Obama’s well-qualified cabinet: Conservatives hoaxed by “J. P. Morgan” chart that verifies prejudices


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?”

Chart claiming to be from J. P. Morgan, hoaxing experience of Obama cabinet, underestimating by 7 times

Chart claimed by American Enterprise Institute to be from J. P. Morgan, hoaxing experience data of Obama cabinet, underestimating by 700%

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:

Add to FacebookAdd to NewsvineAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Furl

Save

127 Responses to Obama’s well-qualified cabinet: Conservatives hoaxed by “J. P. Morgan” chart that verifies prejudices

  1. Ed Darrell says:

    I think you have missed the point of the study. It is showing how many of the 400+ appointees have PRIVATE enterprise experience. What that means is people who started companies, made payroll, built and or produced a product or service.

    I think you didn’t read my analysis. I counted only those appointees in the cabinet (22 people total) who have PRIVATE enterprise experience, starting companies, making payroll, making products and providing services. 77% of the original Obama cabinet had private sector experience.

    The author of the original comment withdrew his work, because it was misinterpreted. I think that considering the evidence presented above, and the author’s conceding my point, I’ve got the better of the argument.

    Mr. Cembalest did not count any 400 people, not out of the Plum Book nor any other thought-out methodological source — that was the source of his problem and my chief complaint, and why he retracted it. But if one wanted to do such a study, it would be easy to do with the records from the nomination-approval committees in the Senate. During my time on staff there we processed several thousands of such nominations, and I can assure you it would be impossible to fill that many jobs with breathing people without including a rich diversity of private sector experience.

    Like

  2. C Brooke says:

    I think you have missed the point of the study. It is showing how many of the 400+ appointees have PRIVATE enterprise experience. What that means is people who started companies, made payroll, built and or produced a product or service. This generally does not include academics, politics or law. Some might even argue that the legal system in the US is more an impairment to our innovation/production than a proliferator of it. So surrounding oneself with people who talk, consult, teach and sue instead of produce, manufacture or provide services is the point of the chart. The fact is the present administation has far few of these people than any previous administration in the last century. Of all the examples you mention political campaigns, legal experience, academic experience, consulting. I don’t see any of the people above who made anything or provided a service outside of consulting or law. Go back to previous administations where the Secretary of Commerce ran a manufacturing concern. Instead the Secretary of Commerce is a lawyer and former elected official. Guitierez, a recent Secretary of Commerce, was the youngest CEO of Kellogg, you know the company that makes Cereal. How about we have people who are in charge of COMMERCE who have sold things. Just a basic concept. Understand the data before you discharge it. You clearly dont understand what you critique.

    Like

  3. Ed Darrell says:

    spreading the wealth is not the philosophy that should be held by the leaders of a republic. how can any working person with even half a brain be a liberal?

    During the past ten years there has been a massive redistribution of wealth, from the middle class and poor to the very wealthy. It is perhaps a sin that this president does not hold a philosophy of spreading the wealth, at least a bit more equitably.

    Like

  4. Cat says:

    regardless of how you view their experience, the cabinet is not doing a very good job. spreading the wealth is not the philosophy that should be held by the leaders of a republic. how can any working person with even half a brain be a liberal? i am so tired of paying ever-increasing taxes to support able bodied people who have never worked and will never work just because they feel they are “entitled” to have the same things i have worked all my life to attain. it’s time to cut the spending on anything that is not allowed in the constitution and if it takes voting every incumbent out in november, so be it.

    Like

  5. Jim Stanley says:

    Ed says, >>>”And that’s with people who think the economy is in dire straits. Can you imagine the lack of action had we elected McCain, who didn’t think this economic mess was any serious problem?”<<<

    What I find most disappointing about Senator McCain is that he seemed — between 2000 and 2008 — to come to the conclusion that he'd rather switch than fight. So, having been scurrilously savaged by the radical right eight years prior, he opted to join the bullies and thugs…abandoning his center right voting record and pragmatism. He floated the odd trial balloon from time to time — such as when he initially criticized The Decider for his limp, "go to the mall and here's a tax cut" response to the 9-11 attacks. But once it became clear he needed the support of such "thinkers" to obtain the nomination, he pretty much became a GOP "Stepford wife". A shame, really. The man's patriotism and story were compelling and honorable.

    Like

  6. Ed Darrell says:

    And that’s with people who think the economy is in dire straits. Can you imagine the lack of action had we elected McCain, who didn’t think this economic mess was any serious problem?

    Be sure to see this comment and link to the Economist story, “What’s gone wrong in Washington?” from last February.

    Like

  7. Jim Stanley says:

    Hi there, Lorretta! Welcome aboard! It’s good to have you here.

    Mind if I answer a few of your questions?

    You ask what President Obama and his cabinet have done to improve life in America? Well, first let me say — not hardly enough. Being a liberal, I’m none too pleased with his Clintonesque, “center-right” approach to governing. But that said, and in a spirit of fairness, I do think he’s done SOME good. Keep in mind, not all of these will benefit us immediately, this minute. But I’m trying to mature a little and not expect instant gratification. (Hard to do, I know!) Here are a few examples…

    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/promises/promise/17/require-economic-justification-for-tax-cuts/

    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/promises/promise/33/establish-a-credit-card-bill-of-rights/

    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/promises/promise/36/expand-loan-programs-for-small-businesses/

    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/promises/promise/69/in-non-competitive-markets-force-insurers-to-pay-/

    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/promises/promise/121/fully-fund-the-violence-against-women-act/

    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/promises/promise/167/make-us-military-aid-to-pakistan-conditional-on-/

    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/promises/promise/411/work-to-overturn-ledbetter-vs-goodyear/

    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/promises/promise/480/support-high-speed-rail/

    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/promises/promise/507/extend-unemployment-insurance-benefits-and-tempora/

    There’s more, of course. And there are some that surely don’t go far enough. The flaccid stimulus plan is a good example.

    But on balance, I’d say he’s done far more than The Decider ever did. As to blaming Bush for the economy, I realize there are two easy-breezy things for armchair pundits like you and I to do: Blame the old guy, and blame the new guy. Neither is terribly productive. The mess is made. (We can quibble about WHEN it was made. I would suggest it all began around 2003-2004. You may opine that it began on inauguration day of 2009. Who knows? You could be right. But what’s happened since? That’s the question we need to take apart and answer.

    My response would be, “not enough”. But like I say, I don’t think we’ll ever move substantially forward without a dramatic shift to the left. So, for better or worse, we’re stuck with center-right incrementalism.

    Who knows, Lorretta? Maybe in this next crop of Republicans sure to be elected in November there’s a Jacob Javits or an Amo Houghton just pretending to be a Bircher for the sake of primary voters. I can certainly hope and pray so. Stranger things have happened, I suppose. Nixon and Eisenhower are now Socialists, after all.

    Like

  8. Lorretta says:

    My question would be, if they have so much experience, then why have they not done anything to improve the American life…jobs are way down, economy sucks……etc. etc. etc…..OH YEAH, I forgot, it’s George Bush’s fault…….
    Come November, you will see CHANGE alright!!!

    Like

  9. […] Cembalest retracted his piece when he saw, in horror, what had happened (but not before I was too rough on him in poking much-deserved holes in the AEI claim). […]

    Like

  10. Ed Darrell says:

    That’s a good description of George W. Bush and many in his cabinet. But that description fits no one in the Obama cabinet, and not Obama, either.

    If you’re trying to point out that Obama’s cabinet has fewer dilettantes than Bush’s cabinet, you’re probably on the right path. If you were trying to indict the Obama cabinet, you need to do more study.

    Like

  11. JWilliams says:

    Dilettantes are loathe to point out that other dilettantes lack real-world experience. So you go to Harvard, get a cush job in some law firm for three years where you play golf with the partners and talk about how much money your daddy had (or didn’t have, as the case may be), and suddenly you have “real-world experience.” This bunch ranks sky-high on the dilettante scale and the condition of the economy (and their plans for it) prove it.

    Like

  12. Ed Darrell says:

    There is an outstanding and clear link between lack of real world experience, animosity toward Americans, and those who claim contrary to all evidence that a law office is not a business.

    I hear that argument from people who think that slinging hamburgers at McDonald’s for some other guy makes them better qualified to manage top-dollar MBAs, but I don’t hear it much from people with MBAs and real world experience.

    So, what is it about ranching that you think doesn’t qualify ranching as business? What is it about running a profitable business that you think doesn’t qualify as business? What is it about running a profitable, private research lab that doesn’t qualify as business? What is it about AT&T that you think isn’t business?

    Have you ever run a start-up anything? Non-profits in the private sector pay the same rent, same electricity, file nearly the same tax returns (pay the same payroll taxes), buy the same business machines — but do it all with the added burden of raising money from people by telling them they get nothing, personally, from paying the company. It’s business at doubletime, with higher fiscal walls to climb. And Obama himself did it well, taking an idea to a functioning, fighting, anti-poverty agency with a half-million cash flow in a year.

    You’ve never done that.

    Fact is that Obama’s cabinet is among the best qualified ever. No, they don’t come from corporations that traditionally violate antitrust laws and skirt the mineral extraction laws, nor leave huge mountains of pollution for the taxpayers to clean up. Steven Chu is the only person ever to manage a government agency who won a Nobel prize for his work in private enterprise.

    I think if you get your facts straight, you’ll change your views. Did you even bother to read the post?

    Like

  13. Jim Stanley says:

    Good evening, Gerry!

    You’re entirely correct that the sort of work a sales executive does is different from the work of a professor or attorney.

    But could you please articulate what you are referring to with regard to “the poor job being done”? Without specifics, we don’t really have anywhere to go from here.

    Welcome to the discussion!

    Jim

    Like

  14. Gerry says:

    Working as a lawyer is not running a private business, nor is being a professor. Running a business means making the cash register ring, marketing, product development, R & D etc, not lecturing about stuff or suing private businesses. There is a clear correlation between the lack of real world experience and the poor job being done, not hard at all to see.

    Like

  15. Ed Darrell says:

    Are you complaining about Housing Sec. Shaun Donovan?

    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.

