Home Depot co-founders Bernie Marcus, 90, understands that you can’t take your vast wealth with you when you depart this earth, so the billionaire is giving away his fortune while still alive.
With a net worth of $5.8 billion, according to Forbes, Marcus is the 337th wealthiest man in the world and not only does he detest socialism, he realizes the importance of having someone who’s business savvy in the White House.
All of which explains why he was a generous donor to President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign and a supporter of Trump’s 2020 re-election bid.
“He’s got a businessman’s common sense approach to most things,” Marcus told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“Now, do I agree with every move that he makes? No, I don’t,” he added. “But the truth is he has produced more than anybody else. He has. If we look at this country, I would say that we are better off today than we were eight years ago or six years ago.”
Marcus said Trump’s biggest flaw is his communication skills, which would prompt an argument from some about there being a method to Trump’s madness.
“I’ll tell you what he has not done well: His communication sucks,” Marcus declared. “I mean he takes on every battle. He’s fighting. He does things he shouldn’t be doing. … As president of the United States, I’d rather him do things that are meaningful.”
While there may be some truth to the remark, it’s his reputation as a fighter that makes Trump such an appealing candidate for many. That, and the fact that after eight years of Barack Obama, Americans are relieved to know that their president doesn’t hate them.
Marcus was in the news recently for a video created for his conservative advocacy group, Job Creators Network. The billionaire criticized socialism and said our free-market economy is “the biggest creator of wealth and prosperity the world has ever known.”
“I want to start by saying something politically incorrect: I love America,” he said in the video.
Born to Russian immigrant parents, Marcus was fired from hardware store Handy Dan in 1978, along with Home Depot co-founder Arthur Blank. He said there is “no other country in the world” where he would have become such a success.
“The reality is that the free-market system has created the biggest middle-class population in the world,” he explained. “And while some may say socialism is well-intentioned, the fact is it robs people of their independence, their dignity and their finances, leading to government dependence, suppression of ideas and lower standards of living for those under its thumb.”
Marcus applied that view to 2020 presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders last week.
“He is the enemy of every entrepreneur that’s ever going to be born in the country and has been born in the past,” he said of Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist.
As for his fortune, Marcus has given nearly $250 million to The Georgia Aquarium, the paper reported. He donated millions more for an autism center in Atlanta and millions for a trauma center and a stroke and neuroscience center at Grady Health System.
Based in Atlanta, the billionaire told the Journal-Constitution he has donated $2 billion or so to over 300 organizations from around the world throughout his life, and predicted that he’ll give away most of his remaining wealth.
Not that Marcus is in a rush to go anywhere.
“I want to live to be 100 because I want to be in a position to give it away to those things that I really believe in,” he said.
With his family taken care of, Marcus no longer measures his return on investment in dollars.
“I’ve got all the houses I need. I live very well. My kids are taken care of,” he said. “Everything I live for now is finding the right things to put my money into and that can give me a rate of return in emotion and doing good things for this world.”
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