hoax. Here’s the cabinet, listed in succession order, with their private sector experience; members were listed from the White House website; biographical data were taken from Wikipedia, supplemented by official departmental biographies:
- Vice President Joe Biden – Private experience: Yes. 4.5% of the cabinet. Biden’s father worked in the private sector his entire life — unsuccessfully for a critical period. Biden attended a private university’s law school (Syracuse), and operated a successful-because-of-property-management law practice for three years before winning election to the U.S. Senate. (I regard a campaign as a private business, too — and Biden’s first campaign was masterful entrepreneurship.)
- Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton – Private experience: Yes, significant. 9% of the cabinet. Extremely successful private practice lawyer in Arkansas for the Rose Law Firm, one of the “Top 100 Lawyers” in a classically dog-eat-dog business.
- Secretary of Treasury Tim Geithner – Private experience: Yes, significant. 13.6% of the cabinet (The chart’s error is established in the first three people checked — surely no one bothered to make a serious count of the cabinet in compiling the chart.) Geithner traveled with world with his Ford Foundation-employed father. He graduated from private universities, with an A.B. from Dartmouth and an M.A. in economics from Johns Hopkins. Starting his career, he worked three years in the private sector with Kissinger Associates. After significant positions at Treasury and State Departments, he again ventured into the private sector with the Council on Foreign Relations; from there he moved to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York — in what is at worst a semi-public organization. Running a Federal Reserve Branch is among the most intensive jobs one can have in private sector economics and management. If an analyst at a bank named after J. P. Morgan didn’t understand that, one wonders just what the person does understand.
- Secretary of Defense Robert Gates – Private sector experience: Yes, at high levels. 18% of the cabinet. Bob Gates spent a career with the Central Intelligence Agency, finally as Director of Central Intelligence, an executive level position with no equal in private enterprise. He retired in 1993, and then worked in a variety of university positions, and joined several different corporate boards; in 1999 he was appointed interim Dean of the George W. Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M, and was appointed President of Texas A&M in 2002, where he served until his appointment as Secretary of Defense in 2006.
- Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr – Private sector experience: Yes, significant. 23% of the cabinet, total. After a sterling career in the Justice Department, as a Ronald Reagan appointment to be a federal judge, as a U.S. Attorney, and again at the Justice Department, Holder spent eight years representing high profile private clients at Covington & Burling in Washington, D.C. His clients included the National Football League, the giant pharmaceutical company Merck, and Chiquita Brands, a U.S. company with extensive international business.
- Secretary of Interior Kenneth L. Salazar – Private sector experience: Yes. 27% of Obama cabinet. Besides a distinguished career in government, as advisor and Cabinet Member with Colorado Gov. Roy Romer, Salazar was a successful private-practice attorney from 1981 to 1985, and then again from 1994 to 1998 when he won election as Colorado’s Attorney General. As Senator, Salazar maintained a good voting record for a Republican business-supporting senator; Salazar is a Democrat. Salazar’s family is in ranching, and he is usually listed as a “rancher from Colorado,” with life experience in the ranching business at least equal to that of former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Conner.
- Secretary of Agriculture Thomas J. Vilsack – Private sector experience: Yes, significant. 32% of Obama cabinet. Vilsack spent 23 years in private practice as an attorney, 1975 to 1998, while holding not-full-time elective offices such as mayor and state representative. He joined government as Governor of Iowa in 1998, and except for two years, has been in employed in government since then.
- Secretary of Commerce Gary F. Locke – Private sector experience: Yes, significant. 36% of Obama cabinet. As near as I can determine, Locke was in private law practice from 1975 through his election as Executive in King County in 1993 (is that a full-time position?). He was elected Governor of Washington in 1996. After leaving office in 2005, he again worked in private practice with Davis Wright Tremaine, LLP, until 2009. 22 years in private practice, three years as Executive of King County, eight years as Governor of Washington.
- Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis – Private sector experience: Yes, but I consider it insignificant. 36% of Obama cabinet with private sector experience, 4.5% without. Solis’s father was a Teamster and union organizer who contracted lead poisoning on the job; her mother was an assembly line worker for Mattel Toys. She overachieved in high school and ignored her counselor’s advice to avoid college, and earned degrees from Cal Poly-Pomona and USC. She held a variety of posts in federal government before returning to California to work for education and win election to the California House and California Senate, and then to Congress.
- Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius – Private sector experience: Yes, significant. 41% of Obama cabinet with private sector experience, 4.5% without. Former Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius worked in the private sector for 12 years, at least nine years as director and lobbyist for the Kansas Association for Justice (then Kansas Trial Lawyers Association). One might understand why the American Enterprise Institute would not count as “business experience” a career built on reining in insurance companies, as Sebelius did as a lobbyist and then elected Kansas Insurance Commissioner.
- Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun L.S. Donovan – Private sector experience: Yes, only 4 years, but significant because it bugs AEI analysts so much. 45% of cabinet with private sector experience, 4.5% without. With multiple degrees from Harvard University in architecture and public administration, Donovan was Deputy Assistant Secretary of HUD for Multifamily Housing during the Clinton Administration; and he was Commissioner of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD). In the private sector, he worked for the Community Preservation Corporation, a non-profit in New York City, and he worked for a while finding sources to lend to people to buy “affordable housing” in the city, a task perhaps equal to wringing blood from a block of granite.
- Secretary of Transportation Raymond L. LaHood – Private sector experience: No (not significant); school teacher at Holy Family School in Peoria, Illinois. [As a teacher, I’m not sure that teaching should count as government experience, but it’s not really private sector stuff, either. Education isn’t as wasteful as for-profit groups.] 45% of cabinet with private sector experience, 9% without. Ironically, it is the Republican former Representative who pulls down the private sector experience percentage in the Obama cabinet.
- Secretary of Energy Steven Chu – Private sector experience: Yes, extremely significant. 50% of cabinet with private sector experience, 9% without. Chu worked at Bell Labs, where he and his several co-workers carried out his Nobel Prize-winning laser cooling work, from 1978 to 1987. Having won a Nobel for private sector work, I think we can count his private sector experience as important. Chu also headed the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, which is seeded by a government contract to a university but must operate as a very highly-regulated business. (I’ll wager Chu is counted as “no private sector experience,” which demonstrates the poverty of methodology of the so-called “J. P. Morgan” study AEI claims.)
- Secretary of Education Arne Duncan – Private sector experience: Yes, significant. 55% of cabinet with private sector experience, 9% without. Duncan earned Academic All-American honors in basketball at Harvard. His private sector is among the more unusual of any cabinet member’s, and more competitive. Duncan played professional basketball: “From 1987 to 1991, Duncan played professional basketball in Australia with the Eastside Spectres of the [Australian] National Basketball League, and while there, worked with children who were wards of the state. He also played with the Rhode Island Gulls and tried out for the New Jersey Jammers.” Since leaving basketball he’s worked in education, about four years in a private company aiming to improve education.
- Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki – Private sector experience: Yes, but to give AEI and “Morgan” a chance, we won’t count it. 55% of cabinet with private sector experience, 13.6% without. Shinseki is a retired, four-star general in the army, a former Chief of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. While Shinseki served on the boards of a half-dozen corporations, all of that service was in the six years between his official retirement and his appointment as Secretary of Veterans Affairs.