    The Community Preservation Corporation is a $1.7 million a year operation, that on that scanty amount of money is managing more than 122,000 properties under development. (see page 18 of the annual report)

    1. That’s much larger than a large majority of businesses.

    2. That’s an efficiency that should shine as a badge of high qualification to do anything in the world.

    What’s the annual gross on your business?

    Like

  16. Ed Darrell says:

    In the dichotomy between public sector and private sector, there are only two choices, public or private. Someone who incorporates a company and raises it to a half-million dollar a year enterprise deserves as much credit for doing it non-profit as someone who does it for profit.

    Maybe more. Raising a half-million a year is tough enough when you’re selling a product or service. It’s tougher when there is no return on investment, and no product or service exchanged.

    The only difference is that the non-profit can’t waste the money.

    Like

  17. Jenny says:

    Sorry, I did not mean to come off sounding snarky.

    Like

  18. Jenny says:

    Did I say that working for the Catholic Church should count as private sector experience?

    Working for the private sector means working in an enterprise to make money. I am an investor in a small plumbing company. The plumbers work to make money. If they don’t, the company folds. Working for a non-profit is something entirely different.

    Maybe your difficulty is that you don’t sem to understand that there are more than two choices. There’s nothing wrong with working for a non-profit agency, but it’s just not the same as working in a business, particularly a small business.

    Like

  19. Ed Darrell says:

    Oh, yeah, it may be useful to know that the community non-profit Jenny condemns as “not private sector” was run by the Catholic Church.

    It’s not public sector by any definition. Private sector is all that it could be.

    Like

  20. Ed Darrell says:

    So, then, Jenny, you consider the Catholic Church (which is a non-profit of the variety you discuss) to be part of the government?

    Odd. We have a Constitution which doesn’t offer such a definition, and the First Amendment to make it clear that no church could ever be part of the government.

    How about the Boy Scouts of America? According to the Supreme Court, they may discriminate against good citizen, non-criminal homosexuals because BSA is a “private organization.” But of course, they are also a 501(c)(3), though with a national charter. Are you now claiming that the Boy Scouts of America is part of a government, and that working for BSA, for pay, is government experience?

    I don’t think you’ve thought through what is private sector, and what is public sector. If you think that a non-government job is a government job because it’s non-profit, you don’t know what private sector means, according to the Supreme Court, the law, common usage and common sense.

    Don’t let your distaste for that great man in the White House color your dictionary to your disadvantage, and to the point of prevarication.

    Like

  21. Jenny says:

    To consider working for a “community non-profit” as
    “private-sector experience” means that you don’t understand what the private sector is.

    Like

  22. Ed Darrell says:

    I noticed you did not quote me directly, but you did use misdirection to your advantage.

    Check again. I quoted you exactly. I copied and pasted your words. Exactly, directly, precisely. If, now, you don’t like what you said then, tell us you changed your mind. But don’t claim, falsely, that I misquoted you somehow.

    The curious thing about all of it to me is, why are you comparing my resume with the President’s? That’s silly and irrelevant, but right in line with the way the Left deals with stuff in the US — attack the person delivering the argument, then get the subject changed!!

    Your entire claim is silly and irrelevant. You seem to think it important somehow. The guy who started the chart did it over the dinner table on Thanksgiving. It was a humorous diversion on a shortened business week. You’re taking it too seriously.

    But you’re taking the factually wrong way.

    Steer clear of hard facts. I’m looking for hard facts in your references and do not take the same license you do with the columns or article.

    You can follow the links if you choose. I’m dealing solely in hard facts. You’re making a helluva case that you do not know what a fact is, let alone where to find one, or what to do with one once you get it.

    Here’s my original comment in toto: Some very nice, informative, factual, and well educated comments here in support of the original premise, that Obama’s cabinet is filled with people inexperienced in business,etc. That’s a great way to get some fact-based beliefs.

    So you take issue with the facts, and you take issue with my corrections of the misinformation. Yeah, I got that from the start.

    Of course, the White House references used are a great way to get some more belief-based facts, too! —- I’m looking for a comment about lawyers I made here and don’t find it. I’m looking for a comment I made here about “denying” any private enterprise experience in my original post and don’t find it. Of course anyone can puff up a phrase with words like “stars of enterprise” and “successful entrepeneurship” but those are opinions. My point there would be none of HIS jobs put HIS money or life on the line. He risked nothing of his own — and ended up making millions prior to writing his “books.” By the way, I thought the line about fact-based beliefs and belief-based facts was working!

    Now we know you can’t tell facts from manure.

    None of your posts have been edited in any way, none have been deleted. Look again. If you now disagree with what you wrote, it ain’t my fault.

    Especially, it ain’t Obama’s fault, either.

    Like

  23. Jim Locke says:

    I noticed you did not quote me directly, but you did use misdirection to your advantage. The curious thing about all of it to me is, why are you comparing my resume with the President’s? That’s silly and irrelevant, but right in line with the way the Left deals with stuff in the US — attack the person delivering the argument, then get the subject changed!! Steer clear of hard facts. I’m looking for hard facts in your references and do not take the same license you do with the columns or article. Here’s my original comment in toto: Some very nice, informative, factual, and well educated comments here in support of the original premise, that Obama’s cabinet is filled with people inexperienced in business,etc. That’s a great way to get some fact-based beliefs. Of course, the White House references used are a great way to get some more belief-based facts, too! —- I’m looking for a comment about lawyers I made here and don’t find it. I’m looking for a comment I made here about “denying” any private enterprise experience in my original post and don’t find it. Of course anyone can puff up a phrase with words like “stars of enterprise” and “successful entrepeneurship” but those are opinions. My point there would be none of HIS jobs put HIS money or life on the line. He risked nothing of his own — and ended up making millions prior to writing his “books.” By the way, I thought the line about fact-based beliefs and belief-based facts was working!

    Like

  24. Ed Darrell says:

    Ed, take some time and read your remarks to identify your bias. That was my point about belief-based facts vs fact based beliefs.

    My bias in this case is for accuracy. It’s simply error to claim that Obama’s cabinet lacks private sector experience, filled as it is with stars of private business. I don’t like truth bending for political purposes. The guy who put the chart together told me he agreed, and he withdrew the chart (so did the Volokh Conspiracy blog). One could complain about the political views, or one could complain about the policies, but one cannot fairly and accurately say that Obama’s cabinet lacks experience in the private sector.

    For instance you mistakenly assume that just being a lawyer indicates some sort of association with success, other than admission to law school.

    I make no such assumption. Big firm lawyering is among the most competitive, merit-based free enterprise possible. I note the successes in private firms of people like Obama. But that was later, after other successes.

    I graduated from a top 20 law school, and I’ve been in those trenches. If you think it’s an easy row to hoe, you’re whistling past the graveyard. Plus, you’ll never find anyone with any sense or data to back such a claim.

    You mention BO’s election to the HLR. In fact, according to Politico, “His name doesn’t appear on any legal scholarship.” He didn’t publish a thing.

    The job of the publisher of a newspaper is to make the newspaper go, not write the obituaries and lost pet stories. Obama was a genius at management, his enemies say. His enemies. The conservatives on the politically-factioned board say Obama was a model of fairness and efficiency.

    Generally the students may publish a small note. Obama did. Sorry you missed it.

    You err about the nature of the job, you abuse the information about Obama’s brilliant leadership, and you missed the publishing of his writing.

    All in the private sector, by the way.

    You say Obama held, and I quote “several jobs in the private sector.” What “several jobs in the private sector” did BO hold? You mean ice cream scooper, deli worker and telemarketer? Yeah, great jobs in the private sector, Ed.

    I specified the jobs. He led a non-profit poverty-fighting agency, from no budget an only himself, to several employees and over $500,000 a year. In business school, they call that “successful entrepreneurship.” Have you ever done as much?

    I detailed his work for the Harvard Law Review, which you acknowledge above — what’s the most important print operation you’ve ever headed? Was it the most prestigious law journal in the world, where distinguished lawyers duke it out to get small articles on tiny issues published? Was it an organ cited by the Supreme Court in important cases? Were you elected leader by the diverse, divisive and contentious workers?

    You have no room to kick.

    And notice, please, that little of his work experience really prepares him to be a competent president — no executive experience, no involvement with foreign policy, none with defense matters, none with funding an independent operation or business, none with “managing” thousands of workers.

    Obama was successful at each thing he did. Contrast that with George W. Bush, who ran every business he was handed into the ground, until he got placed as a name on the Texas Rangers, where his big achievement was trading away Sammy Sosa.

    You’re quick to belittle honest work, and to try to hide gilt.

    Just exactly what “several jobs in the private sector… which most people of intelligence, wit and creativity would be happy to aspire” did Obama hold?

    Successful non-profit builder, publisher and editor of the Harvard Law Review, associate in a big-league law firm, lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School, author of two best-selling books.

    Which of those have you ever come close to?

    So, please show me where I mentioned “all lawyers” working for the government.

    Where you dismiss all lawyering as government work, not private enterprise.

    Probably the most free-enterprise sector we have today in America is tort lawyers. Other lawyers are not far behind. It’s damnably tough business – I’ve failed at it twice.

    Which firm are you with? Which firm did you build?

    You could look up the facts, if you cared to.

    See here:
    http://mediamatters.org/research/200912030015

    And here:
    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2009/dec/02/glenn-beck/beck-says-less-10-percent-obama-cabinet-members-ha/

    Like

  25. Nick Kelsier says:

    But on right wingers making stupid statements, there’s Michele Bachmann who said, at the so called “Constitutional Coalition” convention in St. Louis, “BACHMANN: Is the country too big to fail? No, the country can fail. We can, we’re not invincible. And we’re so close now to being at that point because the thing is, as Glenn Beck said last night, it is true. The $107 trillion that he put on the board. We’re $14 trillion in debt, but that doesn’t include the unfunded massive liabilities. That’s $107 trillion, and that’s for Social Security and Medicare and all the rest. You add up all those unfunded net liabilities, and all the traps that could go wrong we’re on the hook for, and what it means is what we have to do is a reorganization of all of that, Social Security and all. We have to do it simply because we can’t let the contract remain as they are because the older people are going to lose. So, what you have to do, is keep faith with the people that are already in the system, that don’t have any other options, we have to keep faith with them. But basically what we have to do is wean everybody else off. And wean everybody off because we have to take those unfunded net liabilities off our bank sheet, we can’t do it. So we just have to be straight with people. So basically, whoever our nominee is, is going to have to have a Glenn Beck chalkboard and explain to everybody this is the way it is.”

