Tuesday, November 01, 2005

AND NOW: The Rest of the Story…

With a tip of the hat to Paul Harvey, sometimes learning the “rest of the story” is the hardest part, as it often involves admitting we’re wrong; that we've made mistakes. Before some of us can do so, we may want to remember that we have a right to be wrong.

Who among us hasn’t made mistakes? I have; my family and friends all have, and we’ll continue to. But the mistakes we’re likely to make won’t necessarily be the same ones each time. If they are, I might suggest that we’re missing the lesson. Nobody learns anything from success. We only learn from our failures, or, if you prefer, our mistakes.

If someone starts a retail business and fails to keep track of the inventory, chances are pretty good that business will fail. If a swimming enthusiast decides to open a pool cleaning service in Barrow, Alaska, chances are pretty good that business will fail, too. There are certain parameters within which our decisions in life must fall, both professionally and personally: Is my inventory shrinking disproportionately to my sales figures? Are there too few clients in my town to sustain a pool cleaning business? We all make mistakes. But if we don’t learn from them (i.e. regularly count the inventory, or choose a warmer climate), we will go "wrong”—meaning we simply won’t reach our destination. It doesn't mean we're "bad" people, or "stupid" people. It just means we need to alter course to get the job done.

I don’t know anyone who has started a business planning to lose money or go bankrupt. However, I know several people who have had to close their doors and layoff scores of employees because of extensive regulations and tax burdens imposed by the federal government: barriers to opportunity, business, and success. The government’s role in business is to remove these barriers, not to impose them.

America is the land of opportunity, and American ingenuity and entrepreneurship are unparalleled elsewhere in the world. The federal government’s job is to help Americans prosper. I think it’s time Congress admitted its own mistakes and stopped impeding the “can-do” spirit here in the San Fernando Valley and nationwide.

But we have to admit our mistakes, too: One might wonder why a member of the House of Representatives would continue to be re-elected after failing at the task of connecting with constituents for almost a decade. Where is the support for our community?

Well, I think we can do a whole lot better, and I've got some ideas in that area...


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