- Secretary of Homeland Security Janet A. Napolitano – Private sector experience: Yes, significant. 59% of cabinet with private sector experience, 13.6% without. After a brilliant turn in law school at the University of Virginia, and a clerking appointment with a federal judge, Napolitano joined the distinguished Phoenix firm Lewis & Roca, where she practiced privately for nine years before Bill Clinton appointed her U.S. Attorney for Arizona. AEI probably doesn’t want to count her private sector experience because, among other irritations to them, she was the attorney-advisor to Prof. Anita Hill during her questioning by the Senate Judiciary Committee on the issue of Clarence Thomas’s nomination to be Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
- White House Chief of Staff Rahm I. Emanuel – Private sector experience: Yes, significant. 64% of cabinet with private sector experience, 13.6% without. Emanuel’s major private sector experience is short, but spectacular. “After serving as an advisor to Bill Clinton, in 1998 Emanuel resigned from his position in the Clinton administration and became an investment banker at Wasserstein Perella (now Dresdner Kleinwort), where he worked until 2002. In 1999, he became a managing director at the firm’s Chicago office. Emanuel made $16.2 million in his two-and-a-half-year stint as a banker, according to Congressional disclosures. At Wasserstein Perella, he worked on eight deals, including the acquisition by Commonwealth Edison of Peco Energy and the purchase by GTCR Golder Rauner of the SecurityLink home security unit from SBC Communications.” J. P. Morgan and AEI wish that Emanuel had not had such smashing success is such a short time.
- Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson – Private sector experience: No, significant. 64% of cabinet with private sector experience, 18% without. Despite a brilliant career cleaning up environmental messes, with EPA and the New Jersey State government, Jackson has negligible private sector experience. She was a brilliant student, valedictorian in high school and honors graduate in chemical engineering.
- Office of Management & Budget Director Peter R. Orszag – Private sector experience: Yes, short but significant. 68% of cabinet with private sector experience, 18% without. Orszag is the youngest member of the cabinet, but he had a brilliant academic career (Princeton, London School for Economics) and a series of tough assignments in the Clinton Administration. During the Bush years he founded an economic consulting firm, and sold it, and worked with McKinsey and Company, mostly on health care financing (he’s a member of the National Institute of Medicine in the National Academies of Science).
- U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Ronald Kirk – Private sector experience: Yes, long and significant. 73% of cabinet with private sector experience, 18% without. Son of a postal worker, Ron Kirk used academic achievement to get through law school. He practiced privately for 13 years, interspersed with a bit of political work, before being appointed Texas Secretary of State in 1994 — the office that most businesses have most of their state regulatory action with. About a year later he ran for and won election as Mayor of Dallas, considered a major business post in Texas. Re-elected by a huge margin in 1999, he resigned to run for the U.S. Senate in 2002. After losing (to John Cornyn), Price took positions with Dallas and then Houston law firms representing big businesses, especially in government arenas.
- U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice – Private sector experience: Yes. 77% of cabinet with private sector experience, 18% without. Rice was a consultant with McKinsey and Co., sort of the ne plus ultra of private sectorness, for a while before beginning her climb to U.N Ambassador.
- Council of Economic Advisors Chair Christina Romer – Private sector experience: Yes, but academic. We won’t count it to make AEI out to be less of a sucker. 77% of cabinet with private sector experience, 23% without significant private sector experience. Dr. Romer’s chief appointments have been academic, and at a public university, though her education was entirely private. A specialist in the Great Depression and economic data gathering, she’s highly considered by her colleagues, and is a past-president of the American Economic Association.
All totaled, Obama’s cabinet is one of the certifiably most brainy, most successful and most decorated of any president at any time. His cabinet brings extensive and extremely successful private sector experience coupled with outstanding and considerable successful experience in government and elective politics.
AEI’s claim that the cabinet lacks private sector experience is astoundingly in error, with 77% of the 22 members showing private sector experience — according to the bizarre chart, putting Obama’s cabinet in the premiere levels of private sector experience. The chart looks more and more like a hoax that AEI fell sucker to — and so did others (von Mises Institute, Wall Street Blips, League of Ordinary Gentlemen, Volokh Conspiracy, Econlib).
Others bitten by Barnum’s Law:
- Coyote Blog — stepped right into the punch: “Ever get that feeling like the Obama White House doesn’t have a clue as to what it takes to actually run a business, make investments, hire people, sell a product, etc?”
- Say Anthing
- [Update — when did this guy erupt?] The Daily Mush, mushing the name of the author here, among nearly almost everything else.
