family-owned businesses

Virginia University Gets Grant To Teach Capitalism

We don't know if — in this day and age of "spreading the wealth around" and taxing to death middle-class working families, family-owned businesses, entrepreneurs and regular folks who aspire to build or buy their own business, and government intervention into everything else — the recent announcement that Radford University soon will offer courses in capitalism is heartening news or not. On the one hand, we're glad someone is taking the initiative, especially at the university level, where so much seems to be left-wing, politically correct dogma and indoctrination, to teach what this country was built on — free-market, free-enterprise capitalism. On the other hand, given that it is at a university, are we sure free-market capitalism will be taught by people who believe in it?

Most importantly, however, why isn't capitalism already taught there and, since it must not be if this is a new program, what does pass for economic academics there?

We do rest assured about one thing: this new economics program, which will focus on global competitiveness, is off to a good start because it is funded by a $750,000 grant from banking giant BB&T. Why does that assure us? Simple: BB&T Chief Executive Officer John Allison, the company's CEO since 1986 (despite the average bank CEO tenure of about four years), has a stellar and principled track record.

For starters, in the wake of the deplorable U.S. Supreme Court Kelo decision which allowed local governments to seize private property and give it to other private entities, he created a policy that BB&T would not finance any developments on land taken by such cruel means. More recently, he's been a great steward of his company — with a policy of not providing the type of risky loans that have blown up the housing market and our financial system, leaving his bank in excellent condition; which also means he's not taking any of our tax money from the government bailout of those who practiced irresponsible and/or predatory lending practices. He did all this while driving the bank from regional to national status.

The BB&T grant also includes the BB&T Global Capitalism Reading Area in McConnell Library and a BB&T Global Distinguished Lecture Series. While it makes sense that a business committed to free-market capitalism would fund this type of program — that it may be in its self-interest to do so — it also is vastly disappointing that the state must rely on it to do so. With the hundreds of millions of Virginia tax dollars going to higher education, not to mention families' money for tuition, it also is in the commonwealth's self-interest to teach capitalism correctly (given our own budget debacle). We can see the mess societies get themselves into when they don't. Just ask B&T's competitors. Just ask yourself where $1 trillion of your tax money has just been appropriated.