Dear Baltimore Sun: Politicians Aren't Business Experts

Editor, Baltimore Sun

Dear Editor:

You opine that Detroit automakers "need to explain in detail to Congress how they intend to eliminate thousands of uneconomical dealerships, swiftly bring their labor costs closer to what Toyota pays its workers in this country, and quickly produce more energy-efficient cars that Americans will want to buy" ("Selling American cars," Dec. 4).

No. These companies deserve investment funds only if they're able to make cars that will sell AND can demonstrate this ability to private investors. Congress is manned by people who specialize in winning popularity contests called "elections." These are not people expert in judging business models, or at pondering the pros and cons of different retail-distribution methods, or equipped to accurately discern the nuances of consumer demands for automobiles, or even – judging from their track record – aware of the most elementary principles of finance and economics.

If, say, you're looking for someone to manage your 401(k), would you entrust that job to Sen. Mikulski or Rep. Hoyer? Of course not, for that's not what they do. So why entrust them and other politicians with the job of investing on a vastly larger scale?


Donald J. Boudreaux

Don Boudreaux is the Chairman of the Department of Economics at George Mason University and a Business & Media Institute adviser.