Important update: Thanks to the comment of Jake, below, I found this article in Forbes, by J. P. Morgan Michael Cembalest, chief investment officer for J. P. Morgan. In notes to the article Cembalest reports on his methodology:
A variety of sources were consulted for this analysis, including the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia. In the rankings, I did not include prior private-sector experience for the following positions: Postmaster General; Navy; War; Health, Education & Welfare; Veterans Affairs; and Homeland Security. In the rankings, private-sector experience at a law firm counts for a 33% score, which I think is very generous. My wife strongly suggested raising this to 50%, but I refused.
Cembalest doesn’t reveal much. Does he include all cabinet-level posts outside the few he excluded? Why did he exclude Navy and War, but not Defense? Why would he exclude Homeland Security, with such obvious and extensive hits on private enterprise (think airlines and rail and ships)? If no Homeland Security, why not exclude Transportation, too?
I’m particularly perturbed by his exclusion of lawyers. If lawyers are excluded, why not investment bankers? Lawyers are more directly engages in day-to-day competitive enterprise — and certainly most lawyers have more experience in hiring, firing, and as a commenter notes, “product placement” and advertising, than investment bankers.
In the end, Cembalest doesn’t provide enough details of his methdology, but we can see it’s a quick-and-very-dirty count, not much different from a SWAG. I’m dying to see how Cembalest dealt with Energy Secretary Chu’s winning a Nobel from his work at Bell Labs, a bastion and symbol of private enterprise power and strength — or rather, how I suspect it was discounted in Cembalest’s counting. And I wonder how his method dealt with the academic careers of George P. Shultz and Henry Kissinger, and the law career of James P. Baker III. [end of update]
Update #2, March 16, 2010: I failed to post this last fall, for which I owe an apology to you, Dear Reader, and to Michael Cembalest.
About a week after I posted this I got a late afternoon call from Michael Cembalest. It was a courtesy call. He said he was striking the chart and the post from his website and recalling the newsletter. We had a pleasant discussion, he explaining that it was originally, as he had said in Forbes, a Thanksgiving dinner table conversation. He wrote about it on a slow investment week, meant to be a humorous barb to thought. The experience and outlook of cabinet secretaries is indeed a good topic of conversation (how different would history have been had Herbert Hoover had anyone other than the filthy rich Andrew Mellon as his Secretary of Treasury, someone who hurt with the Depression and might not have had the personal wealth to survive any downturn no matter how long). Mr. Cembalest explained that he had intended to count only those secretaries with a dog in the jobs fight — so Sec. of State Clinton wouldn’t count, for example — but he agreed that any methodology should be more clear than he indicated, and not so dodgy as it had become in internet discussions.
At that point, he felt, any serious point was irretrievable. So he took the post down.
I’ve left this one up because I think it had spread too far by that time to call it back. See the stories of Mencken’s hoax about putting a bathtub in the White House, and you may understand my reasoning.
Astounding update, July 23, 2010: Neil Boortz spread the hoax on his blog this morning. There is no end to a hoax, once, it’s out of the bag.
Help the truth catch up to the hoax:
Got a few hits today, and on first blush it looked like it was from a blog post on this issue in September, 2107. Checking deeper, I can’t find a date on the post, and the blog features today’s date.
Still, interesting that anyone is still checking it out.
Can you tell what date this site posted it’s piece? .
This should serve as a reminder that we need to date the stuff we put out on the internet, for safety’s sake.
well genious its 2014 and how well has obamas cabinet worked out for you. I can see how much of his cabinet his cabinet had private sector experience” I hope the koolaide of obotism has worn off and you appologie for your drivel.
this man had it right:
Barack Obama’s cabinet is highly qualified on almost every score. It’s the first cabinet to feature someone who has already received a Nobel prize in the field (Teddy Roosevelt as head of his own cabinet excepted). Obama pulled highly qualified people from a lot of important positions, from both major parties, and from across the nation.
You actually believe that drivel? That crowd could not sell noodles to a Chinaman (and evidently t-bills either).