    That’s right ladies and gentlemen, Michele Bachmann wants to send you to the poor house in your old age unless you’re one of the lucky few rich enough to survive retirement.

    http://thinkprogress.org/2010/02/08/bachmann-remove-socialsecurity/

    Like

  26. Nick Kelsier says:

    Jim, regarding your claim about the HLR, I have this to ask: Oh really? Then have fun explaining this:

    http://www.nytimes.com/1990/02/06/us/first-black-elected-to-head-harvard-s-law-review.html

    Oh and check out Volume 103 of the HLR. Specifically the article that begins on page 823.

    Like

  27. Jim Locke says:

    Ed, take some time and read your remarks to identify your bias. That was my point about belief-based facts vs fact based beliefs. For instance you mistakenly assume that just being a lawyer indicates some sort of association with success, other than admission to law school. You mention BO’s election to the HLR. In fact, according to Politico, “His name doesn’t appear on any legal scholarship.” He didn’t publish a thing. You say Obama held, and I quote “several jobs in the private sector.” What “several jobs in the private sector” did BO hold? You mean ice cream scooper, deli worker and telemarketer? Yeah, great jobs in the private sector, Ed. And notice, please, that little of his work experience really prepares him to be a competent president — no executive experience, no involvement with foreign policy, none with defense matters, none with funding an independent operation or business, none with “managing” thousands of workers. Just exactly what “several jobs in the private sector… which most people of intelligence, wit and creativity would be happy to aspire” did Obama hold? So, please show me where I mentioned “all lawyers” working for the government.

    Like

  28. Nick Kelsier says:

    Tell me, Mark, do you have the same problem with Minnesota’s Michele Bachmann?

    Because in her entire adult life she’s worked for the government in one form or another.

    Like

  29. Ed Darrell says:

    Obama held several jobs in the private sector, jobs to which most people of intelligence, wit and creativity would be happy to aspire. He set up a private sector non-profit poverty fighting agency, and ran it to $500,000 a year, before heading off to law school. In law school he was elected president of the Harvard Law Review, probably the premiere law publication in the world. It’s a position with an enormous budget, a very large staff of highly-inflated egos, where missteps are broadcast through the entire world very quickly. Even his enemies said he was great at the job.

    Back in Chicago he snagged a position with a top law firm.

    Bias against lawyers is okay in jokes, but your apparent misapprehension that all lawyers work for the government is simply wrong. Your failure to bother to read up on Obama’s jobs is reflected in all your other remarks about Obama’s cabinet.

    The information is freely available. I link to a lot of sources in this article. Take some time and research the facts.

    Like

  30. Jim Locke says:

    Curiously, Ed, what has any of this got to do with me managing thousands and Nobel laureates and the like? If the recent Prizes do not clue you in as to how skewed they are, in fact laughable, nothing will. That alone should be proof that the award has nothing to do with real-life experience nor results. Obama has never held a job in the private sector and has continued to politically approach every situation in his life, from school admissions to community organizer – the only job he’s ever referred to having. Your notion of “significant research with a solid methodology” alludes the above article is filled with the same.The original point of this diatribe is that Obama’s “select” group of leaders to solve our problems has no practical experience in the real world. And it shows. That plus Obama’s lack of knowledge as to what is contained in the Constitution vs the Declaration of Independence is astounding. And can we hold this administration accountable for their performance without comparing it to previous administrations, please?

    Like

  31. Ed Darrell says:

    Jim, Mr. Cembalest has taken the chart down. It doesn’t show what you think it shows, it’s not backed by any significant research with a solid methodology.

    I do find it amusing that critics of Obama dismiss out of hand the astounding successes of his cabinet members in private enterprise, as if it’s easy to make a few million in a few months, easy to create a fantastically successful business and sell it at a fine profit, easy to get in the doors of McKinsey & Co., easy to be a huge success in consulting, and easy to do the research that wins Nobels, and that all research at private institutions is really government-sponsored and somehow “not really privately funded and managed.”

    When was the last time you managed several thousand employees including 11 Nobel winners, Jim?

    Like

  32. Jim Locke says:

    Nick, are you wanting to make a personal attack, change the topic and review actual performance, which is fine, or stick with the topic of business and private enterprise experienced cabinet members?

    Like

  33. Nick Kelsier says:

    Jim, you going to go over Bush’s cabinet?

    Or do you need to be reminded of Brownie?

    Like

  34. Jim Locke says:

    Some very nice, informative, factual, and well educated comments here in support of the original premise, that Obama’s cabinet is filled with people inexperienced in business,etc. That’s a great way to get some fact-based beliefs. Of course, the White House references used are a great way to get some more belief-based facts, too!

    Like

  35. Ed Darrell says:

    Yeah, Mark, it’s troubling that so many attorneys are Republicans, and that the vast majority of lawyers work for corporations, giving them way more representation than they deserve and creating gross miscarriages of justice. I agree.

    I’m curious why you dismiss Geithner’s extensive banking experience. You appear to be under the impression that banks are part of the government, and so is the Federal Reserve. At the branch level, I don’t think that’s an adequate reading.

    Your dismissal of the work of lawyers is humorous in light of your criticism of Geithner’s tax troubles. He worked for an international bank that pays the taxes of its employees. I’ll wager you can’t decipher the documents, either. Geithner paid the taxes when the experts at the Senate Finance Committee (who wrote the law) called it to his attention.

    Would you mind if we let the Senate Finance Committee tax guys pore over your tax returns looking for nits? Willing to bet you’ll come up clean?

    Like

  36. Mark Shepherd says:

    This article is even more troubling than the chart, what a collection of lawyers (and we know what side of the polictical spectrum they represent), non-profit experience is even worse than public sector experience. Geithner working for the Council on Foreign Relations? What kind of private sector job is that, if he’d been a tax attorney maybe he would have at least paid his taxes. If this if suppose to make the public feel better about the job experience of Obama appointees, it has done the opposite.

    Like

  37. Prospector says:

    I don’t consider a partner in a law firm as being a productive member of the private sector. They perform a service for the private sector. That pretty well leaves only Rahm Emanuel as having any authentic private sector, productive, executive experience. Did any of these former lawyers make any money for shareholders or investors? Did they make anything except money for themselves and for their clients?

    I run a small corporation and I don’t see that kind of leadership or experience in Obama’s circle. They don’t know what it is to run a productive business.

    Like

  38. Ed Darrell says:

    In the followup is the link to the original article, which after reading, it is quite clear how the measure was determined in the graph. Reading this article again, and one clearly sees that most cases of “Private experience: yes” do not measure up to Cembalest’s definition (private sector = position of hiring/firing excluding government, academic, non-profit and law firms partial credit). But instead of understanding Cembalest’s position and concern as one in the private sector, the author here basically says his analysis is crap (ironically criticizing it as a “quick-and-very-dirty count” when it seems that this article fits that bill better).

    Cembalest called me a few weeks ago when he withdrew the chart and his comments from publication. As he noted in his original publication at Forbes, he was making dinner table conversation, not serious political research. He was looking for something light-hearted for the slow-business Turkey-Day weekend. It was not intended to be a serious indictment of the Obama administration as the humorless denizens of the Heritage Foundation and blogosphere tried to make it.

    The basic question is a good one: How much “private sector” experience should the designers of our stimulus programs have, if any at all?

    The methodology is shot full of holes and inadequate to the task, masking the original question.

    We both lamented that his piece wasn’t taken more as humor, and the discussion taken from there.

    But there you have it. Cembalest said the chart is indefensible, and here you are defending it. Go figure.

    While I don’t necessarily agree with Cembalest’s concerns/definitions, his results are consistent with his measure and methodology.

    His methodology is completely SWAG. He didn’t have a methodology, really. He didn’t do serious research to back it up. It’s not a point worth researching.

    Between his article and this, his is more informative and consistent.

    If one relies on SWAGs, yes.

    Although a comparison with the past may or may not have relevance with being “qualified” on the whole; but that was not initial point, and it’s clear that both sides have missed what that is.

    In such a world as you posit, we must dismiss Abraham Lincoln as incompetent to run a war, Teddy Roosevelt as incompetent to be Secretary of the Navy (he was a cowboy, after all, except when he was a lawyer), and Harry Truman incompetent to do anything at all.

    Don’t get me started on Ronald Reagan.

    It was a joke. We should have recognized it as a joke. Don’t push it any farther.

    As an aside, Steve Chu as “extremely significant” and a large part of the argument shows how little this author is familiar with any reasonable definition of private sector. Chu’s Nobel winning work was done in research, which has hardly any similarity to private sector work (even less with Cembalest’s definition). I know this as a research scientist; and while I admire Chu’s ability as a scientist, his experience is more academic than business practical.

    AT&T was, at one time,a monopoly. But if you wish to claim AT&T is not a private business, and therefore Chu’s work for his Nobel was not done in private business, I think you’ll be even farther out on the lunacy branch. Yes, AT&T was larger in income than many small nations — but that does not make it a government. His Nobel was won in pursuit of the mighty dollar, in as noble a private enterprise as it is possible to be engaged in.

    And, I’ll wager you’ve never run a business as large as Chu has. Consequently, you’re incompetent to judge, right?

    Come back before you fall and get hurt.

    Like

  39. Marc says:

    Just got forwarded the graph stats and was looking for verification, as I’m greatly opposed to Republican mis-information. Unfortunately this article highlights the other thing I’m greatly opposed to: the blind idiocy of Democrats.

    While admitting to not knowing the methodology resulting in the graph, we’re going to go ahead and reproduce the last point using an arbitrary measure and declare the whole a hoax. In addition, nothing is done with past presidents using this methodology, so the analysis is useless as there is no basis of comparison (I suspect if one applied the same loose requirement to previous administrations, they would all be in the 75%+ range).

    In the followup is the link to the original article, which after reading, it is quite clear how the measure was determined in the graph. Reading this article again, and one clearly sees that most cases of “Private experience: yes” do not measure up to Cembalest’s definition (private sector = position of hiring/firing excluding government, academic, non-profit and law firms partial credit). But instead of understanding Cembalest’s position and concern as one in the private sector, the author here basically says his analysis is crap (ironically criticizing it as a “quick-and-very-dirty count” when it seems that this article fits that bill better).

