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August 14 2019

The OTHER Patriotic Billionaires

by Charlotte Hays

Quote of the Day:

Our patriotism is measured not in how much we pay in taxes—which is a lot—but in the businesses and the wealth and the jobs we create. We wish Washington would focus on advancing policies that will allow millions of others to experience the American Dream—as we have.

--Bernie Marcus and John Catsimatidis in “Making Money Is a Patriotic Act” in today’s Wall Street Journal 

It is possible to obtain some college loan debt forgiveness by working or a nonprofit or certain government agencies.

The value judgment is clear: it is more virtuous, more patriotic to work for a nonprofit than to enter the grubby world of commerce and profit.

In a must-read op-ed headlined “Making Money Is Patriotic,” two very rich men, Bernie Marcus, chairman of the Marcus Foundation and the Job Creators Network, and John Catsimatidis, retired co-founder of The Home Depot, point out that it is businesses that help the U.S. by creating jobs and services.

Remember the “patriotic billionaires” who dubbed themselves patriots because they want to pay more taxes?

Marcus and Catsimatidis take a different tact:

We believe in a well-funded government, and we understand it is our duty to pay our fair share of taxes. And we do. Some of our financially successful colleagues call themselves “patriotic millionaires” and wish to pay more taxes to the government. We tip our hats to them and hope they write big checks to the Treasury, which accepts voluntary donations.

Yet we oppose higher taxes on “the rich,” for two practical reasons. First, the evidence is clear that higher tax rates would hurt the global competitiveness of the American economy, and thus hurt all Americans. One of us lives in Florida, where there is no state income tax; the other in New York City, with the highest income taxes in the country.

The Empire State is struggling compared with other states; the Sunshine State is booming. More important, we know we can spend our dollars more wisely, and in ways that benefit our communities and our country, than politicians can.

They also create jobs:

The businesses we created have employed hundreds of thousands of Americans. Two of the firms we own we purchased in bankruptcy court, saving more than 5,000 jobs.

Our companies have paid tens of billions of dollars in wages and contributed hundreds of billions to U.S. gross domestic product. They also made the tens of millions of Americans who use our products and services better off. The Home Depot lowered hardware prices across the country. Customers chose us because we offered what they wanted at a price they were willing to pay. That’s the win-win miracle of the free market.

Both men are the sons of immigrants who came to the U.S. with nothing. Both took risks and both now give a tremendous amount of money to charities.

Just for the record: I love working for a nonprofit. We do tremendous work. But, unlike some others in the nonprofit world, we recognize the value of the free enterprise system to make lives better.





Independent Women's Forum is an educational 501(c)(3) dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities. IWF is the sister organization of the Independent Women’s Voice.​
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