You are hallucinating. We have never seen a bigger pack of incompetents in the WH since, well, since the last Democrat administration.
You liberals, you live in a complete dream world. What loony, narcissistic children you are out there patting yourselves on the back and giving each others accolades all the time. What a bizarre inverted little bubble you live in: Up is down, black is white, competence is incompetence, incompetence is competence. Are there even 10% of of core Democrats that have run their own business successfully for say 20 years? Carried a payroll over of over 500? Actually done something productive for the world at large? Of those that have, you can be assured that the vast majority of their successes are root in government payola. You call competent GOP functionaries incompetent, and you rave about Democrat who are just clown. Hillary? Holder? They are national embarrassments. Take idiots like these off of the government tit, take form them all the monies that they have hustled out of the tax payers and they would be begging in the street in 2 years. You liberals have so long dodged any real accountability in the real world for so long that you have lost touch with reality.
What are your core groups: Assorted welfare clients (bums really), violent,degraded and ignorant inner cities sub-cultures, (corrupt) labor unions, the Hollywood bunch and assorted other media decadents, The Madison Avenue crowd, the Wall Street Crowd, bizarre techno-chattering and self-absorbed youth, illegal aliens, municipal, state and Federal government employees, (corrupt) insiders in financial institutions, lawyers, non profits on the government dole, trust fund brats, incompetent and treasonous teachers and professors, all sort of other sundry crooks? All directly or indirectly tied to government and the Democrat Party’s bilking of the tax payer. What a pack of parasites and vipers!
I do not think that that is what people mean by “private sector experience”, there “millard”.
There is not one reasonable and honorable group in the whole lot. Smarmy little elitist insiders like R. Rubin who opportunistically who work in places like Goldman Sachs are scarcely expert in anything but using their political connections to rip of the taxpayer in order to advance their own “careers”. Creatures such as this contribute little and destroy much. This applies to about 99% of all Democrats, in all places and at all times.
Obama’s pathetic cabinet is no exception. Neither are you.
The sooner they go the sooner we recover, but this time around they may have finally cooked the goose that lays the golden eggs. We may never return to the nation we once were even 4 years ago.
You can thank the democrats for that. No doubt they (and you) are quite proud of it.
It is certain that they (and you) will not ever take responsibility for what they have done to this once great country.
Jeeze-louise. This is still making the air blow out of the hair of the right wing? At The Daily Mush (authored, we should assume using the author’s logic, by a Mr. Mush.)
You mean as opposed to the 8 years of Bush that we had that caused the economy to crash in the first place? You mean as opposed to the Republican policies that would turn the recession into a depression?
And you’d rather people dying in the streets or impoverished because of a lack of health care?
Because you and your fellow conservatives sure love to kvetch about “Obamacare” Henry but no one on your side has proposed any alternative fix. You all just want to maintain the status quo..the status quo that was killing 50,000 people a year and causing half of all bankruptcies.
So it is time your side grows up and either comes up with an alternate or simply shuts up, sits down and lets us adults deal with the problems that your party created.
Do not complain unless you have a solution to the problem. Or to be more blunt…
Put up or shut up.
The Bush catastrophe will take about 20 years to pay off, under the schedule imposed by the Republicans in Congress. Thank God for Obama — the Republicans urged 40 years of disaster, and still hope to win in November to impose it.
Carter appointed Paul Volcker to chair the Federal Reserve. Volcker’s iron grip on monetary policy was used to eliminate inflation — hurting Carter, but providing us with a foundation for growth. Unfortunately, Reagan’s profligate spend-without-taxing-to-pay policies put us in a hole. Clinton had just about dug us out when Bush took over and turned the economy into a ditch.
I’m sure you’d prefer the no-growth, no government spending policies of Andrew Mellon. God took Mellon home, fortunately for the economy.
