For some reason CEOs and founders of retail chains seem to love to get involved in politics, even if they have zero experience in the matter. Hobby Lobby famously took their opposition to birth control all the way to the Supreme Court, for example. Granted, the court sided with them, but how much money did it cost them to take that case through the court system and how much bad publicity did it get them? Now the founder of Home Depot, Bernie Marcus, has thrown his hat into the political ring by endorsing Donald Trump.
Of course, like Trump himself, Marcus can’t make a political statement without talking about how great his company is.
‘But I draw even more from lessons learned when we founded The Home Depot in 1978 rather than from the contentious GOP primary of 2016. I genuinely believe that if we started The Home Depot today, we would fail because of the hurdles government, especially the current administration, places in front of small business owners. I never forget The Home Depot’s small business roots – we started as a small business with four stores in Atlanta, Georgia. ‘
He went on to complain about over-taxation and regulation, despite the fact that the United States’s effective corporate tax rate is one of the lowest in the industrialized world.
‘ I have never seen our government as hostile to free enterprise, especially small business, as it is today. It is driving over-regulation, over-taxation, over-litigation, and over-spending. These “overs” are killing small businesses, which create the majority of new jobs in America.’
He then attacked Obama and Clinton for “peddling” a lie about believing that the government can provide a better standard of living than the private sector.
‘Politicians like Obama and Clinton, aided by the media and academia, have peddled a dangerous sentiment that government can provide for Americans better than the private sector. That’s not just false, it’s likely the nexus of Trump’s massively popular slogan, “Make America Great Again.” We saw it first hand.’
We don’t remember Obama or Clinton ever making a statement like that, certainly not in the way that Marcus is implying. The fact is, the government can provide better services than the private sector in many ways. The interstate highway system is one example, as is the military or emergency services. An argument could even be made, and it’s one that the rest of industrialized world has adopted, that the government can provide health care better than the private sector. Even Trump once mentioned that he supported universal coverage via government assistance. In an interview with “60 Minutes,” Trump said everyone’s got to be covered and the government will pay for it.
‘I am going to take care of everybody. I don’t care if it costs me votes or not. Everybody’s going to be taken care of much better than they’re taken care of now…the government’s gonna pay for it. But we’re going to save so much money on the other side. But for the most it’s going to be a private plan and people are going to be able to go out and negotiate great plans with lots of different competition with lots of competitors with great companies and they can have their doctors, they can have plans, they can have everything.’
Perhaps Marcus should do a bit more research on Trump’s positions before he throws his support behind him. But then again, maybe he’s angling for a contract on Trump’s wall.
Featured image via Getty.