During my senior year in college, several of myclassmates were discussing an article in the local paper, which chronicled howa local university (not mine) was in dire financial straits.
My roommate, whom many of us had little doubt would endup a gazillionaire (for those keeping score at home, he ultimately did), gaveeveryone in the room an impromptu lecture on how a college had to be run bybusiness people, not educators.
He insisted that had an MBA or an accountant been incharge of said college instead of some foppish egghead with a Ph.D, they wouldnot be in their current malaise.
I recalled this radical theory of institution managementover the past two weeks as a pair of CPAs - one from California and the otherfrom New York - have begun campaigns for Congress and the Senate respectively,claiming that their accounting and financial backgrounds would help fix theirstates' budget woes.
In California, Phil Liberatore, a CPA and founder of IRSProblem Solvers, a taxpayer resolution company, is gearing up to challengeRepublican incumbent Rep. Gary Miller, who has held that seat in California's42nd district since 1999.
The district, which encompasses parts of Los Angeles,Orange and San Bernardino Counties, comprises a heavily conservativeelectorate, a demographic Liberatore claims Miller has failed, citing hisrecord of voting with Democrats on over 400 occasions.
With the vote scheduled for June, Liberatore claims thathis election will be a step toward "restoring fiscal sanity to ourcountry."
Some 2,500 miles to the east, former New York GOPCongressman and Arthur Andersen partner Joseph DioGuardi has thrown hiseyeshades into the ring challenging Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.
DioGuardi, who represented Westchester County in theHouse from 1985-1988, says his financial acumen will help bring jobs back toNew York and put America back on the right track.
DioGuardi, the first practicing CPA elected to Congress,authored the CFO Act, which assigned a CFO to each major department and agencyin the federal government, as well as the book "Unaccountable Congress: ItDoesn't Add Up."
To the younger generation, DioGuardi, for better orworse, is more well-known as the father of Kara DioGuardi, one of the judges on"American Idol," than for his tenure as a lawmaker.
But I digress.
It would be hard to imagine two states with more budgetwoes than New York and California, not to mention a bleaker picture nationally.
Thirty years ago, my roommate exhorted the merits ofbusiness people in charge. And let's face it, is there a business any largerthan state and federal governments?
Maybe CPAs can make a difference. They could hardly doworse than those in office currently.
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