    While I don’t necessarily agree with Cembalest’s concerns/definitions, his results are consistent with his measure and methodology. Between his article and this, his is more informative and consistent. Although a comparison with the past may or may not have relevance with being “qualified” on the whole; but that was not initial point, and it’s clear that both sides have missed what that is.

    As an aside, Steve Chu as “extremely significant” and a large part of the argument shows how little this author is familiar with any reasonable definition of private sector. Chu’s Nobel winning work was done in research, which has hardly any similarity to private sector work (even less with Cembalest’s definition). I know this as a research scientist; and while I admire Chu’s ability as a scientist, his experience is more academic than business practical.

    Like

  40. Ed Darrell says:

    How many worked for a manufacturer? The usual conservative counterpoint is Andrew Mellon, the Treasury Secretary for Coolidge and Hoover.

    Mellon’s father bought him a lumber and coal company which he ran for a few months before joining his father’s banking firm.

    Manufacturing experience: 0.

    Nixons Labor Secretary was George P. Schultz, a college professor, who later moved to Treasury. Manufacturing experience: 0.

    Manufacturing experience might be useful, but it’s not a necessary condition to be involved in creating jobs. Were we to apply that criterion to Republicans, they might come out looking much worse than Obama’s team.

    Like

  41. JMP says:

    The point is- how many worked for a company that actually designed or manufactured something! THAT is where the real jobs are. America runs on companies that design and/or build things which further companies can sell or export- not attorneys that manufacture words.

    Like

  42. […] graph has been generating attention recently about whether Obama’s cabinet lacks the private-sector experience present in other […]

    Like

  43. Ed Darrell says:

    I don’t see much that can be chalked up as private sector experience.

    When was the last time you made $4 million investing? When was the last time you made $16 million investing?
    How long have you been working for McKinsey & Co.? Did you know Tom Peters while you were there?

    How long you think he’s been a Marxist?

    If making money big time isn’t capitalist, private sector experience, what is?

    And, who is Tim?

    Like

  44. Eric says:

    Tim,from everything you just explained I don’t see much that can be chalked up as private sector experience. Of course the propogandist folks like Glenn Beck stir things up, always have always will on both sides of any issue, but you have actually proved the larger point through your fact check, and that is that the current cabniet lacks experience in the private sector. I mean there are some lawyers, yeah yeah..I guess you can go out on a limb and call that private sector. Funny thing is at the inception of the country the figure was probably 100 percent, blacksmiths, inventors, farmers. Frankly I had dismissed this 8 percent claim as bogus and now after reading your article here I don’t even see how they have 8 percent!

    Like

  45. Marion Delgado says:

    First, it’s Forbes – a magazine that has specialized in lying to promote market fundamentalism since its inception. Second, they don’t care about lying, they care about corporate media calling them on the lying. Since that won’t happen, Forbes Truth will become folk wisdom, just like always.

    Like

  46. Tom says:

    One part of the methodology I may have missed was about who is counted. Did they just count the members who were part of each president’s first 11 months or the entire group that served under a particular president. If Jimmy Carter had 3 treasury secrataries with 10 years experience each I wonder who that would affect the numbers.

    Interesting stuff and debate though…

    Like

  47. Nick Kelsier says:

    Mario writes:
    The criterion should not be “private sector experience” as in practicing law or as an academic. The criterion should be experience running an actual business that manufactures goods and provides services in the free marketplace.

    really? In that case we’d have to throw out pretty much the entirety of Bush’s cabinet. Plus Bush himself and also Dick Cheney.

    Mario, you moron, lawyers do provide services in the free marketplace. Quit coming up with nonsense arguments just because you have an irrational hatred of the President.

    And as for the stimulus plan..gee it seems to be working better then what the Republicans ever did.

    Like

  48. Ed Darrell says:

    They are all lawyers ya dumbass. Sorry, but after reading this, I will know that whatever else you write, has very little credibility.

    Tony LaRussa is a lawyer, too. So was Hoagy Carmichael.

    I’m not the one trying to discount a key part of America’s private sector. Why do you?

    Like

  49. MarioG says:

    The criterion should not be “private sector experience” as in practicing law or as an academic. The criterion should be experience running an actual business that manufactures goods and provides services in the free marketplace.

    We can see that Obama’s non-stimulating stimulus plan has nothing but economic disincentives for small and medium sized businesses where over 80% of American jobs come from. In addition, they have swords hanging over their heads from expiring Bush tax-rate-cuts, the attempt to turn the health care system upside down and add more unproductive costs from bogus climate change legislation. Anyone with more than half a brain should be able to see that we are headed for even more business contraction and even higher unemployment rates.

    Like

  50. Magox says:

    LOL.

    So here I was reading your blog, and I thought “Hey, maybe it is a hoax”, then I read what you considered to be “experienced” and not just experienced but “signficant” LOL

    They are all lawyers ya dumbass. Sorry, but after reading this, I will know that whatever else you write, has very little credibility.

    You should be embarrassed of what you wrote.

    LOL

    Like

  51. Ed Darrell says:

    Tom, that’s about the scummiest comment to a post I’ve ever seen. I knew Joe Biden shortly after he made it to office, and while we’ve never been close — I never commuted with him to Delaware — my wife and have experienced the graciousness of the Bidens several times over the past 30+ years. I’ve met his kids. I’ve met his second wife.

    I thought it was pretty low when Ralph Nader snarked at Jake Garn about seatbelts during a hearing — Garn’s first wife died in a rollover accident when she was driving their kids to Washington just after Garn got elected.

    But I gotta say, your post was a new low. And that article? Hey, I don’t care that Biden got a detail wrong. The issue isn’t the guilt or innocence of an unnamed truck driver. To slam a guy for recalling such a personal tragedy, as that article and your post do, I think, is a request for reservation in at least the third or fourth circle of Hell.

    Like

  52. ChrisH says:

    I agree with Ed on this. If JP Morgan want’s to publish the actual methodology, it makes the discussion a bit more meaningful. Right now, what they have basically said is, “We put this stuff into a magic box, and we won’t tell you all of the settings in the magic box, but since you ask, attorneys only count for 33%.” Well, we can all design magic boxes, and make any numbers we want come out of the box.

    I don’t mean to imply that the fact that AEI happens to have commissioned JP Morgan to put together the magic box in this case just miiiight have something to do with how the numbers came out. Actually, I think I mean to say it categorically. If the DNC had commissioned the same study, what do you suppose the numbers would have looked like? I suspect that the discussions during the “preliminary preview of the results” probably went something like, “Hmmmm. 65%? We were hoping for something closer to 5 – 10%. What does it look like if we disallow any hours worked in education, since that’s all paid for by the government one way or another, and two thirds of any time spent as a lawyer, since they all lie on their timesheets anyway?”

    It would be interesting to see how some of the Republican guys got scored. Condoleezza Rice taught. Obviously a government tit-sucker. Cheney. Hmm. That would be a tough one. Normally, a VP is considered part of the cabinet, but Cheney had his own branch, so hard to say. Of course, we would also have to figure out whether “Sith Lord” is a public or private position…

    Cheers!

    Like

  53. Nick Kelsier says:

    Back during my college days I clerked for a law firm.

    That law firm had 3 partners, 10 associates, about 10 paralegals, a half dozen law clerks, a dozen secretaries, two receptionists, a couple regular office workers and an office manager.

    Pray tell how did that law firm, a private practice, did not have a payroll and did not create jobs?

    But by token I’m thinking you’re thinking that Bush’s cabinet had more business experience.

    And yet that same administration crashed the economy, spent at least a trillion dollars in two wars, one of which didn’t need to be fought, the other it ignored. Gave out massive tax cuts to the super rich, screwed the middle class, and deregulated the economy to the point that people like Bernie Madoff ran wild. All the while thinking that that if the richest 1% went from having 50% of the wealth generated in this country to having 66% of the wealth generated in this country is a good thing for the United States.

    Oh please, get over yourself. I have no idea where Republicans of today get the idea that they’re better for business and better for the economy of this country but that is the biggest delusion they have. It’s tied with that they’re better for national security and that they’re “pro-life.” That pretty much makes up the three biggest delusions that the right wing suffers from.

    Like

  54. Nick Kelsier says:

    Whoever wrote:
    There’s a big difference between someone who is an attorney in private practice and someonee who successfully runs a business, meets a payroll and creates jobs. It’s in the later example that Obama’s advisors are lacking.

    If that attorney is in private practice he is running a business. He has to meet payroll, and he creates jobs. What? You think all attorney’s in private practice all work by themselves?

    Face it, you’re coming up with nonsense reasons to not like Obama.

    Like

  55. Ed Darrell says:

    There’s a big difference between someone who is an attorney in private practice and someonee who successfully runs a business, meets a payroll and creates jobs. It’s in the later example that Obama’s advisors are lacking.

    An attorney in private practice is in the private sector, and most of them have more experience meeting payrolls and creating jobs than any executive in any corporation.

    In creating jobs and meeting payrolls, Obama’s cabinet is better than most. Obviously, those were not the criteria of the original chart maker.

    Like

  56. Ed Darrell says:

    My interpretation was not what percentage of Obama’s cabinet have any private sector experience, but rather what percentage of the total work experience of Obama’s cabinet was in the private sector.

    I did not have the benefit of any of the methodology when I did this first pass. I think you’re right about the methodology.

    However, I think the original author still got it wrong. His unfair characterization and odd methodology are exposed when we look at it from this angle, or even if we looked at it as a percentage of total worklife.

    It’s an attempt to smear Obama, and little more.

    His accounting for Steven Chu alone demonstrates the paucity of his method. Chu is the only cabinet member ever to come into the administration with a Nobel, and his Nobel prize came for work he did in the private sector. How does the original account for Chu?

    Zero. He doesn’t discuss jobs, I think is the reasoning.

    Our energy guy? Is he serious?

    Like

  57. Tom Parker says:

    Why not tell the whole story of the members of Obama’s administration? Why cherry pick the favorable information? Here’s just one example of Obama’s sterling choices.

    http://www.delawaregrapevine.com/12-07bidencrash.asp

    Like

  58. Rossputin says:

    I read the JP Morgan chart differently than you did. If I’m right, then your analysis is completely wrong.

