'Nobody works, nobody gives a damn' anymore because of 'socialism,' Home Depot's 93-year-old cofounder says
- Home Depot's cofounder told the Financial Times nobody wanted to work because of "socialism."
- Bernie Marcus, 93, said: "Nobody works, nobody gives a damn."
A cofounder of Home Depot said people now lacked the motivation to work because of what he called socialism.
The rise of socialism is why "nobody works, nobody gives a damn," Bernie Marcus said in an interview with the Financial Times Thursday. "'Just give it to me. Send me money. I don't want to work — I'm too lazy, I'm too fat, I'm too stupid.'"
The 93-year-old's comments come as the number of employed Americans sits at a record high 154 million and the US unemployment rate is near a historic low at 3.7%. However, US businesses are still struggling to hire as consumer demand remains strong and many Americans have ditched lower-wage work, such as retail for better options. Marcus added that the retailer would not have been very successful had it been launched in today's business climate.
"We would end up with 15, 16 stores," Marcus said. "I don't know that we could go further."
Marcus and Arthur Blank opened their first two stores in 1979 in Atlanta.
Home Depot now has about 2,300 stores in North America and posted sales of $151 billion for its most recent financial year. The company is worth $321 billion, and its shares have risen by two-thirds over the past five years.
"I'm worried about capitalism," Marcus told the Financial Times. "Capitalism is the basis of Home Depot [and] millions of people have earned this success and had success.
"I'm talking manufacturers, vendors and distributors and people that work for us [who have been] able to enrich themselves by the journey of Home Depot. That's the success. That's why capitalism works."
Marcus backed Donald Trump's presidential campaign in 2016 and again in 2019, triggering calls on social media to boycott Home Depot. The company distanced itself from the remarks in 2019.
He said in the FT interview: "We used to have free speech here. We don't have it. The woke people have taken over the world. You know, I imagine today they can't attack me. I'm 93. Who gives a crap about Bernie Marcus?"
Despite having had five heart-operation bypasses, Marcus told the FT he "would rather wear out than rust out."
In October, Marcus published his latest book, "Kick Up Some Dust: Lessons on Thinking Big, Giving Back, and Doing It Yourself," coauthored by the history professor Catherine Lewis.
He told the FT the book was an attempt to explain to his children and grandchildren why he didn't spend much time with them: "Part of the reason that we wrote the book ... was apologizing to them for not being there for everything that they did."
Marcus and his wife, Billi, were among the first to sign The Giving Pledge, set up in 2010 by Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, and Gates' then-wife, Melinda French Gates. Its signatories promise to dedicate their wealth to charitable causes in their lifetimes.
A spokesperson for Home Depot told Insider: "Our co-founder Bernie Marcus left The Home Depot more than 20 years ago, and his views do not represent the company."
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