Stop Bashing Business, Mr. President If we tried to start The Home Depot today, it's a stone cold certainty that it would never have gotten off the ground. By KEN LANGONE OCTOBER 15, 2010 ..."For more than two years the country has listened to your sharp rhetoric about how American businesses are short-changing workers, fleecing customers, cheating borrowers, and generally âdriving the economy into a ditch,â to borrow your oft-repeated phrase. My question to you was why, during a time when investment and dynamism are so critical to our country, was it necessary to vilify the very people who deliver that growth? Instead of offering a straight answer, you informed me that I was part of a ârecklessâ group that had made âbad decisionsâ and now required your guidance, if only Iâd stop âresistingâ it. Iâm sure that kind of argument draws cheers from the partisan faithful. But to my ears it sounded patronizing. Of course, one of the chief conceits of centralized economic planning is that the planners know better than everybody elseâ¦ â¦Your insistence that your policies are necessary and beneficial to business is utterly at odds with what you and your administration are saying elsewhere. You pick a fight with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, accusing it of using foreign money to influence congressional elections, something the chamber adamantly denies. Your U.S. attorney in New York, Preet Bahrara, compares investment firms to Mexican drug cartels and says he wants the power to wiretap Wall Street when he sees fit. And you drew guffaws of approving laughter with your car-wreck metaphor, recently telling a crowd that those who differ with your approach are âstanding up on the road, sipping a Slurpeeâ while you are âshovingâ and âsweatingâ to fix the broken-down jalopy of state. A little more than 30 years ago, Bernie Marcus, Arthur Blank, Pat Farrah and I got together and founded The Home Depot. Our dream was to create (memo to DNC activists: thatâs build, not take or coerce) a new kind of home-improvement center catering to do-it-yourselfers. The concept was to have a wide assortment, a high level of service, and the lowest pricing possible. We opened the front door in 1979, also a time of severe economic slowdown. Yet today, Home Depot is staffed by more than 325,000 dedicated, well-trained, and highly motivated people offering outstanding service and knowledge to millions of consumers. If we tried to start Home Depot today, under the kind of onerous regulatory controls that you have advocated, itâs a stone cold certainty that our business would never get off the ground, much less thrive. Rules against providing stock options would have prevented us from incentivizing worthy employees in the start-up phaseânever mind the incredibly high cost of regulatory compliance overall and mandatory health insurance. Still worse are the ever-rapacious trial lawyersâ¦"