Despite some strong personal feelings, I have attempted to keep politics out of our discussions here, but the current tactic being used by John McCain and his surrogates serves as a great example of the fundamental difference between the philosophy of a bureaucrat and that of an entrepreneur.Apparently desperate to derail the Obama momentum, John McCain has jumped on comments Obama made to “Joe The (faux) Plumber” on your right.

In the course of a short encounter Obama told Joe that his philosophy was to “share the wealth” with all Americans. McCain now seeks to twist this remark in an effort to paint Obama as nothing but a godless, dreaded Socialist. McCain wants us to believe that such a philosophy has no place in America. And that anyone who would utter such a belief is, as McCain surrogate Congressperson Michele Bachmann (R-Minn) said, is “anti-American.”

I beg to differ. From my point of view the comments of Barack Obama actually expose him as a dreaded “E” person. The fact is Barack Obama’s comments reveal a philosophy very close to that of most real entrepreneurs.

The essence of the “American dream” is to have the opportunity for everyone to share in the wealth of the nation. America has always been held out as the land of opportunity where the wealth of the country can be “shared” by anyone who has the ability to create wealth. That is what Obama actually said to Plumber Joe (see for yourself).

The truth, the very core of a true entrepreneurial philosophy is the concept of sharing the wealth. It is the bureaucrat who seeks to concentrate the (power) and wealth in the hands of the very few at the top—those who also determine how wealth should be distributed. It is this stilted bureaucratic philosophy – endorsed by McCain and profligated by minions like Bachmann – that is destroying the balance of wealth, economic competitiveness and financial future of this country.

If Barack Obama is an anti-American socialist then I am as well. It has always been my philosophy in business to share the wealth. It is a philosophy I have lived and preached for decades and is called creating “parallel interests.”

When I helped to found LifeUSA, the primary operating concept of the company was to “share the wealth” with those who helped create the wealth. To achieve the objective of putting all those associated with the company in “parallel” so they could share the wealth, everyone become an actual owner of the company. If the company was successful then everyone benefited and one could not benefit unless all benefited.

LifeUSA was a start-up life insurance company and the only difference between it and other insurance companies was the concept of “share the wealth.” With this philosophy LifeUSA became one of the fastest growing and most successful companies in the industry. When Allianz acquired LifeUSA for over $500 million, everyone associated with the company shared the wealth. Nothing could dissuade me from the belief that the primary reason for the success of LifeUSA was the “socialist” concept of sharing wealth.
My belief is that, if people have the opportunity and ability to add value, they will be encouraged to do so if they are allowed to share in the value they help create.

On the opposite side of the coin is the attitude of the bureaucratic corporate culture that believes the few at the top know what is best, have all the answers, and are the sole reason for the success of the organization. With this philosophy is it any wonder that we have seen the compensation of senior executives become so bloated and out of line with the compensation of the people actually doing the work? Is it any wonder that employees lose incentive and a desire to see the company become successful?

The Political Dividing Line

Of all the differences between Barack Obama and John McCain, this philosophy of “share the wealth” is the starkest. Sharing the wealth of opportunity is what America is supposed to be about and it should hold sway in our corporate world as well as society overall.

John McCain seems to endorse the corporate bureaucratic concept of concentrated wealth and to legitimize it across American society. Barack Obama seems to endorse the very concept that made America strong: everyone has the equal opportunity to create and share the wealth. It is this philosophy that provides incentive for people to add value and build wealth.

Despite what John McCain would want us to believe, the philosophy of “share the wealth” is not socialism nor the dreaded “S” word. It is the greatest and most powerful form of entrepreneurialism and Americanism.


  1. Bob, this is on point. Let’s also point out that there are elements of socialism in our government today – the bank bailout being one, but so, too, is Medicare/Medicaid and Social Security. There is nothing wrong with Democratic Socialism. Where Socialism has gone wrong is when it allows the people in power to assume more. By the way, Barack is spelled with a “c” as well. Great post.

  2. TJ … Thanks for taking the time to read and comment on posting. You raise an excellent point regarding actions of the US government today. Also, if you take a look at McCain’s mortgage plan. . The idea is to take money (taxes) from those who have it and then to pay off the bad mortgages of others. That is socialism in its purest form.

  3. But Bob I bet you were able to fire someone who wasn’t pulling their weight at LifeUSA…I think Barack thinks more along the lines of just sharing the wealth while other suckers work hard to create it.

  4. Bud, you are solrely misguided. Wealth is already shared via government programs. The government collects taxes and then spends them on things like roads and infrastructure, Social Security, Medicare, etc. The idea that Obama is Robin Hood is ridiculous. Those of us that can and do work pay our taxes. Obama is sughesting only that those of us who make mre than $250k pay a little more, like they did before Bush gave them tax cuts. If you make this much money, then good for you. If not, i can’t see how you would be opposed to this. We are spending $10B a month in Iraq alone. Someone has to pay for it.

  5. I appreciate the government 101 lesson on taxes TJ…you want democratic socialism and do not…lets just agree that you and don’t see eye-to-eye on this and leave it at that…

  6. The comparison between LifeUSA and Obama’s ‘share the wealth’ mentality leaves out an important variable. That variable is your right and freedom as a business owner to chose how you want to run your business. It is futile to refute the business model that you employed at LifeUSA, it is an excellent model that should be and is copied by many company’s.
    It is a large leap to go from the successes of LifeUSA to the macro level of the Federal government. Our government more often than not shows that they are inept at just about everything they get their hands on. Like Bud said, you had the right to fire those that did not pull their weight. And what about the ‘managers’? It was the free market that allowed you to chose the best and brightest for LifeUSA to incubate success, will that freedom be there under Obama or a ‘share the wealth’ mentality? I do not know, I hope so but I am not encouraged about this mentality on a Federal level. The environment is too large and not everyone is contributing towards the common good or profit.

