BB&T should practice what it preaches.
The bank, based in Winston-Salem, N.C., has donated tens of millions of dollars to colleges to support the moral study of capitalism.
The gifts require that the schools require the reading of “Atlas Shrugged,” the Ayn Rand novel that champions free enterprise and portrays government as capitalism’s arch foe.
John Allison, BB&T’s CEO, says he discovered the novel as a college student and wants to give other students the opportunity to read it.
Yet, as reported by The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C., BB&T will take $3.1 billion of the $700 billion the federal government is spending to bail out the financial industry, with the government in turn taking BB&T preferred stock.
What is truly startling is that, unlike the failing banks that triggered the government’s massive bailout, BB&T is healthy and says it might use the money to grow by buying other companies.
So, to quote the opening line from Atlas Shrugged that invokes the name of Rand’s capitalist hero and suggests the world’s problems are beyond understanding, “Who is John Galt?”
Or in the case of BB&T’s hypocritical acceptance of taxpayer dollars, who is John Allison?
Despite the millions of philanthropic dollars it has invested in helping college students see Ayn Rand’s vision of the threat government poses to free minds and markets, BB&T is taking $3.1 billion of precious taxpayer funds that could be better invested in tackling urgent social problems.
At this precarious moment in U.S. history, BB&T should remember in the marketplace the lessons it wants college students to learn in the classroom.