Issues & Insights

Bernie Vs. Bernie: Who Has Improved More Lives, Marcus Or Sanders?

A pair of Bernies, one running for president, the other a wealthy corporate executive and philanthropist, are on opposite sides of the political spectrum, as well as the cultural divide. One has made life better for many. The other wants to suck the life out of as many as he can.

Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus, now 90, recently said that Sen. Bernie Sanders, campaigning for president as a Democrat with a Socialist’s pedigree, is the “enemy of every entrepreneur.” Sanders, who represents Vermont, has made a public career out of vilifying corporations, free markets, and the wealthy.

Meet the creator. Fear the destroyer.

Marcus, with Arthur Blank and Ken Langone, started a company in 1978 that today has more than 2,200 stores across all 50 states and in Canada. When those men were putting long, grinding hours into their startup in the late 1970s, Sanders was “working” for the American People’s Historical Society. There he made a 30-minute documentary about Eugene Debs, the perpetual Socialist Party presidential candidate whom he called “the great American trade unionist, socialist and revolutionary.”

Home Depot currently employs more than 400,000. Since its inception, it has created millions of jobs. Home Depot also provided health care insurance for, again, millions of families whose husbands, wives, fathers, and mothers have worked for the company, now 27th on the Fortune 500 list, where it has been found every year for the last 25.

In addition to the jobs provided by Home Depot, vendors that depend on the company for much of their sales, many of them small businesses that have increased in value, have also created jobs as they have grown along with the chain.

Meanwhile, Sanders, who has never started a business, wants to guarantee a job to everyone through government fiat, and has overheated dreams about forcing the country into a Medicare for All system, an impossible-to-pay-for arrangement which no other nation in the world has, not even the Scandinavian countries he says are his models.

Marcus has also helped make Americans who never worked for Home Depot better off — and we’re talking about more than the millions of consumers who have eagerly patronized the chain, and contractors who buy material there. A share of Home Depot stock bought in March 1989 is now worth 200 times the purchase price. The company has created immense wealth for the millions who own and have owned stock directly and through institutions. In fact, Home Depot created as many as “20,000 millionaires overnight” when the company went public

Meanwhile, a share of Sanders, if there was such, bought in 1989 would certainly have brought a loss. Rather than create wealth, it’s Sanders’ aim to forcibly spread it around.

The pair is also far apart in philanthropical terms. While Bernie the Destroyer is fully committed to giving away other people’s money, Bernie the Creator, who understands the capitalism that Sanders hates “makes charitable-giving possible in the first place,” donates wealth that he produced. He recently said that he has given away more than $2 billion of his own money to roughly 300 different organizations. Sanders’ charitable contributions equal only 3.3% of his income, which is somewhat benevolent among the group of stingy Democratic presidential candidates, but less than half as generous as the American families earning between $25,000 and $50,000 a year.

Had a Sanders regime been in power when Marcus and his colleagues were starting Home Depot, the company simply would have never existed. Though he has tried to back away from some of his more hard-core socialist positions, because he knows they won’t play well to an audience larger than the hysterical fringe that’s followed him since his early days, Sanders at one time openly admitted he believed in “the public ownership of the major means of production and their conversion into worker-controlled enterprises.” Knowing this, Marcus and the others would have logically reasoned there was no sense in starting a business that the government was going to eventually seize.

In this tale of two Bernies, one has tried to foster the best of times while the other would usher in the worst of times if he gets the raw political power he craves. It’s wisdom vs. foolishness, light vs. dark, hope vs. despair.

— Written by J. Frank Bullitt

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  • Bernie Marcus walks the talk. Marcus contributes big time to America’s economy. Marcus builds things, Thousands of American families benefit from Marcus’s business.
    Sanders on the other hand has never had a real job in his life, much less produced any benefit for Americans.
    Bernie Sanders is a taker, a grifter, and now a millionaire who sold his soul out to the Clinton Crime Cartel and pooped all over his young gullible supporters in 2016.

    • Ever been in Home Depot and look at country of origin labels? I’d say it equals out to a net 0 between helping people in the US vs China after everything is considered. All the box stores are the same. I’d go further and speculate his philanthropy is guilt driven because his chain has helped china just as much as it has the US so it’s easier to sleep when he makes these donations. Don’t use the stores so don’t care either way, just an observation from afar and probably truer than I realize…

      • Sales make both parties better off. If they didn’t, then either the buyer would be unwilling or the seller would be.

        Almost certainly the rest of your speculation is much less true than you hope.

      • Why does it matter where HD products were manufactured? If HD has also helped China, so what? Good for China isn’t bad for America. HD has been great for consumers and investors. The size of the pie isn’t fixed. HD grows the pie.

  • “Sanders, who represents Vermont, has made a public career out of vilifying corporations, free markets, and the wealthy.”

    LOL! I wonder if he considers HIMSELF a villain for getting RICH from the MARKETING of his book! Seriously though, the rank, overt hypocrisy of the Left is DELICIOUS! Too bad the other members of his parties (Socialism and Democrat–though there’s really little distinction) seem to be totally fooled into thinking they aren’t supporting a rich Capitalist!

  • The Democratic Party, in their ignorance, hates Capitalism.
    To a Democrat Capitalism is Corporations. They both start with a ‘C’.
    What funds Liberalism? Taxes do.
    Who pays taxes? Workers do.
    What do many workers work for? Corporations.
    (Even a small business incorporates. Even a fast food chain is a Corporate outlet.)
    What happens when Corporations are strictured by a Democrat like ‘Bernie Ocasio-Cortez Sanders’? They make less money and layoff workers.
    What happens to Liberalism (and its Social Welfare programs) when the tax money from workers, now unemployed, drys up?
    It starves to death.

  • Be aware that home depot may employ thousands but it also ran thousands of local hardware and building supply guys our if business in the process. Was big box a net gain?

    • He didn’t run others out of business…folks simply decided to shop at Home Depot because it had more to offer…sheesh.

    • Yes, just like Walmart and the others, their customers all got lower prices for things they wanted and needed, so they got to keep more of their hard-earned cash to spend on other necessities and luxuries.

      Tons of consumers benefiting at the ‘expense’ of a small number of smaller merchants.

    • I understand the feeling of sadness, but as Churchill once said, capitalism is a terrible system, EXCEPT it’s better than the others. A real business seeks to profit from helping its satisfied customers, and that includes lower vs higher prices; if it can’t do that it shouldn’t be in business, and if enough customers are dissatisfied it won’t stay in business, but the ruinous nature of the various socialist systems is almost too monstrous to describe by comparison. If American capitalism is so bad, why is most of the world trying to get here to experience it! And where us the infantile, self-centered, hypocrisy that whined and swore it’d leave America if it didn’t get its childish way and Trump won? Still here sucking up the goodies, insuring no one with a brain takes that asininity seriously.

  • Bernie Marcus is a hero and deserves the gratitude of the American people. Thanks

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