Regarding the Dec. 5 editorial “Don’t ban businesspeople”:
It is a telling misunderstanding of the revolving-door critique to equate Jeffrey D. Zients’s private-sector history with that of all businesses. Mr. Zients is not a wealthy and respected businessman because he made a particularly good widget or displayed unusual managerial skill.
Mr. Zients led Cranemere Holdings’ investment in NorthStar Anesthesia, a firm with a history of surprise medical billing before and after Mr. Zients’s involvement. NorthStar has bought up rivals and furthered an industry-wide trend toward monopolization under his leadership. These aren’t useful skills. They’re among the root causes of the United States’ economic inequality.
When progressives object to Mr. Zients’s private-sector work, the objection is not to the private sector itself; refusing to appoint anyone who has ever worked for a living is untenable.
But Mr. Zients hasn’t worked for a living for some time — not in the way a bagel shop owner, coder or engineer does. These individuals contribute to the common good. Mr. Zients’s work appears to be mostly taking the contributions of people like small entrepreneurs, coders and engineers and slapping a higher price tag on them. That is not about creatively solving problems; it is about financialization, consolidation and otherwise rigging the system for one’s own profit. Because this type of work is enormously lucrative, it has come to be seen as elite and respectable. It is neither.