What the hell does he know about economics?

Home Depot co-founder and billionaire entrepreneur Bernie Marcus isn’t sure he could create the home improvement chain today if he tried given onerous small business regulations and a challenging economic backdrop.

“I don’t think so,” Marcus, a well-known advocate of free-market capitalism and small business, said in a new edition of Yahoo Finance Presents. “I think if we had the regulations that we have today, Home Depot would be a 12-store chain. I don’t think we would have been able to grow.”

Marcus also had some choice words for politicians, the Biden administration and, in particular, the occupant of the Oval Office.

“Most people in Washington never owned a business,” added Marcus, who is also the new author of Kick Up Some Dust: Lessons on Thinking Big, Giving Back, and Doing It Yourself. “You have a president who never worked a day in his life, never worked a day in his life. What the hell does he know about economics? But he sure talks about it a lot.”

US President Joe Biden comments on how investments in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act are helping improve public transportation, create jobs and opportunity, reduce pollution and traffic in Los Angeles and around the world country, in the Los Angeles Metro Extension Transit Project in Los Angeles, California, United States. on October 13, 2022. (Photo by Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

A new Bank of America survey found that among small businesses’ top concerns are inflation, commodity prices, a possible recession, interest rates and the US political environment.

New findings in early September on Kabbage’s small businesses were also bearish.

“While revenue is up, the data also revealed that overall profits among US small businesses have slightly declined 4% over the same period,” the survey found. “The data shows that small businesses continue to anticipate future economic headwinds, with 75% of respondents reporting feeling affected by inflationary pressures and 56% expecting pressures to last at least a year through the summer of 2023.”

Marcus, who co-founded The Home Depot with two stores in 1979 with his friend Arthur Blank and who retired as president of Home Depot in 2002, was also the founder of the influential small-business lobbyist Job Creators Network.

Then-CEO of Home Depot Bernie Marcus poses for a portrait at a Home Depot store on Oct. 15, 1998. (Photo by Erik Lesser/Liaison)

Then-CEO of Home Depot Bernie Marcus poses for a portrait at a Home Depot store on Oct. 15, 1998. (Photo by Erik Lesser/Liaison)

Today, Home Depot is a sprawling retail chain with more than 2,300 stores in the US and Canada.

Marcus reiterated that more needs to be done to empower small businesses.

“Running a business, hiring people, training people and being able to produce a product takes a certain skill and you have to understand that skill,” Marcus added. Running a small pizza restaurant, for God’s sake, takes skill. [small businesses] being beaten day by day. And we are fighting up a hill every day to beat some of these regulations. As some win, others lose. But there’s no one who really puts in the time and effort.”

brian sozzi is a general editor and anchor at Yahoo Finance. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and in LinkedIn.

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