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American companies have been piling up more and more cash lately, which perversely has become a talking point for why the government should make public policy friendlier to large rich established companies. Sen. Tom Coburn yesterday lamented that Congress has not been "doing the things to create the confidence, to create the certainty in the business community that will allow the significant capital that's sitting on the sidelines to be invested, which would create some of the growth that you're hoping to do."

I think a less ridiculous viewpoint would be to say that the enormous volume of cash on hand that many companies have obtained goes to show that they should pay their workers more. The case against simply pressuring companies to raise wages, after all, is that operating surpluses are where tomorrow's investments come from. And that makes perfect sense. Over the long term, the way you get rising wages is from full employment, innovation, and capital deepening. You don't get any of those things by simply putting more money in the pockets of already employed workers. So to the extent that managers are running lean and mean operations in order to fund the Next Great Thing, I say good for them.

But if you're just throwing another bag of $100 bills on the old corporate treasury and whining about "uncertainty" then why not take that cash off the sidelines and put it into the hands of the team that brought in the revenue? Raise wages! Pay a bonus! Do a share buyback and then give the staff equity in the company! I mean, why not? Because you heard in business school that the best thing is always to pay people as little as possible? That's dumb. If you can think of something better to do with the money that you have to go hire some people to execute, then by all means—hire the people.

But to run a profitable business and then just do nothing with the surplus? Why? Back in the day when we had labor unions in the private sector this would go without saying. If profits soar, people are going to say "give us some of the money or else we're going on strike and the profits will vanish." That doesn't mean the management has to give in, but they have to come up with something to say in response. "No, we won't give you the money because we're doing blah blah blah with it and that'll be better for the long run because such and such." That's management. You've got money, you come up with something to do with it. This idea that somehow the United States Congress needs to step in and create "certainty" so that you know what to invest in is ridiculous. Either come up with an investment, or cough up the money.

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  • Google

    <strong>Immigrant Founder: </strong> Sergey Brin <strong>Country Of Origin: </strong> Russia <strong>Fun Fact:</strong> Google was named after the mathematical term "Googol," <a href="http://www.biography.com/people/sergey-brin-12103333" target="_blank">which signifies 1 followed by 100 zeros.</a>

  • AT&T

    <strong>Immigrant Founder: </strong> Alexander Graham Bell <strong>Country Of Origin: </strong> Scotland <strong>Fun Fact:</strong> Bell originally came to the U.S. as a teacher of the deaf, which<a href="http://www.pbs.org/transistor/album1/addlbios/bellag.html" target="_blank"> led him to the invention of microphone and later the telephone. </a>

  • Goldman Sachs

    <strong>Immigrant Founder: </strong> Marcus Goldman <strong>Country Of Origin: </strong> Germany <strong>Fun Fact:</strong> Goldman Sachs was founded in 1869 in New York City. The company began in <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/banksandfinance/8146839/Timeline-Goldman-Sachs-through-good-times-and-bad.html" target="_blank">a one-room office on Pine Street. </a>

  • eBay

    <strong>Immigrant Founder: </strong> Pierre Omidyar <strong>Country Of Origin: </strong> France <strong>Fun Fact:</strong> Pierre and his wife are the single biggest <a href="http://www.forbes.com/profile/pierre-omidyar/" target="_blank">private donors to efforts against the human trafficking industry</a>.

  • RadioShack

    <strong>Immigrant Founder: </strong> Theodore and Milton Deutschmann <strong>Country Of Origin: </strong> England <strong>Fun Facts:</strong> <a href="http://www.ilctr.org/promoting-immigrants/immigrant-entrepreneur-hof/deutschmann/" target="_blank">RadioShack was named after the wooden compartment</a> that held the radio equipment on ships. The first store opened in 1921 in Boston, Massachusetts.

  • Kohl's

    <strong>Immigrant Founder: </strong> Maxwell Kohl <strong>Country Of Origin: </strong> Poland <strong>Fun Fact:</strong> Maxwell Kohl worked in factories around Milwaukee until 1927, when he finally <a href="http://www.ilctr.org/promoting-immigrants/immigrant-entrepreneur-hof/kohl/" target="_blank">saved up enough money to open a small grocery store</a>, the beginning's of Kohl's.

