About entrepreneurs

Everybody is piling on the President’s remarks about entrepreneurs. You know, his “You didn’t build that.” remark. I think the Republicans are using that as a theme for one of their convention nights. Something along the lines of “We DID build it.”

I guess what concerns me more is an attitude that we hear all our lives. It is related to “You didn’t build that.” But it is more basic. It is that if somebody is rich, he took it from someone else. And because the rich guys take from others, the others end up poor.

We hear it on an international scale. The Arab countries are rich because they took wealth from other countries. By charging outrageous prices for their oil. Because the poor countries pay so much for oil, they become poorer.

The former mother countries are rich because they stole from the former colonies. And the former colonies are poor because the mother countries stole from them.

Socialists and communists often have such attitudes. Toward other countries. (Cuban communists reckon Cubans are poor because Americans are rich.) And toward their own people. (If he is rich he must have impoverished others to become so.)

Such arguments sometimes hold a little water. But often they do not. For instance, many former colonies have been free for many years. But have progressed little in the wealth department. Or in any department, except corruption. Yet other former colonies have thrived. Some have prospered with few if any natural resources.

For Cubans to blame Americans or the embargo for their lack of progress – well, it is laughable. Dozens of countries traded with Cuba during the worst of the embargo. Cuba’s real problem is communism. That was China’s problem. Castro wrenched power from a corrupt regime. But then he piloted Cuba over a waterfall called communism.

Back to the question of how the rich turn others into paupers.

Consider the wealthiest people you know. Then tell us how it was they impoverished others to gain their wealth. There are a few, of course. Bernie Madoff comes to mind. In other words, crooks impoverish their victims.

But how about rich guys like Ted Turner. And Warren Buffet. And Steve Jobs. And the Microsoft guys. And Henry Ford. And the original Rockefeller. And Ralph Lauren. And Donald Trump.

How is it that these guys impoverished others while building their wealth? What did they take from others? Well, they took others’ money when they sold them products. But the people who forked over the money must have figured they were getting back something of equal value. Otherwise, they would not have given up the gold.

Millions of Americans feel that rich folks are only rich because they take from others. And that in doing so they push those others into poverty. Certain politicians have been encouraging millions of Americans to believe this. “You’re poor because those guys are rich. The rich don’t pay their fair share.”

At this point, some readers are saying “Hey, Morgan, you always side with the rich.” Well, I am not siding with anyone here. I merely ask: Crooks aside, who do the wealthy impoverish as they build their fortunes?

From Tom ... as in Morgan.

For more columns and for Tom’s radio shows and new TV shows (and to write to Tom): tomasinmorgan.com.

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