Such a well qualified Cabinet we have in Wash. DC. In three years they have not been able to turn the country around for the better. And these educated Nobel super smart people gave us Health Care that is going to hit the fan in 2014…. do you want to go into more of this????????? Reagan cleaned the Carter mess in less time. I must add, that Republicans today are not Reaganites…. so we have bad choices today from either party.
Business is private sector. Fine. Same thing.
No, you’re confusing them with bankers and Wall Street mavens in the upper 1%. You need to stay up on the news, you know?
I guess the slide should be titled “Business Experience” and not private sector experience. Just go back and re-read your analysis and most of the private sector experience you attribute to the cabinet members is either lawyer, lobbyist, or other positions that really provide NO value to anyone. Basically a bunch of worthless leaches living on the hard work of others.
The climate change reality community have noted that no conservative mole stays whacked.
Oh I forgot one thing other thing, Joe.
You can bother to remember how absolutely obstructionist the Republican party is being on doing anything to fix the problems in this country.
The Republican party is putting their power ahead of the best interests of the country. They’re willing to let the unemployment rate remain what it is as long as it puts them in full control of Congress and the White House next year.
In other words, Joe, the Republican party would rather you go bankrupt then help you.
Let me know when you want to acknowledge that a very large percentage of that happened under Bush’s watch there, bucko.
Then you can explain this one to me. Republicans contend that corporations here don’t want to hire because of high taxes. And yet Bank of America, which pays absolutely nothing in federal income taxes, is preparing to fire 30,000 people.
Would you like to explain that disconnect?
The problem, Joe, is that the “trillions in spending” was not done to promote jobs — it was done on Bush’s watch, to bail out banks, to muddle up two wars, and to transfer wealth from the middle class and poor to the wealthy under the guise of “tax cuts” that gut jobs from America.
On Obama’s watch he’s saved about a half-million jobs per month — that’s what the job losses were when Obama took over. In 34 months, then, Obama’s stimulus has saved 17 million jobs, and added as many as Bush did in 8 years. Sure, the unemployment rate is too high. That’s the result of the Bush wreck. Proposing to do more of what wrecked the economy won’t help.
Disaster recovery is always more difficult.
But then, those who think private sector employment only counts if it’s flipping burgers or stealing oil wouldn’t be willing to read the calendar either, to get the facts straight. Our economy isn’t doing what it could, or should. The fault most likely does not lie with the business experience of the Obama Cabinet. It was the Bush Cabinet who thought we could let the housing bubble go, forget about safety and environment regulation in the Gulf of Mexico, and spend a trillion dollars in Iraq and no one would notice.
Heck, Hlavac couldn’t even get the author’s name right, with it staring him in the face.
The smack down that Jim Hlavac performed on November 27, 2009 at 1:40 am was a true piece of (non-government sponsored) art. Funny how this chain started almost 2 years ago….I honestly can’t believe how miserable the performance of Obama and his “experienced” advisors has been. Un-employment closed to 10%, under employment and those who gave up over 20% Black under/unemployment over 25%, 30 million on food stamps…this after TRILLIONS of spending. A shiny brand new war…it’s called empirical evidence: He sucks. Get him out while we still have a country…and it’s not because he is BLACK!!!! He just SUCKS!!!
[…] you followed at all the teapot tempest over the false claims that President Obama’s cabinet lacked business experience (also here and here), this headline must have made you […]
Yeah, ranching ain’t no private enterprise, Tom, you’re right. Food all comes from the guv’mint.
But then, you probably think Andrew Mellon was a small businessman, too.
Got a real complaint? Read from the bottom if you don’t like the top. Suggest a realistic standard for “what is ‘private sector'” and figure out a way to do it so that Dick Cheney’s 100% of his life until he left the cabinet the first time counts as “private sector . . .”
You’re on a fool’s quest. Obama’s cabinet is as well qualified as any other — better than most. No other cabinet has ever featured a businessman who won a Nobel.
Get over it, get on to serious issues.