  • Comcast

    <strong>Immigrant Founder: </strong> Daniel Aaron <strong>Country Of Origin: </strong> Germany <strong>Fun Fact:</strong> Aaron’s first job was <a href="http://www.ilctr.org/promoting-immigrants/immigrant-entrepreneur-hof/aaron/" target="_blank">actually as a journalist. </a>He was working on a story about a cable company when his interest in the industry took off.

  • Big Lots!

    <strong>Immigrant Founder: </strong> Sol Shenk <strong>Country Of Origin: </strong> Russia <strong>Fun Fact:</strong> Big Lots started as a <a href="http://www.ilctr.org/promoting-immigrants/immigrant-entrepreneur-hof/shenk/" target="_blank">auto parts wholesale shop </a>in 1967.

  • Yahoo!

    <strong>Immigrant Founder: </strong> Jerry Yang <strong>Country Of Origin: </strong> Taiwan <strong>Fun Fact:</strong> At age 10, the<a href="http://www.ilctr.org/promoting-immigrants/immigrant-entrepreneur-hof/yang/" target="_blank"> only English word Yang knew was "shoe." </a>

  • Nordstrom

    <strong>Immigrant Founder: </strong> John W. Nordstrom <strong>Country Of Origin: </strong> Sweden <strong>Fun Fact:</strong> Nordstrom came to the U.S.<a href="http://www.ilctr.org/promoting-immigrants/immigrant-entrepreneur-hof/nordstrom/" target="_blank"> in 1887 when he was 16 with only $5 </a>in his pocket.

  • Colgate

    <strong>Immigrant Founder: </strong> William Colgate <strong>Country Of Origin: </strong> England <strong>Fun Fact:</strong> In 1806, Colgate's first business was a <a href="http://www.colgate.com/app/Colgate/US/Corp/History/1806.cvsp" target="_blank">starch, soap and candle business</a> in New York City.

  • Sara Lee

    <strong>Immigrant Founder: </strong> Nathan Cummings <strong>Country Of Origin: </strong> Canada <strong>Fun Fact:</strong> It was <a href="http://www.ilctr.org/promoting-immigrants/immigrant-entrepreneur-hof/cummings/" target="_blank">an accident that Cummings was born in Canada. </a>His parents were coming to America from Lithuania when they mistakenly got off the boat in Saint Johns, Canada, rather than their intended destination: New York City.

  • Dupont

    <strong>Immigrant Founder: </strong> E.I. du Pont <strong>Country Of Origin: </strong> France <strong>Fun Fact:</strong> du Pont<a href="http://www.ilctr.org/promoting-immigrants/immigrant-entrepreneur-hof/dupont/" target="_blank"> studied explosives production techniques</a> and worked at France’s central powder agency as a teenager in the late 1700s.

  • Kraft Foods

    <strong>Immigrant Founder: </strong> James L. Kraft <strong>Country Of Origin: </strong> Canada <strong>Fun Fact:</strong> James Kraft could barely scrap up the money to get Kraft Foods started in New York City after the <a href="http://www.ilctr.org/promoting-immigrants/immigrant-entrepreneur-hof/kraft/" target="_blank">cheese company he invested in went under.</a>

  • Pfizer

    <strong>Immigrant Founders: </strong> Charles Pfizer, Charles Erhart <strong>Country Of Origin: </strong> Germany <strong>Fun Fact:</strong> <a href="http://www.ilctr.org/promoting-immigrants/immigrant-entrepreneur-hof/pfizer/" target="_blank">Pfizer and Erhart started the company with a $2,500 loan from Pfizer's father</a>.

  • Procter & Gamble

    <strong>Immigrant Founders: </strong> William Procter, James Gamble <strong>Countries Of Origin: </strong> England, Ireland <strong>Fun Fact: </strong>Procter was encouraged to come to the U.S. in 1830 after his shop in <a href="http://www.ilctr.org/promoting-immigrants/immigrant-entrepreneur-hof/procter/" target="_blank">London was destroyed by fire and burglary.</a>