    My interpretation was not what percentage of Obama’s cabinet have any private sector experience, but rather what percentage of the total work experience of Obama’s cabinet was in the private sector.

    For example, if there were three cabinet members:

    ABC worked in the private sector for 10% of his career
    DEF worked in the private sector for 35% of his career
    GHI never worked in the private sector.

    Your analysis would say that’s 66% private sector experience.

    I would say, and I think the point of the chart is, that aggregate is 15% average private sector experience. [10% + 35% + 0%]/3

    Like

  59. ChrisH says:

    Very interesting…

    Most of this debate, like much that happens in the body politic, is pretty much useless, because if you lean left, the chart is nonsensical, and if you lean right, the chart came directly from God’s Holy Charting Angels, and is sacred, and anybody who disagrees with THAT position is going straight to Hell! We will no doubt see it again when a certain ex-Governor from the State of I-Can-See-Russia-From-My-House fires up her campaign. (Right after she CRUCIFIES Huckabee for letting the cop-killer out of jail…) It is, of course, both nonsensical and sacred, which proves that the Founders really did understand human weakness when they set the whole game up in the first place.

    Of all the rants I read, I especially like hattip’s:

    “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.”

    Well, to begin with, he seems to be using the same random percentage generator that JP Morgan uses. 99%, 95%. Apparently, there are only about 9 Democrats in the entire country who don’t piss off conservatives.

    The second thing that fascinates me about his rant is that he jumps on Mr. Rubin for his work at Goldman Sachs. If memory serves, Mr. Bush’s Treasury Secretary, a gentleman by the name of Henry (Hank) Paulson, was sitting on approximately $700 million of Goldman stock (in a blind trust, so it’s all legal like) when he left the private sector behind and joined the noble cause. He then sat by and watched the entire financial system blow up, and didn’t make a move until Goldman Sachs was next in the barrel. Suddenly, he realized that the situation was really, really serious. Desperate. The next thing we know, this spotless knight of the right decides that the taxpayers had best drop $720 BILLION into the financial markets to make sure that Goldman didn’t go the way of its less-well-connected brethren. Now, not to put too fine a point on it, but hattip, you might want to check your facts. As a Republican, I spent 8 years absolutely stunned by the circus of runaway spending, irresponsible tax cutting, and borrowing on a scale that was beyond belief. At the same time that Mr. Bush was delivering SotU speech after SotU speech about how strong the economy was, we were borrowing, in real dollars (not the budget fantasy numbers), almost three quarters of a trillion dollars every year. That’s how you go from $5.5 trillion in debt to nearly $11 trillion in debt in 8 years. So, it seems a bit disingenuous for us to sit here today less than a year into the Obama administration and claim that the Democrats have loused everything up. I still remember the day that I saw, of all people, Sen. Ted Kennedy, rise up on the floor of the Senate and ask “How are we going to pay for all of this?”. This was in 2005, by the way, and my party had been in absolute power for nearly four and a half years. May he rest in peace, but when Ted Kennedy becomes the voice of fiscal responsibility, you know that something has gone terribly, horribly wrong.

    So while I realize that I am no doubt seen as a traitor to the cause of conservatism, I think that we need to own our own screw-ups. Is Mr. Obama doing everything that I would like to see him doing? No. But did he get promoted to Captain about half an hour after we ground hard up against the iceberg? I think fairness dictates an affirmative on that. So, let’s hope that he figures a way to keep this thing floating, and let’s argue like mad about the different options for doing so. But let’s stop trying to pin the iceberg on him. That would be the other guy. Your guy. My guy. He was only human. He screwed up. Let’s move forward.

    And one last thing. If we’re going to claim that those Democrats who actually do manage to build a business do so only because they are, well, back to hattip:

    “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. … All directly or indirectly tied to government and the Democrat Party’s bilking of the tax payer. What a pack of parasites and vipers!”

    Well, I don’t know if you have looked at what Mr. Cheney has managed to do, but as a taxpayer, I’m a bit beyond horrified. If a Democrat had figured out how to take a company like Halliburton from about $2 billion a year in revenues (mainly on the back of the taxpayer) to $20 billion a year (entirely on the back of the taxpayer), presumably we’d have him in jail? Nobody, but nobody, in the history of the Republic, has found a deeper, fatter, more swollen nipple on the government tit than Mr. Cheney. He isn’t sneering, folks. He smiled so hard that he cramped his lip! Government contracts are government contracts. If peace broke out all over, hattip, will Halliburton be content to shrink back into a $2 billion company?

    Ah well. It is all good sport, no?

    Like

  60. cbpercy says:

    There’s a big difference between someone who is an attorney in private practice and someonee who successfully runs a business, meets a payroll and creates jobs. It’s in the later example that Obama’s advisors are lacking.

    Like

  61. Fed Z says:

    It examines the prior private sector experience of the cabinet officials since 1900 that one might expect a president to turn to in seeking advice about helping the economy. It includes secretaries of State, Commerce, Treasury, Agriculture, Interior, Labor, Transportation, Energy, and Housing & Urban Development, and excludes Postmaster General, Navy, War, Health, Education & Welfare, Veterans Affairs, and Homeland Security—432 cabinet members in all.

    Not 22 people or so that you so mention.

    Conservatives do not want Obama to fail. They want America to succeed. An America that was born, formed, grew and prospered on ideas of limited government and low taxes.

    If Obama lowered taxes, timely supported our troops, stood for the values that America was based on, the Conservatives would be behind him 100%. At this point, it is not the case.

    I will be the first to admit that statistics are easily manipulated to prove our points. In this case, you didn’t even bother with manipulation. You simply ignored the original study.

    Like

  62. K says:

    Note that Glenn Beck prominently features this chart on his TV show on Monday, 30 Nov. Sorry to say, more people will see & believe him than will ever learn the facts of the matter.

    Like

  63. Larry says:

    Ed,

    Cembalest posits NINE key posts that traditionally advise the President on economic policy and you expand it to 22–including Joe Biden and ambassadors. If that isn’t redefining the argument, I don’t know what is! The bullshit detector thing happens to work both ways.

    Regardless of how commendable their accomplishments may have been as attorneys and leading large research teams, the question still stands–are these the people we want advising the Community Organizer on economic policy and job creation? You may like Geithner for his work at the FRB, but tax cheats don’t deserve anyone’s respect. It is a head-shaking national scandal and shame that the President nominated him and stood behind him and that the Senate confirmed him. Embarrassing to decent folks across this great land of ours.

    Btw, you really should refrain from the personal insults; it is usually the sign of a weak case.

    Like

  64. Ed Darrell says:

    Geithner was president of one of the largest and most important branches of the Federal Reserve Banking System, in New York. Working with the highest ranking and best recognized foreign economic consulting firm isn’t toothpaste. His time with Kissinger and Associates was golden, not deserving in any way of the denigration you lend to it. It’s like going from college to a team that includes at their peak, Michael Jordon, LeBron James, and Bill Russell — and getting at least significant playing time.

    I didn’t redefine anything I had. I merely looked at the bios of the people Cembalest claimed didn’t have private sector experience.

    As if that were a necessary, sufficient, or desirable characteristic — he doesn’t make that case, either.

    Chu, who — once again since you’re not paying attention — won a Nobel for his private sector experience, is acknowledged as a genius in the field his department covers, and has more than a decade managing some of the most demanding groups imaginable, including the physics department at Stanford and the Lawrence Berkeley Lab, one of the best-respected masses of 4,000 bright people ever created (and with 11 other Nobel winners who don’t hesitate to tell him where to get off).

    What was your Nobel in? When was the last time you managed 4,000 employees with a budget in the stratosphere?

    Attempts to denigrate the experience of this, one of the best qualified cabinets, tell us more about the size of the critics, than about the qualifications of people like Steven Chu or Hilda Solis. Or, maybe I should say more accurately, the lack of size of the critics.

    Like

  65. Larry says:

    Your article is a classic case of redefining the argument in order to win it. Cembalest included the key cabinet positions a President would turn to for advice on economic policy. This is the point that you apparently totally missed. If you consider as anywhere near “significant” the private sector expereince of these NINE cabinet posts included in the study, it is laughable. Most were attorneys, Geither, who can’t even accurately prepare his own tax return, worked for a consultant immediately out of college, and Chu was a researcher. These are the people you want advising the President on economic policy and job creation? Good luck with that!

    Like

  66. Nick Kelsier says:

    The problem, Jim, is that those from the business world aren’t guaranteed to be better then ‘career politicians.’ After all…Bernie Madoff, on face value, has quite a bit of business experience. and yet…would you trust anything he says?

    The qualifying trait should be whether the person in question can give good honest advice and be able to back that advice up.

    Like

  67. Mr. B says:

    Even if this were true (and it might be trivially true, given the type of criteria that seem to have been used), it’s still a prejudice justifier: those on or leaning toward the left will say, “Hey, a Cabinet full of people largely not beholden to corporate interests – that is a change!” while those on or leaning toward the right will say, “Oh no, there are very few business types on the Obama Cabinet – it’s the end of free market capitalism!”

    Ultimately, who cares? I commend the effort to demonstrate that this chart is bunk (and it probably is, either in factual inaccuracy or unfair manipulation of the data, e.g. the 33% rule for lawyers [is it multiplied by 3/5ths for those of color? oops, sorry, shouldn’t go there…]), but the premise of this chart is just ridiculous and, if you ask me, another attempt to “Other” the Obama administration. “Oh no, they’re not business types like us! They’re them, and they won’t stand up for us!” It’s ridiculously transparent.

    Like

  68. fast diet says:

    I know Kenneth L. Salazar and he’s a great man. I hope he’s also as qualified as everyone sees him

    Like

  69. Jim Lippard says:

    To get their numbers for Obama, they must mean “business” (excluding academia, research, and law) rather than “private sector,” though it’s not clear without more information whether they consistently applied their criteria across administrations.

    The Fed is quasi-governmental, given the President and Senate’s role in appointments to its Board of Governors.

    Like

  70. Tony Whitson says:

    Ed, under HUD Sec I think you want 45% instead of “4% of cabinet with private sector experience”

    [Editor’s note: You’re right, Tony. Thanks. Fixed.]

