Billy Mays

Salesman, entrepreneur, capitalist

There will be no tribute to Billy Mays today at the American Enterprise Institute. He won’t be on the cover of Newsweek with a halo on his head. The Wall Street Journal gave him barely a mention.

We need to do better. If we who celebrate free enterprise, capitalism, and The American Dream will not pay attention to his passing, why should we expect anyone to admire his achievements? Why would any young person want to emulate him?

Billy Mays started out hawking a washer-in-a-bucket on the Atlantic City boardwalk. He was a shameless pitchman, became an entrepreneur and a capitalist, and died a multimillionaire… all on the back of his skill as a salesman. Is there anything more quintessentially capitalist than that? Does anyone’s life better represent the promise of free enterprise? Does Billy Mays not belong in the American Dream Hall of Fame?

We’re told daily that “the free market has failed.” Instead of having people like Billy Mays on its cover, Newsweek tells the public “We’re All Socialists Now.” To read the newspapers in this country, virtue resides in government; the private sector is composed entirely of thieves and bandits. On Sunday, Senator Lindsey Graham — the new John McCain — explained that young people today are just not listening to Republicans. Why should they? Does anything good ever come of Republican principles? And if so, when are we going to hear about it?

I’m hoping that when Billy got to the Pearly Gates, Saint Peter told him, “But wait! There’s more!”

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