Interactive Brokers CEO - Thomas Peterffy
Billionaire Thomas Peterffy is spending millions on television ads this election season with one cautionary message: Avoid socialism.
"As a young boy, I was fantasizing about one day going to America, making a success of myself. The Americ an Dream," he says.
Peterffy left his country and moved to New York in 1965, where-without knowing English–he got a computer programming job on Wall Street. He later purchased his own seat on the American Stock Exchange in 1977 and, fast forward a few years, found himself the creator of Interactive Brokers, one of the first electronic trading firms.
Forbes Magazine now estimates Peterffy, 68, has a net worth of $4.6 billion.
Commentary by Mac Ambo
Peterffy is a billionaire, whose standard of living for the past 40 of his 68 years hasn't come close to that of average people much less those near, on or under the poverty level. He is out of touch with the reality that too many people face in America today. His best recollections of his meager days in Hungary don't factor in the modern day realities - where, at that time - America WAS a true beacon of hope and opportunity. The "dream" could ignite a determined motivation to succeed. And success was possible, many times - by just "showing up" and maintaining discipline - the "sticktoitiveness of persistence" paid off. And that's where he loses me.
Present day America is a stripped down, bare shelved, debt ridden and rusting warehouse of outsourced production which no longer closely resembles a place where the atmosphere beckons opportunists and the common man - willing to work hard, offering a healthy vibrant growing economy, rewarding wealth for the effort - unless - they have capital or access to capital. Try and borrow from a bank these days. At rates as low as 1%, the only people banks are interested in are those entities, be it people or companies who don't need to borrow, but prefer to use OPM (other peoples money) to finance their ventures. The incentive to lend Average Joe just isn't there - banks won't take the risk.
There is no shortage of people in America wanting to better themselves. The $1 trillion dollar student debt proves it. But defaults on student loans prove also - that there aren't enough job opportunities to match the demand. With the Fed printing money at an insane rate, seeking to forestall the inevitable financial collapse, buying power is being reduced greatly, forcing people to adopt a lower standard of living as each day passes.
So, here is a situation in which people are having forced upon them, conditions - where it will soon come down to the basic survivability of a people - a bleak way of life, but food shelter and clothing are most important and necessary, by whatever means.
And that, Mr. Peterffy is the new, soon to be faced reality of America. Your ads might be better aimed at Congress, Ben Bernanke and the Fed, and even your own candidate - Mr. Romney, the right half of the unimocracy - as well as Obama, the left half. Aim it at the globalists, the corporatists, your Wall Street friends and the warmongers. Leave the average American alone, unless you have some definite solutions to share - solutions that work. So far, your message is pure propaganda, by someone who has turned - long ago from that hopeful little boy in Hungary into one of the elitists, wanting for nothing, and whose message does not apply. Had you not succeeded in America, during a time of robust economic growth - you might have a different understanding today. Even then, the odds only favor a few. The game is rigged that way.