    Like

  71. […] Looks like it’s got some factual issues. The original source is J.P. Morgan, so they will need to clarify […]

    Like

  72. Jim Hlavac says:

    By the way, as I look at the list of Bush appointees mentioned, I’d say yes, definitely career politicians, and you are right: part of the problem. But how are more of the same a good thing? If career politicians are the problem why go with more? Is there not one person in our nation who was involved in the things which, say, the departments of commerce, labor, and energy do, but on a major scale, such as running a good sized, but not national, corporation? Are all we left with are lawyers and those who spend their lives seeking power? The funny thing is, over here on sites like this, I complain about Democrats, and over at The American Spectator, etc, I complain about Republicans. And at American Thinker they are preaching to a somewhat offbeat choir. Beats me where I fit in this mess. But one thing for sure and that is that business as usual cannot continue. I agree with you that Bush deficits were bad. So how can I agree with you that Obama deficits are good? Aren’t deficits deficits? If Bush cronyism is bad, then why not Obama’s? If the convoluted tax structure is bad then, then how can making it more convoluted be good? Even on health care — if every currently existing system is either teetering in insolvency to some degree or is beset by fraud and waste, as ever career politician says, shouldn’t they be eliminated, or cleaned up? If you want a public option, why not just do away with every single existing Medicare Medicaid, VA, CHIP, etc, etc, and replace it with a Health for America — one tax, one plan, one method. No, instead, we are keeping that which exists and grafting a whole new octopus on top. And this is good? Does questioning the existing mean I’m defending it? No. Definitely no. But if the word “reform” is to mean anything then get rid of what we have today and start with a brand new One Plan. But if “reform” is merely adding to the morass than count me out. And if it is because career politicians, Republican or Democrat, want to keep their beds feathered with the current system and just make it more convoluted how on earth can this be helping any poor person? Any middle class person? You? Or me? Anyone, for that matter. If health care is to be, say, $1000 a month per person, then tax that and make a One Plan. But to riddle the system with near endless additional rules seems not to be a good idea. But that is the choice we face, put before us by career politicians who merely have the ascendancy now, and in one or two cycles it will be the Republican career politicians. To the victor may go the spoils, but it is you and I, the vast majority of the country, who are losing out. So if I criticize Obama’s team, rest assured that I want nothing to do with the Republican team either.

    Like

  73. Jim Hlavac says:

    Glad to see so many are thinking. When I criticized my fellow blogger Tim’s defense of the cabinet it was not because I know anything of Bush’s cabinet appointee’s credentials, or any of the 430 some odd cabinet secretaries who served in the time of the president’s they served under who are represented in the chart. Tim’s post did not talk about Bush appointees, and I’d be glad to make similar criticisms if warranted if that was the topic of discussion. But I did not make a defense, nay, not even a mention of Bush’s cabinet. Truth be told, I’m a throw them all out guy: baby and bath water when it comes to politicians. Start new. We have 300 million people with enough heads on our shoulders to figure out our governance without professional career politicians who have obviously mucked it up. And you must think it’s mucked up, or you wouldn’t be so involved in the discussion. A few less lawyers and professionals might do the country a world of good.
    However, Tim’s post was to defend Obama’s appointees. To defend their resumes. To defend their “private” sector experience. Tim says himself that he has conflict about whether some activities are really truly “private.” It is true that many of these people “started” something — no doubt about it. But starting law careers, lobbying firms, non-profits and other well intentioned do gooding things is not experience in the “private” sector as commonly understood. Perhaps a lawyer comes closest. But none of these people ran a factory, ran a retail store, ran a warehouse, ran a restaurant, ran a dry cleaners, and any other private sector enterprise that did not have a direct relationship to government and politics for its survival. And government and politics, whether as a lawyer, lobbyist or academic is not private sector by any means. For the record I’d say that if a Bush appointee was of a similar background than he or she too had no private sector experience and thus is suspect as a professional and career politician, which is not good for a free republic. Further, Tim, for more than a few, in his defense of their private sector bonofides mentions the work histories of their parents. Which of you, my fellow commenters, ever put your father’s or mother’s job on your resume? Or where you went as a child? If that is your defense of your “private” sector experience –what you dad did — well, I’m flummoxed, I admit defeat, it is inarguable.
    I also have absolutely no way to judge if the AEI or JP Morgan did the right comparison, or how they weighted their study, or if they were wrong in any way. I even have no way of knowing if they were at a bar and had a spare cocktail napkin. I even wrote that I don’t know those things. And so I’ll even stipulate that the graph is a complete and utter bit of nonsense. Chuck the chart. I didn’t even refer to the chart other than as a starting point of Tim’s defense of the resumes of Obama’s appointees. Stick to what I said: I just go by what Tim’s defense offers. And what he offers is thin indeed, and does not qualify any of these people to be in the position they are in except that they are professional politicians. If you all can’t see that, then, too, I admit defeat, for your faith is inarguable. Thanks again for thinking, Jim Hlavac

    Like

  74. Ed Darrell says:

    Idiotic blather, like that interminable screed on this thread by some guy who thinks your name is Tim (for whatever reason), won’t cut it.

    I thought that was interesting, too. It’s not the first time. But I never can tell if they know and just want to get under my skin, or if they do it naively.

    It lends particular poignance to that old line, “If the mountain won’t come to Mohammed, maybe Mohammed will go to the mountain.” In this case, if he thinks it’s Timpanogos talking, and he still won’t listen, well, maybe Jesus was wrong in thinking that anyone would listen when the rocks cry out.

    Thanks, sbh.

    Like

  75. Ed Darrell says:

    I don’t think you gave an accurate summary of the reasons conservatives criticized the Obama administration upon seeing this chart.

    After I wrote the post, I found the Forbes piece where it was first proposed. It was proposed in the guise of wondering about the views expressed in in-cabinet debates about job creation. “One thing is clear: The current administration, compared with past Democratic and Republican ones, marks a departure from the traditional reliance on a balance of public- and private-sector experiences,” the author concluded.

    You may be right. I should have been harder on him. He’s not concerned about the life experiences of the cabinet — he’s probably scared empty-boweled by Hilda Solis’s in-depth, first-hand, frontline view of how big companies try to crush employees in tough times. He’s probably jealous as hell of Rahm Emanuel’s astounding success as a capitalist, and he’s probably afraid Krugman is right — as all indications so far show — and that Bernanke understands Obama’s team is on the right track and will push them to save the American economy, which will mean less goodies for the people in the top 5% of incomes in America, where the author believes himself to be (he’s an investment banker with J. P. Morgan, after all — the company that saved American business partly by increasing his own monopoly in the recessions of the 1890s, and who was put out of that business by the creation of the Fed, which Bernanke now heads).

    But, he may be just genuinely naive about politics and job creation. I wonder if he’s ever had to meet a payroll? I wonder if he’s ever had to lay anybody off? I wonder how many times he’s been laid off? I wonder if his father has cancer and no extra insurance to pay for anything other than a slow death in a hospital ICU?

    Maybe he just doesn’t know, and isn’t really being evil and snarky on purpose.

    Like

  76. sbh says:

    This is another really outstanding piece of work. It’s funny to watch the trolls on this thread wriggling around trying to explain away the evidence. This chart blew up on its very first test. If they really want to try to rehabilitate it, I suggest they do their homework. Pick another president, say Ronald Reagan, and try to explain why the percentage is where it is. Idiotic blather, like that interminable screed on this thread by some guy who thinks your name is Tim (for whatever reason), won’t cut it. Evidence is required, and the burden of proof is now effectively on anyone claiming the chart is evidence of anything at all except the personal notions of its creator.

    Like

  77. […] Obama’s well-qualified cabinet: Conservatives hoaxed by “J. P. Morgan” chart that verifies pre… – A well-analyzed and written disassembly of yet another slanted and dishonest claim – which will still, I have no doubt, be trumpeted by Beck and Limbaugh and O’Reilly and Hannity and the rest of the spokescritters for years. […]

    Like

  78. I don’t think you gave an accurate summary of the reasons conservatives criticized the Obama administration upon seeing this chart.

    Like

  79. Ed Darrell says:

    I guess, Marion, then you’re a clone of the other idiots on this board?

    Nick, I think he meant that the idiots here in the Bathtub are of the highest purity, unadulterated, and therefore containing more idiocy that most blogs’ idiots. And while it frustrates the hell out of me, I suspect he’s close to correct.

    But, no, I hope they don’t breed in any fashion, let alone clone.

    Like

  80. Nick Kelsier says:

    On another piece of Republican crap:

    The RNC has come up with a 10 point plan to determine if you, as a candidate for office, are Republican enough to warrant funding for your campaign. They’ve modeled it after Reagan and his statement that he considers friends anyone who he agreed with 80% of the time. (Pay attention to that percentage, it’s about to become important.)

    1: Smaller Government
    2: Oppose Health Reform
    3: Oppose Cap-and-Trade
    4: Oppose Card Check
    5: Oppose amnesty for illegal aliens.
    6: Support Military calls
    7: Contain Iran, North Korea
    8: Support Defense of Marriage Act
    9: Oppose health care rationing
    10: Oppose Gun Control

    Of course the problem with this purity test of theirs is the fact that it would have kicked out Ronald Reagan. Why? Because Reagan bloated the government and the defecit. He also supported amnesty for illegalaliens. He didn’t listen to the military when the military was telling him to get our troops out of Lebanon. He sold weapons to Iran and he opposed California’s antigay Prop 6 and hosted the first openly gay sleepover at the White House. And he supported the Brady bill….a gun control bill.

    So that means, that according to the Republican litmus test, Reagan only agreed with 4 out of 10 of the things on the litmus test. So I guess that means that Reagan was really a Democrat when he was President.

    Republicans: We hope to win elections by representing a smaller and smaller portion of the American population.

    Like

  81. Nick Kelsier says:

    I guess, Marion, then you’re a clone of the other idiots on this board?

    Like

  82. Nick Kelsier says:

    Jim writes:
    I can say even more clearly, none of these guys has a whit of experience in manufacturing, construction, job hiring,

    Tell me…are you going to say the same about George W Bush’s cabinet? You know like how Mr. Brown, who used to head FEMA was a glorified horse trainer.

