How Was DeMaio’s Private-Sector Work Different from a CPA or Attorney?

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Guest Column
by Brian Brady

The far-left (and Nathan Fletcher, when finding it politically convenient to join the far left) criticize Mayoral candidate Carl DeMaio for his private-sector business success:

“I do find it interesting that you made all your money off of government contracts and you say people shouldn’t have wages or salary out of line (with the private sector) when you made millions of dollars off of government,” Fletcher said during a February debate.

Voice of San Diego columnist Liam Dillon got it right…well, partly right:

The law, the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993, came to DeMaio because it had the words “strategic planning” on it.

At the time, few knew anything about the law, which required federal agencies to set specific goals for their performance and measure how they did. DeMaio would help change that. In the process, he would assert himself as an expert in the field, start two million-dollar businesses and set the stage for a political career that now has made him a leading candidate to become San Diego’s next mayor.

How were Carl DeMaio’s firms any different from a public accounting firm or a law firm?

Accountants and attorneys make private-sector fortunes off of compliance with government laws and regulations; that’s exactly what DeMaio did.  In DeMaio’s case, taxpayers actuallly derived a benefit because his firms taught government workers how to measure and improve productivity.  Accountants and attorneys, however, simply ensure that private sector businesses are in compliance with the numerous and arcane government regulations and federal tax code.

Honestly, labor monopolists (read public sector unions) do the same thing.  As government grows, a few bright bulbs realize they can expand their organization to take advantage of the public’s largesse. They convince legislators to mandate their organization so that they can charge monthly employment commissions (union dues).

Limited-government conservatives see the real culprit here — government. 

Government quite literally “creates” jobs, non-productive jobs but jobs nonetheless, when it arrogates power reserved for free citizens.  Government provides opportunities for entrepreneurs, to make money, by being the solution to those government impositions on free citizens.

We see this in military contracts and municipal bond issues. Consultants make fortunes by securing miltary contracts for private companies or for securing bond issues for investment banks.  If the consulting firm is majority-owned by women and/or minorities, the fortune can be even larger.

Donn Clendendon, Jr. (son of the late, great Mets’ first baseman) seized this opportunity in the ’90s.  He opened an investment banking firm in Philadelphia, majority-owned by people of color.  Rather than solicit, analyze, and underwrite municipal bond issues, he could walk into major bracket investment banking firms, who had secured the hottest bond issues, and remind them that a certain percentage of the bonds had to be set aside for minority-owned firms.  The fortune he made off this regulatory opportunity afforded him to partner up with Martin Luther King, Jr. last year, to bid to purchase the New York Mets.

I don’t begrudge Clendendon for his success, rather I roll my eyes at the legislators who guaranteed his profits.  I don’t begrudge CPAs’ or attorneys’ success (even though the only product they produce is a “get out of jail free card'”), I roll my eyes at the legislators who guaranteed their profits.  At least DeMaio produced a product which MAY have a tangible benefit to me as a taxpayer — a more productive employee.

If you scream about DeMaio’s fortune, scream at your CPA, your attorney, your mortgage broker, your real estate agent, your insurance agent, and your doctor — many of whom make fortunes off legislated meddling into the lives of free citizens.  If you’re intellectually honest, you might just do the critical thinking and start screaming at your legislator.

Don’t hate the playa; hate the game.

Limited government conservatives know that the game just plain sucks… so does Carl DeMaio

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Brian Brady is a small business owner who lives in Solana Beach.  He is a director for Stop Taxing Us, the taxpayer advocacy and tea party group.  There, he crafted the “Promise to California taxpayers,” a no new tax pledge candidates make.  He is a candidate for SDGOP Central Committee.

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Comments 1

  1. While I certainly have many reasons for not supporting DeMaio, his wealth and how he achieved it are not among them. That being said, there is a difference making money advising private sector businesses on how to deal with government regulations vs. making money directly from the government. After all, I think most on this site would not favor paying a government lawyer or a government accountant the same as what the best in those professions make in the private sector.

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