You’ve got to be kidding. I read up to about “45%” and all I could find was lawyers, lobbyists, governors, and government bureaucrats. NONE of those “first 45%” ever contributed to a “value added” activity. These guys were all Overhead like they would say in the Business Community. Not a single Business Owner, not an Employer, not a Manufacturer, not a person who had to make a profit (not counting blood-sucking lawyers of course). Nothing of any value here whatsoever.
The 8% now looks high to me. (and I’m not going to waste my time with the remaining half of your nonsense.
looks like boortz took it down, but, incredible as it seems, the gops are still shoveling this pile of horse manure!
i just got it in a push poll today:
Be sure to check out PolitiFacts’s analysis of Mr. Cembalest’s claim — note their interview with him, which is much the same as mine:
[…] premise is false, of course — it’s based on that Republican smear meme that Obama and his cabinet lack experience in the private sector… if anyone looks at the biographies of the cabinet. Obama also comes from the private sector, […]
There are plenty of people out there who think that all will be hunky-dory as long as government “guides” business and picks the firms that will be winners of government favors and those who will not be such. In other words, who are the politically-connected ones and who are not? That is not free enterprise. That is not capitalism.
There are plenty of people who think all will be hunky-dory as long as businesses are allowed to do as they damn well please and the government is not allowed to step in and stop them from running roughshod.
And I seem to recall that was tried as an experiment before. Back when the “dog” part of the term “hot dog” was literal. Not to mention the odd human arm, food, head, torso, as being part of..well…our food. You know..back when mining companies could blow the tops off mountains, shove them down into river valleys and well if the people using that water for their drinking water got sick…well sucks to be them.
As for government picking the winners…you mean like when the government gave a multibillion dollar contract to a company called “Custer Battles” just because that company’s owners were huge contributors to George W Bush? Yeah…you might want to look up some of the things that company accomplished. Like swiping all the airport baggage carts and vehicles at the Baghdad International airport, repainting them and then selling them back to the Iraqi government….which, by the by, was already the legitimate owner of said baggage carts and vehicles.
Then of course there’s Halliburton, Enron, and Blackwater and all the shenanigans they got into thanks to the right wing experiment of not keeping an eye on them to see that they weren’t screwing over the people.
But then of course the right wing isn’t interested in a “free market” or “capitalism.” What they want is economic anarchy and corporate piracy.
But speaking of Halliburton, there’s its subsidary KBR which had a curious reaction when one of its young female employees, a US citizen working for them in Iraq, complained to her boss that several of her coworkers gangraped her.
KBR’s security staff threw her in a cargo container and locked her in. A guard who still had his morality gave her a cell phone and with it she contacted her father who contacted his Representative (a Republican who still had his morality) who contacted the State Department…which had to send in an armed security detachment to rescue her.
And what was Bush’s response to that little episode of moral depravity? to continue giving our tax money to Halliburton and KBR.
Yes..the idea of the government not regulating industry sure has worked such wonders.
No difference I know of.
What is the difference between “Working in the private sector” and “Running/operating a business”?
Yes, it was good to get Dick Cheney out of the role of directing contracts to his few selected firms, I agree.
Obama’s cabinet offers more business diversity, I think, including people who had been competitors against each other.
To the degree it’s not business, it’s tougher than business. I’ll take someone who raises funds for a successful charity successfully over a successful salesman any day.
Apart from the fact that there is no product to offer to the people who pay, it’s exactly like any other business in every other way — payroll, real estate, supplies, utilities, etc. People who work for charitable institutions typically have to scramble harder than people in for-profit businesses.
That’s why the boom under Clinton was so much more robust than the bubbles under Bush. The government redistribution of wealth, from the poor and middle class to the wealthy, masked underlying faults in our businesses and economy. I agree, such redistribution is not business — but our experience is that once that wealth gets to the middle class and poor, it fuels an economic boom. We need to reverse the Bush anti-Robin Hood economy for a while, to get more wealth in the hands of the least wealthy. You may call it a redistribution, and I’ll even let you carp about it, so long as we let it continue until wealth is more balanced, like it was under Clinton.
