Millionaire's One-Man Stimulus Plan a Success

As the country braces itself for another lackluster jobs report, CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric met a Philadelphia man who isn't waiting for the president or the 112th Congress to jumpstart the economy. In fact, he's putting his money where his mouth is - and if he gets his way, it'll cost him plenty.



Leo Deoliveira is back on the job, after nearly five long years on unemployment.

"Three years ago, we lost our house," he said. "It was rough."

But the 43-year-old father of four can't thank a headhunter or some local politician for getting him hired. He can thank Gene Epstein, a 71-year-old philanthropist from Philadelphia.

"I've been through recessions over my lifetime, and I've never seen anything like this," Epstein said.

That's why he's pledged to donate $1,000 to charity for the first 250 small businesses that agree to hire just one employee.

"There's 5,700,000 small businesses," Epstein said. "If one out of 10 small businesses hired just one employee, we will bring in 570,000 new employees to payrolls."

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His crusade started with a full-page ad in the Bucks County Courier Times. Then came an online interview with the Huffington Post.

Now the "Hire just one" campaign is on the move - with over 196 businesses already on board.

Hire Just One

Epstein told Couric, "last night got an email from someone in Ohio. And he said, 'I was so enthused about your program that I want to tell you that we just put someone on today.'"

Epstein has always been industrious, even before he made his fortune as a car dealer and real estate investor. His dad died when he was 11, and by 15, he had opened a candy store with his mom to save their north Philadelphia home.

"I started at 6:00 in the morning. I went off to school at 8:00. I'd come back at 3:30 and worked it until 10:00 at night," he said. "Less than 18 months later paid the mortgage off on the house and had my mom quit her job."

"You learned how to be a pretty shrewd businessman at an early age," Couric said.

"I've never found a downside risk of working hard."

But with the national unemployment rate stuck at almost 10 percent, can Epstein convince enough businesses that the risk is worth the reward?

Phil Chantis one business owner who bought in. In fact last month, Chant decided his machine manufacturing company in New Britain, Pa., could afford to hire not just one, but five.

"What Gene's program did for us, it got us talking," Chant said. "We did it. We pulled the trigger, again and again."

Leo Deoliveira is grateful for one of those jobs - and especially grateful for one man's pledge to put America back to work, one person at a time.

Epstein is 71 years old, and financially comfortable. Why is he doing this?

"I know this program will work and it just makes feel so incredibly good that it was able to get people back to work."
  • Katie Couric

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