Phil Hauck's TEC Blog

Monday, October 22, 2012

George McGovern on Regulations ...

George McGovern died over the weekend at age 90.  He was a Liberal Lion, who came to some conservative understandings late in life.
A few years after he left the Senate after representing South Dakota for 18 years, he fulfilled a lifelong dream by, with others, purchasing the Stratford Inn in Connecticut, complete with a manager and staff.  It failed (with help from the 1991 downturn).  
But he was very impressed with the burdens of regulations.  After the failure, he wrote a lengthy article explaining what he went through, including this question:  "Can we make consumers pay the higher prices for the increased operating costs that accompany public regulation and government reporting requirements with reams of red tape?"
Listen to him, about 20 years ago:
•  "The papers today are filled with stories about businesses dropping health coverage for employees.  We provided a substantial package for employees.  However, were we operating today, those costs would exceed $150,000 a year ... (and there is) no reasonable way for us to absorb or pass on these costs."
•  Despite bankruptcy, "we are still dealing with litigation from individuals who fell in or near our restaurant.  Despite these injuries, not every misstep is the fault of someone else.  Not every such incident should be viewed as a lawsuit instead of an unfortunate accident.  And while the business owner may prevail in the end, the endless exposure to frivolous claims and high legal fees is frightening."
•  "'One Size Fits All' rules for business ignore the reality of the market place.  And setting thresholds for regulatory guidelines at artificial levels --- e.g., 50 employees or more, $500,000 in sales -- takes no account of other realities, such as profit margins, labor intensive vs. capital intensive businesses, and local market economics."
•  "The problem we face as legislators is:  Where do we set the bar so that it is not too high to clear?  I don't have the answer.  I do know we need to start raising these questions more often."
-- Access George McGovern's article by Googling:  A Politician's Dream is a Businessman's Nightmare, by George McGovern, 1992.

1 comment:

  1. Phil, I sometimes dream of a 'new' breed of politician from either or any party who would put reason and commonsense back into the equation. How about really understanding the issues, compromising as needed to achieve change and then moving forward! What a concept! (But I'm not holding my breath...) Take Care, Big Daddy Dave