Friday, January 4, 2008

Glenn Beck - Honest Questions with Jon Hunstman

One night when Patty and I were in LA last weekend, we were flipping through the channels and caught an interview between Glenn Beck and Jon Huntsman, Sr. on CNN. Earlier in the week, I had heard an advertisement on the radio for this interview and it sounded very interesting (I've never seen the Glenn Beck show before).

Jon Huntsman grew up in poverty, attended the Wharton School, founded the Huntsman Corporation (one of the world's largest chemical companies), and is now a member of the Forbes 400. He is also a mega philanthropist. After his mother died from cancer, he founded the Huntsman Cancer Instititute and the Huntsman Cancer Foundation to find a cure for cancer.

It was a very inspiring interview...

Here are some excerpts from the interview:
HUNTSMAN: Well, I think, Glenn, there`s an old expression that we all know. It said -- it goes as follows -- life isn`t fair, but that doesn`t mean that we shouldn`t be fair. And as we go through life, I think we have to take an accountability of ourself and see, you know, who are we? What are our real values? What do we believe in?

I`d like if I can just mention this early on here -- I`d like to talk to people about what will be said at their funeral. Have you ever planned a eulogy?

When you talk to 21-year-olds, you talk to college students, you talk to young executives on Wall Street or on Fleet Street in London, Montgomery Street in San Francisco, or somewhere in Russia or China, particularly at Beijing University in China, where I was recently, and you ask them, "Have you ever planned your eulogy? What are they going to say about you? What is the character of the man or woman involved?"

And so I would just say that, you know, that`s kind of the key to life, is to ask ourself, when we`re peeking at our funeral, how are we going to be?

HUNTSMAN: But I lost $200 million. But I`ll tell you, Glenn, the integrity, the value of one`s character. He had me speak at his funeral. He only had Governor Bey (ph) of Indiana and me as his two speakers. I was so honored, because he remembered our situation. And when he passed away he had put in his will, put in his last testament, that I was to -- I was worth $200 million.

BECK: But do you know how unique this is? Do you know how unique this is? When I read this story, I thought, OK, there`s going to be -- oh, but yes, "but later I made all this money, et cetera."

You took the value -- you lost $200 million, and you took the value as you were honored to speak at the man`s funeral. Do you know how rare that is?

BECK: You were -- in 2001 you were on the cliff...


BECK: You were on the cliff, and you were headed towards bankruptcy, and you said bankruptcy is...

HUNTSMAN: Not an option.

BECK: Is not an option.

HUNTSMAN: Never an option.

BECK: Because?

HUNTSMAN: It`s never -- because our name is on the door, No. 1.

No. 2, because in bankruptcy somebody gets hurt. Your creditors, your suppliers, your customers. Maybe some of your -- of your employees are released. If somebody gets hurt because of you, what kind of a man or woman are you?

BECK: OK. So he won`t take out bankruptcy -- I`ve got to go into a break. He wouldn't take out bankruptcy, so he takes out a loan. He sells his -- he sells some of his personal stuff. He takes out a loan so he can meet the commitments of his charity.


BECK: We just talked about it a minute ago. Possible bankruptcy. That`s what your financial people were saying: just declare bankruptcy and just get out. And you said absolutely not.

And you had commitments to charity. I have never heard of anyone, when they are facing bankruptcy, say -- go to a bank and say, "I need to sell my stuff so I can meet my commitments to charity." What did you do?

HUNTSMAN: Well, Glenn, this is -- I mean, this is the character of the man or woman. When you make -- when one makes commitments to charity, it`s very, very important that they maintain those commitments, because you have -- in our case we have cancer institutes. We have centers for abused women and children. We have scholarships, 5,000 scholarships to underprivileged children. We have programs for the homeless.

If all of a sudden we withdrew our money, our commitments, and these commitments are made over three, four, five, six, seven years, if we withdrew those commitments, thousands of people, millions of people would either go homeless, would not have scholarships. So those become vital parts of our link to integrity and honesty and keeping our word.

And so when the business was ready to go off the cliff, and I had to go without a salary and our people went without bonuses, and we had a terrible time during 2001 and 2002. Energy prices went up. There was overcapacity. There was a recession, a perfect storm.

The bottom line is I went to the bank, and I told Bill Harrison at JP Morgan Chase and my friends at Citibank and my other friends in the banking business, "I have to take out a loan. I have to put up my home for collateral. I have to put up what`s left of my company for collateral."

And they said, "Well, Jon, your business, it looks like it might make it. It looks like it might make it."

I said, "No, it isn`t for the business; this is for charity."

BECK: What did they say?

HUNTSMAN: They said, "You`re crazy. We`ve never made a loan to anybody for $50 million, for $75 million, for $100 million so you can turn around and give it to charity."

I said, "Well, you have to." If people make a commitment to something as critical as charitable interests, are you going to take away these scholarships from kids? Are you going to deprive cancer victims and cancer patients from not having research and proper clinical treatment? I said, "Whatever it takes. Take my business, take my house, but I need the money for charity. That`s a critical point."

And so we got through it, and I paid them all back. And you know, but it was -- I`m going to tell you, Glenn, it`s not easy. Bankers are tough to deal with. These guys are -- you know, they never cut you any slack.

BECK: ...I don`t know, Glenn. It just seems like those who are blessed with money have an obligation -- no, no, they have a duty. They have a solemn duty in life to give that money back to a better and higher use, and that better and higher use is helping our fellow man and woman.

BECK: We live in a society where our government is telling us we should take it from you. We should take -- you owe us the money that you have made. And I have -- and you see -- you don`t see an example like you very often, that is so glaring, but it is not the government`s responsibility to take it. It is your responsibility.

HUNTSMAN: Absolutely.

BECK: ... to give it.

HUNTSMAN: Absolutely. And the government will take it and waste it. The ideal situation is let private industry, private Americans establish what we did. People said you can`t establish a cancer institute, you`re just one individual. What do you mean you can establish a cancer institute? What do you mean you can build hospitals? What do you mean you can do large research projects? You know, and you just say, "Watch it."

There is too much to put here, just read the entire thing!
Read it here:
"Glenn Beck - Honest Questions with Jon Huntsman" interview transcript (from

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