Rob May, CEO of the tech company Talla and also the founder of Backupify, takes issue with Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’ plan to increase taxes on millionaires and billionaires. So he penned a scathing open letter to the Vermont senator.
In the letter, which was originally published in Fortune, May writes that he agrees with Sanders on the fact that the economy is rigged, something he said he learned from his “conservative” father.
“Some find it surprising because the general position of liberals seems to be that conservatives don’t realize, or won’t acknowledge, this rigged economy,” he wrote. “But my dad’s advice to me time and time again was that the world was rigged and the only way I could make it was to work harder than the people who were in charge of the rigging.”
The CEO went on to write that he does not believe the government should be paying off student debt, something he never had because, while he was in college, he worked to pay for his education.
“No, it wasn’t because I was from a wealthy family. I never had student loans because I worked every semester I was in college, and during some summers, I worked two jobs,” May wrote. “I did this because I thought the world was rigged against me.”
May says he “missed out on a lot” and, when he finally graduated, he “lived well below my means” in order to save $25,000 to start his first business, which he said “failed miserably” and ended with him losing more than $50,000.
In total, it took three years to pay off all his credit card debts.
Over the next 10 years, May said he started three more companies — two of them failed. For the one that didn’t, the now successful CEO said he would take his vacation days from his other job to work at making this startup a success.
“I lost a lot of my own money, as my disposable income never went to travel or luxury goods of any kind. It went to business ideas,” he wrote.
When he finally became successful, May wrote that running a company was “more stressful than you could ever imagine,” detailing the ups and downs of managing an organization, adding that “if you have ever run a company, you know what I’m talking about.”
Ultimately, May became a millionaire. “It only took 15 years,” he wrote.
May said he created more than 100 jobs and learned a lot along the way, but, after hearing Sanders speak, he feels like he’s the problem.
“In the end I helped build something useful for thousands of companies around the world. But when I hear Bernie speak, I feel like I’m the problem with America. I’m one of those millionaires he mentions who should pay more taxes. I’m the bad guy. I’m the white male who is only successful because everything was handed to me,” he wrote.
May said he feels as if his sacrifice, risk and stress “doesn’t matter.”
“According to Bernie, the world needs fewer people like me, and more people like the smart Yale student who majors in something useless, travels the world, and then graduates with $100,000 in debt that people like me should pay off via higher taxes,” he charged.
He concluded by writing that he does believe the U.S. economy is “rigged” and that the economic structure “will favor some at the expense of others.” Regardless, he writes that, in America, “if you are willing to make the right sacrifices, you can achieve whatever you want.”
“Unfortunately, we’ve come to believe that achievement should be easy. Changing that attitude is the first step towards making yourself more successful,” he added.
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