Below is my response to Steven Pearlstein’s column in the September 29th edition of the Washington Post. For those of you who missed it, the article was an attack on successful American business owners in the form of a satire on self-absorbed “entitlement.” Here is a link to the full column, and a brief excerpt follows:
I am a job creator: A manifesto for the entitled
by Steven Pearlstein, Washington Post
I am a private-equity fund manager.
I am the misunderstood superhero of American capitalism, single-handedly creating wealth and prosperity despite all the obstacles put in my way by employees, government and the media.
I am a job creator and I am entitled.
Matt Curry’s Response:
Mr. Pearlstein, this is perhaps the most misguided and idiotic article I’ve ever read. You have obviously never started or run a business and know nothing about what it takes, the stress, sacrifice, dedication required–and what it means to put your butt on the line every day. I respect your position as a salaried columnist or your academic position at George Mason University. Even though you aren’t building anything. So you should have some respect for the business achievements of others like me that involve building and growing something–in my case, an enterprise that has created many jobs.
I started my business by taking a 65% pay cut, borrowing $103,000 on 13 credit cards and taking out another $200,000 in equipment loans.
I risked everything to start my thriving business that now employs 120 people who are very well paid. I’ve worked 60-80 hour weeks for 25 years so I could stay in business, expand my business and keep others employed.
I don’t have or ride on corporate jets, a country club membership or box seats.
I don’t get any inside information.
My company doesn’t pay for my home security; I protect it with the right to bear arms.
My stock price, my portfolio and my profits are not even close to record levels. The taxes my company and I pay are out of control.
Yes, we should be entitled to a government that works as well as healthy employees–since we pay a portion of their health insurance. We are entitled to complain about an overbearing government that is wasteful and inefficient. We are entitled to a country that isn’t approaching $16 trillion dollars in debt because of entitlements, waste, fraud, corruption and inefficiency.
Both parties are broken the American government is broken and overrun with lifelong politicians who are only concerned about their own best interests. But taxing those who have achieved success and redistributing their wealth to people who don’t want to work is not the answer–and it only compounds the problem.
There are millions of jobs available for hard working Americans they need to apply themselves and go find them. The answer is to get people to take more initiative, take risks, work hard, improve themselves and self-educate themselves, so they can be more successful, rather than give entitlements (in the proper definition of the word ).
Yes we are all ENTITLED to a better America. We all are. However class warfare, redistribution of wealth and a bigger government is not the answer.
The answer is that people need to take personal responsibility and initiative, be willing work hard and be a productive member of society. We need to get back to the culture of the Greatest Generation, when self-sacrifice, humility, compassion–and not expecting others to take care of us, but taking care of ourselves and our families–were considered sacred values, not government hand outs.
Mr. Pearlstein, you have it all wrong. People want to be successful, and we need to fight for that and reward it; we must encourage success, not demonize it. Sounds as though in your world there are no business owners, no inventors, no visionaries, no pursuit of happiness, no reward. Sounds Communist.
We should be able to create wealth and pass it along to our heirs and favorite charities–that’s called the American Dream!