    Of course if you come up with people in Shrub’s cabinet that meet your criteria I’m going to point out they were the people who let the economy crash while kissing the ass of the super rich and their cronies.

    So really….you’ve really backed yourself into a corner.

    Like

  83. Ed Darrell says:

    So, all this “private” sector employment is a few years here and there before they plopped themselves into government. To top it off, it was all as lawyers or professors. And so you trash this comment: “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?” “

    George Shultz.
    Dick Cheney.
    Henry Kissinger.
    James P. Baker III.

    Like

  84. Ed Darrell says:

    Jake! What Forbes article is that?

    Like

  85. Ed Darrell says:

    Jim Hlavac said:

    I can say even more clearly, none of these guys has a whit of experience in manufacturing, construction, job hiring,

    Which hiring counts, and which doesn’t? We have several examples of people who started businesses from the ground up, (see Orszag, for example) hired people (Ron Kirk, Kathy Sibelius) . . . why doesn’t their hiring others count as “hiring” experience? I think you just exposed the double standards used in the creation of the first chart.

    . . . job creation, entrepreneurialism . . .

    budgeting . . .

    Look at Orszag, again. Budgeting expertise? Entrepreneur? You must be talking about the Bush cabinets, yes?

    . . . product placement, product development, shipping, receiving, inventory, accounting, materials, warehousing, sales, marketing, promotions, retail, wholesale — in fact, nothing in any sector of the economy that produces anything — other than more laws and academic papers.

    And the people with warehousing and retail floor sales experience in any cabinet including especially W, from 1900 to 2009, were? You can’t name even one?

    Like

  86. Ed Darrell says:

    And as if to make the point that they don’t know what they’re talking about anywhere: “Anonymous” below links to a discussion forum where the administrator charges out claiming Steven Chu’s Nobel (for work he did at Bell Labs, the Nobel-rich emblem of private enterprise research success) somehow has nothing to do with private sector work. I suppose he thinks his entire telephone system comes from the government.

    Accepting any claim to suit one’s bias — is there a word for that in psychology?

    Where were all these critics when the J. P. Morgan chart hit?

    Like

  87. Marion Delgado says:

    Ed Darrell should clone his trolls. For length and delusionality, he has the best crop in the county!

    Like

  88. Porlock Junior says:

    Blast! I NEVER fail to close my tags.

    Like

  89. Porlock Junior says:

    Very nice analysis. The volume of blather in response takes some effort to get past, but it’s worth it to get to the end.

    I put a link to this at Oliver Willis’s site, though with perhaps less courteous language.

    Mountain High is entirely right, of course, logically. However, logic is not particularly relevant in a polity that buries the unthoughtful in a mass of nonsense that persuades their reptilian brains that this is the accepted truth. We need to provide volume on the other side, so it’s better if the volume consists of reality.

    Like

  90. Jim Hlavac says:

    Now, this Tim says this in response to “The “J. P. Morgan” chart from AEI” chart which purports to show business world experience for our current cabinet as compared to past cabinets. I have no idea as to the veracity of previous cabinet rankings. Nor do I really know much about the real resumes of any of the people listed below. I only have what Tim Panogos says. And he says the chart “is a hoax.”
    OK, so let’s look at what Tim says is the business world experience of the cabinet we have. My comments in bold.
    Tim provides: “ 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:” I trust Tim! Heh, heh.
    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. What on earth does his father’s resume have to do with Joe’s? When does anyone put on their resume what their father did?   Biden attended a private university’s law school (Syracuse) Every university is vastly funded by tax dollars in one way or the other, and few, if any, are wholly funded by students paying a tuition which covers 100% of the operating costs of the university. To call a university “private” when it survives on public dollars is a bit of a stretch. … and operated a successful-because-of-property-management law practice for three years before winning election to the U.S. Senate.  What on earth is a “because-of-property-management law practice” — never heard the term, never saw it written before. But still, three years in a law practice is his sole “private” experience making and selling things – oh no, that’s right, he was a lawyer, reading books and arguing issues. (I regard a campaign as a private business, too — and Biden’s first campaign was masterful entrepreneurship.) Tim thinks convincing people to put you in a position to tax their money is a job? Thus, by logic, a panhandler is gainfully employeed. And what was he making? Words. And what was he selling? Himself. And what was his product? Himself. My, what an entrepreneur indeed, to sell oneself into the lap of luxury on other people’s money. Indeed, he had to rely on campaign donations – and donations are not prices which are set by costs and a reasonable profit. And what profit did Joe earn? That’s what private businesses do, they earn a profit. What was Joe’s profit? 40 years living off the public. It’s just a higher form of welfare, really.
    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, Yes, in a small southern state this brilliant woman worked her way to the top of the pile in the fanciest law firm in town because of her prowess in being married to the governor. Would anyone believe that Mrs. Clinton was hired purely because of what she knew? Or was it part who she knew, and knew very well indeed. In bigger cities we have bridges to sell. … one of the “Top 100 Lawyers” in a classicly dog-eat-dog business. Oh sure, no reason to dis the governor’s wife, far better to put her on the list somewhere – and if Tim knew she was on the list, why not just go ahead and tell us whether she was say, 10 or 90? Com’n Tim, give us the facts.
    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. What difference does it make if he traveled the world with his father? How old was he when he did this? Did he run after Euro damsels in distress at his ugly American advances or was he diligently at the meetings with dad? And the Ford Foundation makes nothing, but spends the money that a certain car company makes. But how is it remotely relevant to his ability to be Tresury Secretary?  He graduated from private universities, with an A.B. from Dartmouth and an M.A. in economics from Johns Hopkins. So did so many guys and gals who actually worked making something, he was not the only one with this – and how is earning a degree “real world business experience?” It is merely earning a degere. The homeless shelters of America are filled with degreed savants.   Starting his career, he worked three years in the private sector with Kissinger Associates. He had but three years with a whatever firm. What did they make? After significant positions at Treasury and State Departments, Government. he again ventured into the private sector with the Council on Foreign Relations; What on earth? The CFR is a rich man’s club, some would call it a rich man’s conspiracy club, but that’s neither here nor there because the CFR does not earn profits. It is a non-profit private club. It makes nothing, ships nothing, nor takes raw materials and parts and pieces and assemble them into anything useful … trom their [sic, really] he moved to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York — in what is at worst a semi-public organization. Gotta’ laugh to think that the Federal Reserve Board is semi-public – and shouldn’t that be semi-private if you are touting private experience? But really, semi?   Running a Federal Reserve Branch is among the most intensive jobs one can have in private sector economics and management. There Tim goes again – monitoring private sector performance is not working in the private sector. Writing reports about what other people have done is not really productive work that adds anything to the quality of life of any American, especially when the Fed seems not to have a clue about what to do.  If an analyst at a bank named after J. P. Morgan didn’t understand that, one wonders just what the person does understand. This gratuitous attack at unnamed analysts is not a good way to promote the resume of any man.
    Secretary of Defense Robert Gates – Private sector experience:  Yes, at high levels. YES Tim says and then in every word refutes his own Yes: (it really is awe inspiring to see such a complete refutation of one’s own Yes.) 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. Yes, not one hour in a private company and personally involved in making anything ever.
    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, All government Salazar was a successful private-practice attorney from 1981 to 1985, Four Years a lawyer does not a capitalist make. and then again from 1994 to 1998 when he won election as Colorado’s Attorney General. Government As Senator, Salazar maintained a good voting record for a Republican business-supporting senator; Government Salazar is a Democrat.  Salazar’s family is in ranching, Ah, as an owner of a biohazard spewing manure pit or as a ranchero pushing cows into stalls? Not to mention, how is one’s famly relative to one’s resume? My mother was a nurse – and I therefore qualified to direct nurses around the hospital? And what did young Kenny do down on the ranch? Did he run it? What did he make for profit? Fat cows for market? A green house gas producer in charge of our Interior itself? The horrors! and he is usually listed as a “rancher from Colorado,” Yes, perhaps, but was he a rancher or did his father and uncle own a ranch? with life experience in the ranching business at least equal to that of former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Conner. Well, a Republican woman whose father owned a ranch but who herself went off to law school and a career in government is touted as a paradigm of ranch handiness. Palin is quite the outdoorswoman too, I wonder if Salazar is at least equal to the former governor in oh, sausaging a moose?
    Secretary of Agriculture Thomas J. Vilsack – Private sector experience:  Yes, signficant.  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. So, for many years, if not all of his experience as a lawyer he was a politician. Hmmm, a vast private business making what? How many ounces of iron and pounds of wood did he have to machine into a widget to be attached to a framis that was conjoined to the hickle that is on the car he drove home? 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, Why not call his office to find out? Locke was in private law practice from 1975 A lawyer makes what? He fabricates what? He sells what? He ships, receives, plans, allocates space in a factory for? Hires whom? Deals with what union? Has OSHA and EPA and Water and Sewage and whomever else wants to poke around? Hmm, vast experience arguing, that’s experience indeed on the factory floor, at the loading dock, in the mill and at the trade show competing against a dozen other guys hawking a very similar product to your own and engaged in commerce. through his election as Executive in King County in 1993 (is that a full-time position?). Hmm, 2 million people in Seattle and Suburbs in King County – hmmn, and did he look at the website of the county and see how the executive of any county in America is 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, Oh yeah, ex-governor as lawyer down at the courthouse filing motions in divorce cases, I’m sure. 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. Can anyone anywhere say that they put their father and mother on their resume? What audacity indeed, Tim.   She overachieved in high school and ignored her counselor’s advice to avoid college, and earned degrees from Cal Poly-Pomona and USC. Oh, that’s private sector experience indeed.   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. Insignificant? How about invisible?
    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). Working as a lawyer lobbyist for lawyers has what to do with Health and Human Services? How did one moment of her 12 years in this field equip her to understand health and human services?   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. No, I don’t think a chimp would count as “business experience” destroying business, dictating to businesses you don’t own, impeding businesses, suing businesses, wrecking busienss, taxing and regulating businesses. Now, if she had started her own pure and angelic insurance company that did nothing so evil as to require regulation she might well have beat out the competition which by this very admission was not doing a good job for their customers. She clearly said she had a better way – and then did nothing to implement it except to limit what other people were doing. No, that’s not private at all, that’s coercion.
    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. Something is significant because it bugs someone else? What? How about Miss Muffett’s fear of spiders which sat down beside her was a significant private enterprise activity in tuffett making.   4% 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). Government. In the private sector, he worked for the Community Preservation Corporation, a non-profit in New York City, Government funded and compliant to the will of power 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. Oh, yes, well, taxing people has always been rough. Every leader has dealt with it in his own way. But none, not in my study of history, ever thought to say that they had private sector experience (in the lingo of their time) because they beg, borrowed and perhaps obtained by hook or by crook money from person A to give to person B because you, person C thought it was simply a grand idea. Not even Marie Antoinette tried that one.
    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. No, it’s government, the government owns the schools and sets the rules for those few it doesn’t, even for home schooling it sets the rules, it’s govenrment. Look, there, the elephant in the room. And how does a teacher no so much about transportation? And a presumably elementary school teacher, my what he must now about airports and highways, bridges and tunnels, Why the children tell him so, and his father drove down a pike one day to a bridge that crossed a river. 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. Oddly, he’s part an parcel of the rest, hence working people TEA parties.
    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. For 11 years he was locked in a lab making what? Oh, lasers, yes, well, they can scan things at the market now.   Having won a Nobel for private sector work, he won a nobel for science, not for Private sector activity, for he would have won it had he worked for the govenrment which I’m sure, has never, no, not once, put a dime into a grant to Bell Labs, not that it was founded by a company that was granted a monopoly and had a guranteed profit, even during the time he worked there. Hmm, no government there. 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. Nothing so private as a highly regulated busienss funded by the government.  (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. Yes, basketball qualifies someone to run a multibillion dollar behemoth for all education in the nation: 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. Ah, so four years of private sector experience in a sector so heavily dependent on government and forced to do its bidding at every turn is private experience. Yes, and no doubt that private company was either trying to get out of the maw of government and could not, or was so stuck in the trough that it could not be pried out. No word on which Tim? Why’s that?
    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. Government for sure.   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. Oh, yes, his board experience was very relative to actually running the companie rather than to be the famous general on the board of said company that gave access to government. Can you say revoling door Tim?
    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, Napalitano joined the distinguished Phoenix firm Lewis & Roca, where she practiced privately for nine years Nine years as a lawyer is certainly much experience for running the Coast Guard and the airports and the water ports, and no doubt she got much port experience out there in Phoenix, now that the seas have risen. 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. Yes, well, helping a government funded professor go after a government funded, um, academic on the way to a government job while working for some government funded attack team of attorney advisors is certainly a job producing taxpaying entity.
    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 toBill Clinton, in 1998 Emanuel resigned from his position in the Clinton administration and became an investment banker atWasserstein Perella (now Dresdner Kleinwort), where he worked until 2002. Oh yea, having a well connected ex-Clintonian is of course a great help in making, how do they say, rain, but jobs? 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 – why how successful, and not a penny due to connections at the trough of ex-Clintonians no doubt according to Congressional disclosures. At Wasserstein Perella, he worked on eight deals, including the acquisition by Commonwealth Edison of Peco Energy now too big to fail I’d guess. 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. I don’t think that any investment bank would complain about an investment banker making investments he could bank on, perhaps it was the cushy deal because of the Clinton connection? Beats me. I can’t assign motives to people I never met.
    Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson– Private sector experience:  No, significant.  64% of cabinet with private sector experience, 18% without.  Despite a brilliant clear 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. Oooh, a valedictorian in highschool has tons of environmental experience. To use highschool wonders as a claim to be qualified as EPA Administrator is a bit odd, no? I can see a highschool grad today getting a job as a manager of a 2,000 employee factory making something, yes, I can, for I had a dream of hope and audacity.
    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). And he made what? He marketed what? Sold what? Managed what factory? Did what retail? Oh, he consulted.
    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, Again with the dad? I had three uncles who were postmen, I guess I can be the US trade rep, wow!. Ron Kirk used academic achievement to get through law school. Um, that’s what anyone does, we all use academic achievement to get through 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. Yes, regulation is certainly a private sector activity, no doubt. About a year later he ran for and won election as Mayor of Dallas, considered a major business post in Texas. A mayor as business? In a state with no corporate income tax? Seriously?   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. Oh yes, representing corporations on the government dole in dealing with government is certainly private making of things we all use.
    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. How does one use consulting with McKinsey, a company which I applied to just out of college also, though I was declined, which is why I went and hired people and made things and earned a salary and then a profit rather then start the climb to the megagovernment of the UN. And what private sector manufacturing jobs, or retail or wholesale did she use to get to the UN? And how did all this private sector experience help her in understanding the 194 some odd nations of the UN? I at least speak a passable Spanish and Czech – does Ms. Rice speak anything but English and bureaurcratese?
    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. Yes, since it happened in her own brain, as does everyone else’s, her education was indeed 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.
    And what do I conclude after this tour de force by Tim Panogos in defendign the business acumen of the Obama cabinet? Each and every “private” sector experience of these people is in law and dealing with the government and in government itself. This is by Tim’s own admission – his facts – I trust him to report the truth. Yet, what remains true is that not one of these people ever had a hand in manufacturing anything, hiring anyone (except perhaps another lawyer,) or bringing raw materials and parts and pieces into a coherent whole of a product that I can find in any retail or wholesale outlet. Not a one earned a profit. Not a one paid taxes on anything other than income and capital gains. Not a one made anything corporeal, that I can hold in my hands or view with my eyes. Not a one didn’t scurry for power at the first opportunity. Not a one is a citizen legislator, but instead a career politician. And oddly, not a one has a shred of experience in the area over which he or she now has surzereigneity. It’s amazing, too, that Tim makes the case. Odd, so odd, that I’m dumbfounded.

