I have learned that a person’s philosophy determines their methods. It is obvious that we currently have a war going on in this nation – a war between two philosophies, the one, “capitalism,” and the other “socialism.” The socialist belief is that wealth needs to be redistributed, and those who have wealth need to be punished. The socialist philosophy says the government needs to regulate what a person earns and that it is just not fair for a CEO to make an income that is several percentage points higher than the employee’s. A recent example can be found in the USA Today edition. The tagline read: “SEC Rule will Rein in Runaway CEO Pay.” We seem to have this mentality that the government can determine what is fair and what is not fair. It is not fair for young people to have to pay to go to college, so we need to establish a system where everyone gets a free education. It’s not fair that many folks do not have health care, so we need to establish a system where those with wealth pay for those in need.
The capitalist says that if you are going to win, you must work. You must become educated in areas that will pay you well – whether you learn in college or as many great men and women of wealth have learned, from “street knowledge” (actually learning by experimenting). The capitalist says, “For me to maintain and gain assets, I must often “risk” my own capital. I must invest in people, infrastructure, equipment, and all the other necessities of business”. The capitalist says. “I will step out on faith to fulfill my dreams and the dreams of others.” They understand life is not “fair,” and for them to make it fair they must work harder and smarter. The majority of the wealthy around the world were willing to do what others were not willing to do in order to attain their wealth. In essence, the capitalist is the major engine and producer of a “free enterprise nation.”
Here is something to consider and ponder. When you punish the producer, the producer quits employing others and giving to others in need. I have found a truth in life that many wish not to explore, and it is simply that “poor people can’t help poor people.” In my opinion, this nation was not built on the belief that everyone is equal, but rather that “everyone was born equal in order to become unequal.” Some choose to put it all on the line, often failing financially multiple times before finding their opportunity. These men and women give to the colleges, arts, churches, and thousands of non-profit organizations. Many sit on the boards of non-profits freely sharing their intellectual capital at no charge in order to grow the organization.
I am a capitalist – a full-blown serial entrepreneur. I seek ways to improve on business ideas and concepts to establish another vehicle for helping others and myself. In doing so, I add value to other people’s lives by opening up more jobs and opportunities. Unlike the perception of many socialists that all capitalists are evil people who take advantage of others and depend on luck, I (like many capitalists) grew up with very little. Living in a 400-square-foot home in my early childhood, working at a paper route, assisting the school janitor, packing groceries, and hauling hay – all in my youth – was anything but lucky. As a young husband, I stood under the wings of missiles with an eight-pound sander eight hours a day, scraping the paint down to bare metal in order to repaint the missile. I have been a forklift driver, an appliance delivery person, a midnight shift worker stripping lead from garden hoses. I failed in college and failed in many attempts to provide income from a business. I have lost a tremendous amount of money pursuing business ideas, but like the majority of entrepreneurs, I never asked for a government handout.
I have logged over four million air miles traveling the globe, and I know firsthand what happens when others, especially the government, determine how much a person is worth. When I was young, I heard many of my friends say, “The rich just get richer,” and the way they said it was a putdown for anyone with wealth. My question became, “How do the wealthy create wealth, and what can I learn from their life stories?” My friends, my story is like millions who have created a company or companies, getting up early each morning and working until late each night. They are concerned about those they have employed and their families, they get physically ill when they have to let some of their people go. So the next time you are tempted to punish the producer, consider the world without the capitalist and free enterprise. Do not be jealous or bitter about success in life but rather applaud it like you do your favorite entertainers, sports celebrities, and movie stars who make much more than any CEO but employ no one.