‘What the hell does he know about economics?’
Home Depot co-founder and billionaire businessman Bernie Marcus isn’t sure he would be able to create the home improvement chain today if he tried given onerous regulations on small businesses and a challenging economic backdrop.
“I don’t think so,” Marcus — a well-known proponent of free market capitalism and small businesses — said on a new edition of Yahoo Finance Presents. “I think if we had the regulations that we have today, Home Depot would be a chain of 12 stores. I just don’t think we could have grown.”
Marcus also had some choice words for politicians, the Biden administration, and notably the occupier of the Oval Office.
“Most of the people in Washington never ran a business,” added Marcus, who is also the new author of Kick Up Some Dust: Lessons on Thinking Big, Giving Back, and Doing It Yourself. “You have a president that never worked a day in his life — never worked a day in his life. What the hell does he know about economics? But he sure spouts about it a lot.”
A new survey out of Bank of America found that among the primary concerns of small businesses are inflation, commodities prices, a potential recession, interest rates, and the U.S. political environment.
Fresh findings in early September on small businesses from Kabbage also were downbeat.
“While revenue is up, the data also revealed overall profits among U.S. small businesses have slightly declined 4% over the same time period,” the survey found. “The data shows small businesses continue to anticipate future economic obstacles as 75% of respondents report feeling impacted by inflationary pressures and 56% expect pressures to last at least a year until summer 2023.”
Marcus, who co-founded with friend Arthur Blank The Home Depot with two stores back in 1979 and who retired as Home Depot chairman in 2002, was also the founder of the influential small business lobbyist the Job Creators Network.
Today, Home Depot is a sprawling retail chain of more than 2,300 stores in the U.S. and Canada.
Marcus reiterated that more needs to be done to empower small businesses.
“Running a business, hiring people, training people and being able to produce a product takes a certain skill and you have to understand that skill,” Marcus added. “Just running a small pizza restaurant, for Christ’s sakes, takes skill. And they’re [small businesses] getting pummeled day to day. And we are fighting on a hill every day to beat some of these regulations. As some we win, some we lose. But there’s nobody out there that really puts the time and effort into it.”
Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and anchor at Yahoo Finance. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn.
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