Skip to main content

The Lockean Project

Has Anyone in Washington Run a Business?

“Has Anyone in Washington Run a Business? George McGovern learned the hard way. Now, it’s President Biden’s turn,” Wall Street Journal –July 20, 2022, print edition.

Your editorial reminds me of a stunning admission by George McGovern in his famous article in the Journal (“A Politician’s Dream is a Businessman’s Nightmare,” Manager’s Journal, June 1, 1992). After a lifetime in Congress, the 1972 Democratic presidential candidate earned a small fortune in postretirement speeches and in 1988 purchased an inn in Stratford, Conn. It went bankrupt in 1990 and closed the next year.

Ironically, the liberal icon blamed his business failure on suffocating federal, state and local regulations. Although passed with good intentions—to help employees, protect the environment and so forth—they were bad for business, McGovern acknowledged in his op-ed. “I also wish,” he confessed, “that during the years I was in public office, I had had this firsthand experience about the difficulties business people face every day. That knowledge would have made me a better U.S. senator and a more understanding presidential contender.”

Francois Melese, Pacific Grove, Calif.