The eccentric and frugal billionaire college professor who helped Sergey Brin and Larry Brin develop Google has warned that US President Barack Obama is pushing the U.S. towards a path of economic disaster.
Stanford University’s David Cheriton, who is worth almost $2-billion according to Fortune magazine, believes that innovative and creative American entrepreneurs are being driven out of the country by Obama’s fiscal policies.
Cheriton told BBC: “When you look at, say, Larry and Sergey of Google, they made billions of dollars, but they contributed many more billions of dollars to the US economy. And so we should be empowering these people; we should be cultivating more of the next generation of those types. And yet, I think there’s almost a hostile attitude towards people who have been successful in this country.”
He added balefully that “the people that are taking the risks… or would be taking the risks… [now] start thinking twice about what it means to do this in the US.”
According to BBC, Cheriton -- who is shy about his vast wealth and lives very simply, still riding his old bicycle to work -- is investing more money outside the US than within it.
He also warns that most Americans do not understand the magnitude of the economic peril they are under. “I think of this like being a jetliner at 35,000 feet and you say, well, we’re low on gas and we’re headed towards the ground, maybe not straight down, but there’s gonna have to be a course correction or this is gonna end very badly,” he said.
He also discussed the scale of the economic and financial crisis in the US.
“The US has amazing resources, amazing people, and some very fundamentally good institutions, but it’s hard to gauge it has ever encountered this type of challenge before,” he warned.
”The solution has to be that this large portion of the population has to accept some economic pain and [an] adjustment in how much [they think the] government can do for them. [But] I think the pain hasn’t [quite] reached a level yet which [would force such] a change.”
Palash has worked as a business journalist for 21 years in New York.