    Like

  91. Jake says:

    Private-sector experience is not wealth-creation experience, and more wealth is definitely what we need right now. Redistributing the existing amount of wealth to more people will eventually leave everyone unhappy. Which is the original graph designer’s point, I would guess, along with the assumption that if a cabinet requires diversity in terms of skin color or sex it should also require diversity in professional backgrounds. There also seems to be an issue that much of the private-sector experience came at ivory tower levels, not on the ground where the profit motive and profit and loss are life and death. While many of Obama’s cabinet are extremely bright, able individuals, most of them were drawn from sectors of the economy that do not produce capital but merely ensure its efficient distribution and allocation. The country’s economic engine would not function without the lubrication of lawyers and teachers, but you still need the for-profit folks moving the pistons up and down. I just hope that the cabinet members have seen enough piston work in their private-sector days to realize that only more pistons and not more wd-40 is what we need.

    As an aside, the forbes article the graph comes from limited the cabinet member comparison to only those whose portfolios are directly connected with economic matters. So Joe Biden, Susan Rice, Bob Gates, etc. don’t get counted. Perhaps they should have been, but then you would need Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld, and John Bolton counted too.

    Like

  92. Jim Hlavac says:

    So, all this “private” sector employment is a few years here and there before they plopped themselves into government. To top it off, it was all as lawyers or professors. And so you trash this comment: “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?” ”
    Well, it’s true then, since in being lawyers and professors for a few years meant that they did not run business, did not make investment (for economic growth, not for big name cushy mergers) did not hire people and did not sell a product. They are lawyers for God’s sake. Lawyers don’t run companies that make things, they “practice” law. And a professor? In “private sector” employment? You jest, surely. When nearly all funds for universities comes from government in one form or the other, and professors on are on the grant-o-rama system, and you think this is private sector anything? And why on earth would you say what their father’s did? So what if their father was a ditch digger or a baker? How does that effect each of these cabinet folk’s resume? Since when does what your father did go on your resume? Oh, yeah, since royalism started creeping back into the picture. But, not that you gave me all this information on these guys resumes I can say even more clearly, none of these guys has a whit of experience in manufacturing, construction, job hiring, job creation, entrepreneurialism, budgeting, product placement, product development, shipping, receiving, inventory, accounting, materials, warehousing, sales, marketing, promotions, retail, wholesale — in fact, nothing in any sector of the economy that produces anything — other than more laws and academic papers. But thanks for the heads up about the lack of real world business experience in any part of free enterprise — though, true “lawyers” and “professors” are “privately” funded — yah, by the taxes on the folks who make and sell things.

    Like

  93. Ed Darrell says:

    So, Anon, how do you know this?

    Why was the guy so crabby about lawyers in private practice? He must have failed miserably at the LSAT . . .

    Where are the methodologies available to make a straight up comparison?

    I figure, Rahm Emanuel was a spectacular success at investing. He made roughly $4 million a year, his clients presumably much more. Most people work a lifetime for less than $2 million — so can we credit Emanuel with 8 lifetimes of experience? Why not?

    If these bozos don’t want to deal with the facts, they can offer their methodologies, I figure. And if they don’t, it’s probably because their methodologies are unfair and indefensible, so must be hidden.

    In any case, a rational person looking for “private sector experience” wouldn’t discount a lawyer’s representation of an historically on-the-border of corrupt company like Chiquita Brands. Representing them should count triple, don’t you think?

    So, where’s the methodology?

    Like

  94. anon says:

    No the author was simply not so generous with giving credit for private sector experience as you, perhaps he didn’t share your particular agenda. And before you attack his agenda, note that he subjected prior administrations to the same metric as well. You have not.

    http://www.forbes.com/2009/11/24/michael-cembalest-obama-business-beltway-cabinet.html

    Lawyers in private practice, for example, were only given 1/3 credit.

    Like

  95. Nick Kelsier says:

    Wow hattip do you spout a bunch of malarky.

    Oh and by the way…the most incompetent President and cabinet we’ve had in the last 40 years wasn’t a Democrats…it was Bush’s.

    Like

  96. hattip says:


    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.

    Like

  97. Why are we even bothering addressing these ridiculous hoaxes – 1) Moslem, 2) Born outside US, etc

    If someone claimed that JFK was Jewish, would anyone take them serious.

    Why bother to reply.

    Like

Please play nice in the Bathtub -- splash no soap in anyone's eyes. While your e-mail will not show with comments, note that it is our policy not to allow false e-mail addresses. Comments with non-working e-mail addresses may be deleted.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: