Friday, December 09, 2011

Spend your way to prosperity

Two posts ago I discussed how government spending can make some people rich, and cited Halliburton.  Well, I have an example that's closer to home.  You'll see that government spending did get this guy going.  With that help, he took his hard work ethic and parlayed that into even more riches, and along the way he created wealth and jobs.  But he got his start with government help.

Then the war came on. We got in the onion drying business. The real money, the first money I ever made that amounted to anything, was when I got into the onion dehydration business. The first month we ran that onion plant we made fifty thousand dollars clear. That was more money than we ever made in a year...

The Army sent a colonel by the name of Logan. He said, "Simplot, you are going to work for the Army. You're going to dry vegetables..." I said, "Fine, give me the tickets and I'll do them the best I know how." That got me in the dehydration business in a big way. I built plants all over America--Maine, North Dakota, Colorado, California, Oregon... I finally wound up supplying more potatoes to the Army than anyone else. That led into the fertilizer business. I had to have fertilizer to grow the potatoes, and I couldn't buy any. So I decided to make some. And I did.
So, without government spending, who knows whether this guy would have made it big.  But, once he got the big government contract, he took off.  And that's in J.R. Simplot's own words.  Government can and does play a role in wealth creation.  It's just a question of whether you like what government is spending it's money on.

Also, I like the irony of our current governor, who profited immensely from his association with Simplot, now talking about getting along without government help.

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