Archive for January, 2012

Why I Like Capitalism

I was a bum in the late 60’s.  I barely made it out of high school, and I flunked out of college at least three times before I finally buckled down and got an Associate’s degree.  Though I hated to paint and was anti-business at the time, I ended up taking  painting job in 1974 with a view to making more money.

In short order my workload increased and I was forced to deal with such things as payroll, taxes, advertising, and the like, learning to keep accurate records of it all.  After 10 years of this and weary of wearing all the hats, I was looking elsewhere when, as Providence would have it, I caught a vision for business.  Thus in 1985 T. L. Hart, Inc. was born.

Now, 27 years later, having generated  tens of millions of dollars in revenue, made and lost money, built a building and lost it, seen 100’s of employees come and go, T. L. Hart is still in business.  During this time I’ve not only supported my family, bought and sold homes, contributed to charity, and provided employment for others, I have established a name in the industry and created an entity which, if I play my cards right, will endure long after I am gone.

All this because I have had the liberty to do so.

My entrepreneurial story has been played out by countless others all across the United States. The freedom to take an idea and invest your time and money into it – with the potential for succeeding and the risk of failing, this is the stuff of America.  It is called capitalism, and it is this economic system that has built and prospered this country for hundreds of years. 

Regrettably, there is a movement underway that threatens our way of life; ostensibly, it’s goal is to help the so-called 99% reclaim what is presumed to have been lost; in reality, its aim is to undermine the very structure that has made America great. To be sure, there is corruption and greed in the corporate halls of America; but not every corporation is corrupt, and not every executive greedy.  To make these kinds of claims is simply dishonest.

With all its apparent weaknesses, capitalism remains America’s best bet for the ongoing betterment of its people; all the proof one needs is seen in other economies of the world.  In comparison there is no comparison.

I believe the late Jim Russell was in his early 40’s when he sold his car for $2,500 and started Russell Business Forms in a spare bedroom of his home.  Eventually renamed RBF, Inc., Jim built an organization that spanned multiple states and employed dozens of people.  Very conservative as it pertained to business and finance, Jim’s company profited wonderfully over the years and, as he was philanthropic, he contributed millions of dollars to various charities, not the least of which was his own Amy Foundation.  Not only that, he helped many others like me and my family, fronting the money for a building program and assisting with my daughter’s college tuition.  Shortly after his death at age eighty in 2005, RBF was sold and the proceeds went to his family, many of whom took the money and started their own businesses.

Such is the beauty of capitalism.  That is why I like it.  And that is why I will stand up for it.


January 2012