Obama's Cabinet Lacks Real World Experience

When Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner admitted he has “never had a real job” he was not only talking for his own adult life, but also for President Obama’s Cabinet.

The Cabinet is woefully short of anyone who has owned, or even managed, a business—in other words, real world experience in America’s great free-enterprise system that might influence internal debates on economic and health policies.

This may explain why the White House embarked on a government-only agenda. It wants more spending to supposedly create jobs, not lower taxes to stimulate the private sector. It wants the government to run the healthcare system, changes that are already boosting insurance rates for the middle class. It wants more government intervention in banking and financial markets. Consumers are sure to feel the brunt of extra fees to cover the cost.

Robert Moffit, a health industry analyst at the Heritage Foundation, told HUMAN EVENTS you can see the lack of business experience in the way the Cabinet embraces taxes and mandates.

“They’ve never run a business. They’ve never run so much as a lemonade stand,” Moffit said. “And they want to run the economy. It is a serious issue, especially considering the fact the administration is hell bent on micromanaging something as complex as the healthcare sector of the economy, which impacts pay roll and business profits and profit margins and the allocation of resources for a sector of the economy that is literally the size of France.”

Moffit continued: “It’s a devastating commentary on the lack of preparation for people in these positions. They’ve never run a business. They’ve never actually had to meet a payroll. They’ve never actually spent very much time in the private sector.”

Obama’s new healthcare law, he said, requires employers to offer health insurance if they have 50 or more workers. “That simply says to private market don’t hire any more than 49 employees,” he said. “In a middle of a recession that’s what you’re telling business.”

A Heritage analysis found that employers will also be penalized for hiring low-income people. If such a worker qualifies to purchase health insurance on a new exchange, the employer pays a $3,000 fine, compared with $2,000 per higher-income employee if it fails to offer insurance.

“The problem is the person who would write that, unless they have something against hiring low-income people, it is hard to imagine why they would do it,” Moffit said. “They have no sensitivity to the kind of daily challenges that people in the private sector face in trying to run or start a business or clearly grow a business. And they are doing all of this in the middle of a recession.”

Last April, on CNN, Treasury Secretary Geithner took offense to suggestions he ever worked on Wall Street, the private sector. “What I say is that I never had a real job,” the Treasury secretary said. He opposes extending what are called the “Bush tax cuts.”

Secretary State Hillary Clinton can make the same claim. She is a career social activist, Arkansas and White House first lady and trial lawyer.

One of her top priorities at State is to travel the world urging world leaders to raise taxes. She connects high-tax countries with lower poverty rates, even though actual statistics rebut the claim.

“Brazil has the highest tax-to-GDP rate in the Western Hemisphere, and guess what? It’s growing like crazy,” Clinton said last summer.

Actually, the State Department report on Brazil states its “GDP dropped 0.8% in the first quarter of 2009.”

Let’s look at Cabinet departments with direct impact on small business and corporations.

According to his official biography, Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack is a career politician and lawyer. He served as mayor, state senator and Iowa governor before coming to Washington.

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke is a career lawyer and politician, serving two terms as Washington’s governor, according to his bio. He has, however, devoted much of his career to promoting international trade, and thus, jobs.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebellius, an architect of Obamacare, is a career politician from Kansas, last serving as governor.

Labor Secretary Hilda Solis is career federal worker and California politician, last serving in the U.S. House.

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan lists a number of federal and local government jobs, but says he “worked in the private sector on financing affordable housing.” His bio gives no details.

The bio of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood lists local government jobs in Illinois, a staff job in Congress and his election to the House.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu is a confirmed believer in man-made global warming and has made a number of alarming predictions about the Earth’s fate. He predicts global warming will destroy California cities and turn its vast farming regions into dust bowls.

His biography shows a government career as director of a federal laboratory and as a college teacher.

Environmental Protection Agency Lisa P. Jackson was a 16-year EPA employee who also worked in New Jersey state government.

White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, the driver of Obama’s big-government, high-tax policies, is a career campaign worker and politician.

He broke off his political career in Clinton Administration to join an investment banking firm, though he had no banking experience or finance degree. He earned millions of dollars, then went back into politics in 2001. He also earned $320,000 from Freddie Mac (which made all those bad loans and created the financial crisis) for serving on an obscure board that rarely met.

He resigned his White House post this month to run for Chicago mayor.

Obama’s chief economic adviser is Austan Goolsbee, who is chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers. His official bio lists a number of government and liberal think-tank jobs, and says he was “a frequent contributor to the New York Times.” No listing of any private sector management or ownership.

Some Cabinet or Cabinet-level officials have some experience in private business.

Acting White House Budget Director Jeffrey Zients has been an investor and business consultant.

Interior Secretary Kenneth Salazar seems to be the Cabinet’s corporate representative. He is a former Colorado senator, but also a rancher who has owned a Dairy Queen.