In a recent letter to the editor, several supporters of Democratic House candidate Jim McCormick argued that his experience as a public school administrator is equivalent to private sector business experience because he has managed money, budgets and people.
In no way do I wish to disparage government administrators, but they can’t be compared to private sector business owners.
First, private sector business owners like Jim Lucas risk their own money. That’s a massive distinction. Government administrators spend other people’s money and if they waste it, their personal finances are unaffected.
Private business owners don’t have guaranteed incomes or benefits. If the business suffers, they take home less and often they pay themselves nothing to keep the doors open. Government administrators are paid far more than the average taxpayer. Their benefits are far more expensive and they pay much less for them. And because they have contracts they are protected against economic downturns that cause many private businesses to fail.
Private sector businesses have to comply, under the threat of penalty or prosecution, with thousands of costly and burdensome regulations imposed on them by politicians and bureaucrats who don’t have to live by the same rules. And private sector business owners have to be competitive on price, quality and service or they lose their customers. American students are falling farther behind their international competitors exactly because our public schools are under no such pressure to improve.
Finally, it should be noted that Mr. McCormick’s job wouldn’t have existed at all without the personal financial sacrifices imposed on private sector businesses and taxpayers. Neither would his pension or health care plan, which most small business owners could never afford to give themselves.
With all due respect to Mr. McCormick, and without questioning his competency as an administrator, it is an insult to private sector business owners to compare his experience to theirs. Jim Lucas and other small business owners risk far more. They work much longer days. They take many fewer vacations, if any. They have no union or contractual protections against losing their jobs or their incomes. They have many more and much larger regulatory and tax obligations. And they can’t force their customers to pay higher prices in the way that government can raise taxes to balance the budget. For small business owners in the 69th legislative district, Jim Lucas is the clear choice because he’s walked in their shoes.
Indiana State Director of National Federation of Independent Business
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