There has been much consternation heaped upon Mr. Eduardo Saverin for his decision to renounce his American citizenship after becoming a billionaire through his co-development of FaceBook. How dare he come to this country, make all of this money, and then leave just when he would start paying taxes on all of those billions.
What ever happened to capitalists being looked at as heroes instead of villains. At one point the successful capitalists wew idolized. Look at Henry Ford who developed a way to mass produce cars and lower the price so that they were no longer the playthings of the rich. Look at Andrew Carnegie who developed great steel mills that produced the skeleton of many of the great sky scrapers many people work in today. At one time these men were idolized. People wanted to be like them. Now we demonize them and covet what they have.
Before Sam Walton had his vision, people in small towns were forced to pay a big premium or go without. It was also necessary to spend several hours, running all over town to get all that was needed. Even those in larger cities benefitted eventually as Wal-Mart began to come into the cities and was able to use its scale to drive producers to bring down the cost of production.
By establishing Wal-Mart, Sam Walton greatly improved the lives of the middle and lower class by giving them access to goods they could not afford otherwise. He dramatically improved the lives of those in small towns by giving them access to goods that they would not be able to buy at all without travelling to a city, and at all hours of the day, seven days a week. (In many towns, lacking a mall, teenagers hang out in the Wal-Mart parking lot on Friday nights.)
There are also many businesses that would not have been created if it weren’t for the lower prices created by Wal-Mart. Because individuals now have access to items in bulk that were previously only available to large businesses, they were able to open businesses and charge lower prices.
While many wealthy individuals mourn the loss of the quaint Mom and Pop store, most working people didn’t have the time to go all over town or the ability to pay the premium. In addition, Mom and Pop stores typically only employed Mom and Pop. Because of Wal-Mart there are a lot of individuals who don’t have the passion, ambition, or confidence to open their own business who are able to find jobs.
Despite all of these benefits, Wal-Mart is routinely the target of nuisance lawsuits and state and city legislation designed to punish them. Rather than being seen as a great American Innovator, Sam Walton is often portrayed as an evil capitalist who cheats his suppliers and employees. Many of his detractors, however, find themselves in his stores on saturday night, thankful they can buy something needed for a plumbing repair or a new baby.
While some feel an entitlement to some of Mr. Saverin’s wealth, even if he never pays a dime of US taxes, the company his investment helped create employs more than 3500 individuals. He has been much more efficient than any government stimulus plan at creating jobs in the US. Saving the money lost on Solyndra alone would probably more than offset much of the money not collected from Mr. Saverin.
America rose to become a great power – economically and militarily – by providing a climate of economic freedom and assigning praise to those who were willing and able to use it to create great companies and with them, great wealth. America’s star is shining less bright than it once did. Perhaps it is time not to vilify Mr. Saverin, but instead ask why America isn’t a place he would wish to stay.
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Picture Creidts: April Bell http://www.sxc.hu/profile/aprilbell