Slow Learners on the Left

I know, being on the Left means you’re a slow learner by definition, but still, the story reported the other day that former leftist Congressman David Bonior (D-Managua) has become an entrepreneur and discovered, lo and behold!— regulations are slow and costly!  From the Washington Post earlier this week:

Bonior said if he had the power, he would lighten up on pesky regulations.

“It took us a ridiculous amount of time to get our permits. I understand regulations and . . . the necessity for it. But we lost six months of business because of that. It’s very frustrating.” (Emphasis added.)

This led Michigan legislator Charles Owens to observe in the Detroit News:

About the only way to get a die-hard liberal politician to understand how the economy of business really works is to require them to run an actual business. . . For almost three decades, Congressman Bonior did have the power. He used it to increase the regulatory burden on business – especially small business. How delightful that he finally figured out what we, small business-people, were trying to tell him during those years was true. Not that it does us a whole lot of good now.

Bonior isn’t the first slow learner on the left to recognize the problems of regulation once they started investing their own money.  Recall George McGovern in 1992 writing about how regulations had helped kill his hotel venture in New England:

In retrospect, I wish I had known more about the hazards and difficulties of such a business, especially during a recession of the kind that hit New England just as I was acquiring the inn’s 43-year leasehold. I also wish 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.

McGovern’s hotel enterprise eventually went bankrupt—just like the governing ideology he and Bonior supported in Congress for decades.  Maybe we should make owning and operating a business a qualification for being elected to Congress in the first place.

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