Super Rich Guy to Billionaires: Get with the 99% Or Prepare for Revolution


 NICK HANAUER

Some people seem to be having a problem with Nick Hanauer.  He seems to have pissed off a lot of people, but at the same time, he seems to be talking sense and to have achieved significant traction. This often seems to happen in times of turmoil and change. A multi-millionaire in his own right, but also someone with a profound liberal arts and humanities grounding, Mr. Hanauer has called “foul,”  with the behavior of the 1%. I am personally fascinated with people like this, because I sense that Hanauer is somewhat like me. I worked with Ivy League MBA’s at Intel who said to me that they wished that they had my humanities education, while I told them that I wished I had their management education. I now teach management in a prestigious university and can comment intelligently.

I admit openly to being a capitalist, but something has gone terribly wrong with our system.  I follow the leading global investment banks. I know about Michael Lewis, Liar’s Poker, Flash Boys, LIBOR, foreign exchange fraud, commodity trading fraud, tax evasion for wealthy U.S and German clients, money laundering for drug cartels and ask myself what has gone so terribly wrong.  The worst has been Silicon Valley luminary venture capitalists like Tom Perkins, who have become an obscene embarrassment. Some of the wealthy have tried to distance themselves from Mr. Perkins, but actually have their own equivocations for why everyone misunderstands them.

I agree with Mr. Hanauer. The pendulum is swinging back as it always does and unless the rich get on board with ethical reform, the backlash will be harsh.

 

Super-Rich Guy To ‘Zillionaires’: Back $15 Minimum Wage Or

Prepare For Revolution

A Seattle millionaire is urging his super-rich peers to support a $15 minimum wage or face the possibility of a devastating populist revolt.

In an essay published this week by Politico Magazine, venture capitalist Nick Hanauer warned that the widening income gap in the U.S. would eventually spark a violent revolution.

“No society can sustain this kind of rising inequality,” Hanauer wrote in the piece, shared nearly 200,000 times on Facebook by Tuesday afternoon. “In fact, there is no example in human history where wealth accumulated like this and the pitchforks didn’t eventually come out.”

Hanauer, whose fortune ballooned thanks to an early investment in Amazon, first suggested raising the minimum wage to $15 last year in an op-ed published by Bloomberg View.

A February profile in the Seattle Timessaid he first became “obsessed” with the $15-an-hour figure in late 2012. Last month, with Hanauer’s blessing, Seattle’s city council unanimously passed an ordinance enshrining that wage — the nation’s highest guaranteed minimum pay — in law.

Hanauer has faced criticism from conservatives and business pundits. In 2012, his TED talk about imposing more taxes on the wealthy was banned from the conference’s site after it was deemed “too political.”

Hanauer argues in the Politico essay that the trickle-down economics evangelized by conservatives since President Ronald Reagan is “idiotic” and compared it to the way medieval monarchs and rulers claimed their fortune and power was bestowed by higher powers.

“Historically, we called that divine right,” he wrote. “Today we have trickle-down economics.”

That philosophy makes it difficult for middle-class customers to earn enough money to spend on the products people get wealthy selling, Hanauer writes.

“The model for us rich guys here should be Henry Ford, who realized that all his autoworkers in Michigan weren’t only cheap labor to be exploited; they were customers, too,” he writes. “Ford figured that if he raised their wages, to a then-exorbitant $5 a day, they’d be able to afford his Model Ts.”

Hanaeur said inaction by larger companies like Walmart and McDonald’s prove that “we should compel retailers to pay living wages – not just ask politely.”

This year has given Hanauer reasons to feel emboldened. French economist Thomas Piketty struck a nerve with his book on the widening wealth gap, Capital In The Twenty-First Century which skyrocketed to No. 1 on Amazon. Further fueling the fire, the International Monetary Fund last month urged the United States to raise the minimum wage or risk even slower economic growth.

“If workers have more money, businesses have more customers,” Hanauer wrote. “The middle class creates us rich people, not the other way around.”

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