Again, good to change from Bush. We need to reinvigorate the competition-ensuring agencies, like the FTC and the Antitrust Division of Justice. Things should improve once we get rid of the Bush “power grab” agencies you complain about.
In the final analysis, to my way of thinking, the question should not be whether or not they had private business sector experience, but what is their attitude toward the relationship of government to business. There are plenty of people out there who think that all will be hunky-dory as long as government “guides” business and picks the firms that will be winners of government favors and those who will not be such. In other words, who are the politically-connected ones and who are not? That is not free enterprise. That is not capitalism. And that is definitely not earning a profit by exchanging value for value, which is what business is.
Getting people to make voltary contributions is not business. Getting government to legislate against your competitors or to grant your business favors is not business. Getting government to redistribute the wealth created by someone else is not business. Any of these certainly involves hard work and great skill – just not business skill!
And none of them will help advance American private enterprise and prosperity. They are only useful if your goal is government power rather than the power of productive effort creating new wealth.
You didn’t read what I wrote. I counted no one’s campaign experience as private sector work — though it should count.
You’ve never run a campaign, I gather, nor been a high officer in a campaign. Show me someone who can raise several millions of dollars in a few months on no promise of any product or future action, create an army almost completely of volunteers who will turn up on one day and push a million people to take time out of their life to do something that gives them no tangible value — voting — and I’ll show you someone better able to run most organizations than any of the great “captains of industry.”
I’ll wager you’ve never run an organization with an annual budget over a million dollars. You clearly don’t understand what a campaign is, how it works, or why that experience leads people to clamor for campaign veterans in their organizations.
But I digress.
The chief thing is that you didn’t read what I wrote, nor why the claim that Obama’s original cabinet lacked private sector experience is ludicrous itself. Since you fail to address the issue in any way, may we assume you concede it?
It’s humorous when people with no great experience in business or government criticize others who are champions at one or both.
Tragic if they vote that way, though.
So, let’s get this straight: The Fed is a membership organization, a company like a private company in every way except it has some special powers granted to it by Congress, which powers must be exercised in wise business ways to keep the economy from collapsing, but you don’t think it should count as private-sector experience?
Do you absurdly claim that all bankers lack private sector experience — since their experience is different from the Fed only in that they deal on a much smaller scope of business — or is this just a momentary lapse of reason on your part?
Since when did banking become “not private sector?” Are you seriously going to defend that absurd position?
CIA? I didn’t say it was private sector. I pointed out that it has no equal in the private sector. Your misreading is not my error.
Nor does it detract from Robert Gates’s other high-level, private sector experience.
Once again I marvel at the absurdity of your claims. You denigrate Robert Gates, a brilliant executive, leader and master leader of one of the nation’s great universities, as “not experienced enough?”
You almost have an argument, except when we get to the facts. You should have read what I wrote, instead of assuming I wrote something else of your invention.
I didn’t count the CIA as private sector experience, but Gates’s experience in the private sector is nothing to sneeze at.
Read it, then, and stop cringing. If you find an error of fact, point it out. Please stop assuming things I did not write, and then make foolish rebuttals based on facts you don’t have, which don’t exist.
You didn’t meet any of them when you were flipping burgers, did you? No, so I didn’t count it.
Do you have any serious claim against anything I did write, or any serious way to support the arguments that Michael Cembalest at J. P. Morgan already retracted, because he understood there’s no defense for the claims you’re trying to defend?
This is laughable. By your logic, every politician works in the private sector by virtue of running campaigns. That by itself is ludicrous. Then you go on to suggest that positions at the CIA and the Fed count as private sector experience. I cringed a little as you continued to discredit yourself in this manner throughout the entire piece.
By the way, you forgot to account for experience working in fast food as teenagers. Probably 95% of Obama’s cabinet comes from the private sector by that measure.
I’m tired of beneficiaries of huge, unwarranted tax CUTS complaining about “ever-increasing taxes.”
I think we should tax prevarications. That would put the Tea Party quickly into bankruptcy.