  7. You will totally pay more under Obama.

    The numbers don’t lie. So here they are.*

    Let’s say you make $280,000 annually after business expenses. You are married and file jointly. Under Obama, your itemized deductions would actually increase slightly — you’d get $49,420 in itemized deductions, while under McCain you’d get $48,975. But your personal exemptions would increase slightly under McCain — he’d give you $6,911, whereas you’d only get $6,132 from Obama.

    That leaves your taxable income at $213, 766 under Obama, $213,433 under McCain. Now you have to factor in the bracket cutoff, which for 2009 is $208,850. Anything below that figure for married couples filing jointly is taxed at the fourth tier, 28 percent. Any income above it, until you get up to near $400,000, is taxed at the fifth tier. And this is where the raving income-redistribution scheme of Barack Robespierre Obama kicks in.

    As you can see, your taxable income is about $5,000 higher than the cutoff. McCain is going to tax that $5,000 at the current rate, which is 33 percent. But Obama’s crazed plan calls for raising that rate to — get ready for it — 35 percent.

    And here’s what this means. Under McCain, your total tax bill would be $48,254. Under Obama, it would be $48,511.

    That’s a difference of $257. I’ll say it again: Two hundred and fifty-seven dollars!

    That’s not two hundred and fifty-seven dollars I, or America, can afford.

    p.s. drill baby drill.

    *All figures about the comparative tax bills under Obama and McCain come from an interview with Gerald Prante, an economist at the nonpartisan Tax Foundation.

  8. Bud – all for agreeing to disagree. Totally cool with that. As for Mr. Spiner (I thought Data was a little further in the future), you are totally correct. But I, like 95% of all Americans, do not make over $250k. Whether it’s McCain or Obama, the rich will continue to be rich, but, perhaps, the middle class and the lower class will have more opportunity to move up the ladder. I think that’s part of the American dream. Plus, let’s face it, we have to pay off this enormous debt and budget deficit somehow. Repeal, baby, repeal! BTW, I appreciate the maturity of the posts.

  9. Fannie Farmer

    T.J. I may be mistaken but pimping of the American dream by Fannie and Freddie and supported by the government is a large part of what caused the housing crisis and the fallout that is still happening today. Government is there to govern, give a push when we need it and slow us down when we need it (think a governor on a Go-Kart engine) not to hand out the American dream indiscriminately (to those who do not work for it or have the means to pay for the bills that come with it).
    I agree that there is a large disconnect in this country and the middle-class is suffering and maybe the G’ovt should give a little gas but Obama seems to go too far.

  10. Stan Chraminski

    We have had wealth distribution in the US already – all upward. Those millions and billions pulled out are not coming back unless we take away the Hampton mansions that were purchased by, now us, the taxpayers, with the bailouts. If socialism stops some of this, let’s go for it. I worked too for a co. where top few took home millions while firing half the employees and finally swelling the co., with another golden handshake at the end. No one is worth 400 times what their average worker makes, especially those whose poor decisions ran the co. into the ground, causing all those job losses.

  11. Mac,
    i have had trouble getting my head around the socialist issue McCain has brought up lately. You have shed light on this subject in a way that makes real sense to me.

  12. P.S. There is a tax law analogy I have come across recently from T. Davies, professor of accounting at the University of South Dakota. It involves comparing ten men going to dinner where the bill is $100 to the way we currently pay our taxes.

  13. Is this accurate and will Obama make this better or worse? Thankyou

  14. Fannie – socialistic principles did not create the Fannie/Freddie situation, but instead it was unbridled capitalism. When lawmakers (i.e. government) de-regulate any industry, then it absolves itself from its primary duty – the welfare of the American people. Now, I could blame Phil Graham for this and his bill passed in 1999 that soldified the deregulation of the banking industry, but that would be dishonest. It was both Dems and Repubs that allowed this to happen. Nevertheless, if we are talking about taxes in particular, then we have to consider that Obama is raising taxes only on 5% of our population – back to levels they were paying before GW Bush. It’s not like they never paid rates like this before. And, during that time, the US had incredible job growth and a budget SURPLUS. Also, please remember, that the tax breaks Obama is providing is for people who pay income taxes – which means you have to have an income (job). These additional tax dollars are not handouts to the poor in the form of welfare, but monies collected to pay off a huge debt ($10+T), get the budget balanced, and create jobs, specifically in the green technology field. If I were making $250+k, I would gladly pay more taxes if it were to get our contry solvent again. So, McCain promises tax breaks to everyone. Ok, sounds good. So how does he propose to pay off our debt? Obviously, giving more money to those who already have it is not working, if you consider the huge amounts of jobs being sent overseas (Allianz included), and a lower mean income for Americans.
    Look, we can all agree to disagree (like Bud and I). I’m not trying to convince you to vote for Obama, I just want you to think before casting your vote for McCain and the conservative agenda. I will even agree that if we did not have the huge mess we have now on all fronts, that a conservative – a true fiscal conservative – wouldn’t be a bad thing. But the fact is that the country is hurting economically and we need to pay for the tab that GW and the gang have left us with.

  15. Hey Guys … Thanks for all the help on all this socialist stuff. What we should do is forget Obama and McCain and instead elect Gov Palin. She really understands socialism and share the wealth. She raised taxes on the rich oil companies and passed it out to everyone in the state. I always thought taxes were supposed to be used for paying for government services. But in Alaska taxes are used to “share the wealth.” Sarah can teach them all a lesson in socialism.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *