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Who Is Thomas Peterffy, and Why Is He Warning Us About Socialism?

The Exchange

Candidates, parties, super PACs ... now even private citizens are promoting their own agendas in political advertisements.

Billionaire Thomas Peterffy is perhaps best known as the founder of electronic stock trading firm Interactive Brokers, but the Hungarian-born American entrepreneur also grew up in the shadow of socialism and is not excited about what he sees happening here in the U.S. On Wednesday he began airing his own, privately financed one-minute ad addressing his concerns about the U.S. election and urging viewers to vote Republican.

"I grew up in a socialist country and I have seen what that does to people," Peterffy, who is believed to be worth as much as $5 billion, says in the ad. "There is no hope, no freedom, no pride in achievement. The nation became poorer and poorer, and that's what I see happening here." ... "America's wealth comes from the efforts of people striving for success. Take away their incentive with badmouthing success and you take away the wealth that helps us take care of the needy."

According to CNN, Peterffy's spots will run through Election Day on November 6 and he's expecting to spend $5-$10 million total on the ad buy depending how well it performs. Swing states like Ohio, Wisconsin and Colorado will be the focus.

One thing is for sure, though. If any part of the U.S. economy is still free-market driven, it's television advertising.