Deregulating Entrepreneurship Enables Upward Mobility

(p. A15) I saw the power of entrepreneurship firsthand after co-founding the Home Depot. My experiences led me to believe that preserving and expanding entrepreneurship is the key to advancing racial and economic equality.

. . .

With almost no money, I had the idea to open a hardware store, a lumberyard and a garden store all in one. What began as a single store in Georgia grew to more than 2,000 locations nationwide and made me a billionaire in the process. Only in America could a member of an ethnic minority from a poor immigrant family write that kind of success story.

. . .

You can see the entrepreneurs driving around town in their trucks full of tools and material. Many of them are minorities. They don’t consider themselves victims of racial wealth or income gaps; they are actively overcoming economic disparities through work.

That isn’t happening only in building and landscaping. In almost every part of the economy, you’ll find entrepreneurial minorities breaking through difficult circumstances to achieve and live the American Dream. Accelerating this process is the key to bridging the country’s economic divides.

Unfortunately, government is moving in the wrong direction, erecting hurdles to entrepreneurship. My company wouldn’t have succeeded if it had started in today’s climate of regulations and taxes that disproportionately burden small businesses. The Home Depot almost went bankrupt several times in its first decade, and today’s policy environment would have tipped us into insolvency—as it does to countless entrepreneurs each year.

The biggest victims of bad government policy aren’t the elite; they will always be able to get into good schools and get their foot in the door of corporate America. The people hurt most by big government are those who lack advantages in becoming economically independent, often minorities.

For the full commentary, see:

Bernie Marcus. “Entrepreneurship Will Lift Minorities Up.” The Wall Street Journal (Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2023): A15.

(Note: ellipses added.)

(Note: the online version of the commentary has the date January 9, 2023, and has the title “A History of Humanity in Cubits, Fathoms and Feet.”)

Marcus’s commentary is adapted from his foreword to this book:

Ortiz, Alfredo. The Real Race Revolutionaries: How Minority Entrepreneurship Can Overcome America’s Racial and Economic Divides. Conroe, TX: Defiance Press & Publishing, LLC, 2023.

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