Tuesday, March 29, 2011

What is your legacy, Matty Moroun?

I'm sorry, but these people make me angry. You know the type, those that spend the greater part of their lives casting judgment on the motivations and value of others while their own lives are lived behind walls of glass.

In a feature article in today's Detroit News, Matty Mouron's son is lectured by state legislator Rashida Tlaib:

But the Morouns could have done more, said state Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Detroit, a politician often at odds with the family.

"I once talked to Matthew about his father's image: I told him they had to start thinking about his legacy," Tlaib said. "You see billionaires who have wings named after them. What is he leaving behind?"

While Tlaib lauded the donation to the southwest Detroit center, she doesn't buy into the sincerity of the gesture.

"I think this is clearly calculated. They only give for a massive return on their investment," Tlaib said. "Out of the $18 million needed for the project, they only donated $205,000, but they gave $1 million to University Liggett School in Grosse Pointe (Woods).

"Not until there's competition to the Ambassador Bridge do they find the largesse to donate."

Hmmm. I wonder if Tlaib ever considered that Matty Moroun has created thousands of jobs for Detroit, Michigan, and this country. I wonder too if she ever considered the huge tax burdens and liabilities that come with the territory of being an entrepreneur. There is the city taxman, the township taxman, the state taxman, the feds, the MTA, the regulators, the inspectors, the fees, and even the occasional lecturing legislator who could always find a better way for a self made billionaire to spend his money.

Tlaib and Moroun have similar backgrounds. They were each born to immigrants of the Middle East. One child of one family has used the benefits of a free society to create thousands of jobs, pay billions in payroll, pay millions in taxes, and donate millions of dollars to causes within his community while one child of the other family went to law school so that she could point out how rich and greedy the child of the first family is.

I count the legacy of Matty Moroun as it stands as vastly more important than having his name pasted across the wall of a hospital wing. I do not discount the value of such donations, but why must we vilify a man whose payrolls have helped thousands of people pay for their own health care across the entire country?

Legacy? This is an age of political vanity where a state legislator cannot be expected to make a $1000 donation to a local cause without an accompanying press release documenting the generosity.

This is also an age where coagulated governments try their best to stifle private business in its quest to create wealth and, as a byproduct, the payroll and benefits to employees who are part of the enterprise. (A good example is Moroun's own battle over who should own and operate a new bridge spanning the Detroit River.)

As legacies go I wouldn't worry too much about Moroun's. It spans the Detroit River, it canvasses the country on America's highways, and it lives in the wallets and savings accounts of thousands of employees.

The Tlaib legacy? It might very well amount to nothing more than the memory of a wagging finger in the face of a Michigan hero.

No comments: