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DeJoria: Obama may lack business sense to help middle class

Monday, 29 Jul 2013 | 1:01 PM ET
How to get America working again
Monday, 29 Jul 2013 | 11:13 AM ET
John Paul DeJoria, Paul Mitchell CEO and co-founder, discusses job creation and how he intends to help keep people working.

Billionaire and serial entrepreneur John Paul DeJoria—the co-founder of Paul Mitchell Systems and Patrón Tequila—said that although President Barack Obama means well, he likely doesn't have the business acumen to do what is best for the middle class.


The government needs "we the business people, we that started with nothing and made something, advising the government or helping the government," DeJoria told "Squawk on the Street" Monday. "And we'll do it for nothing."

"No disrespect, I don't know if the president has even run a lemonade stand," DeJoria added. "He's a good man and he means well, no disrespect to him, please understand that, but you need business people that have ... built organizations where people have good jobs."

DeJoria said that the government and businesses should have been paying more attention to the economic stability of the middle class years ago. "When all this economic unrest happened, at Paul Mitchell and now Patrón, we always made sure that our own people were always OK," he said.

"I'm a serial entrepreneur, I have 10 companies," DeJoria said. "I'm happy to give people jobs forever, that's what I like to do."

(Related: Subway 'wouldn't exist' if Started today due to regulations: Founder Deluca)

DeJoria said that his strategy is to create jobs where employees have multiple responsibilities, which creates a system with "fewer moving parts," and said that it was because of this approach that neither Patron nor Paul Mitchell Systems has had to lay off employees.

"If more people in business or government had their people do three or four things—which they are very capable of doing—paying them a little bit more, you have a middle class and you don't have to get people out of work," he said. "When you add people on, you add them on with the idea in mind that they could do so much. You don't have to lay them off when times are slow."

(Related: The new American poor: 4 in 5 live in danger of it)

DeJoria also pointed to his initiatives such as Grow Appalachia, which looks to help people in the Appalachia region get themselves off food stamps, help them increase productivity and become more self-sufficient.

"We're not a socialist society—I don't think we ever will be—let American entrepreneurs get out there, let the people do it," he said.

—By CNBC's Paul Toscano. Follow him on Twitter and get the latest stories from "Squawk on the Street" @ToscanoPaul

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