Nick Hanauer

Posted: June 30, 2014
By: Clay Cerny

Nick Hanauer makes no bones about being wealthy. He also understands that consumers need money to buy the things that make people like him rich. He’s written a great open letter to his fellow “zillionaires.” It’s long, so I’ll just link and let you take it from a billionaire with great common sense.

Posted: May 27, 2012
By: Clay Cerny

[On Sundays, this blog looks beyond jobs and careers.]

The 1% speaks for the 99%.

Nick Hanauer is a rich man, an entrepreneur, part of the 1%.  He gave a speech at TED that lasted a little over five minutes.  However, if you go to the popular website, the speech can’t be accessed.  Hanauer’s talk was deemed too political.

Hanauer argues against the claim that rich people like himself are job creators.  He says, “Sometimes the ideas we are certain are true are dead wrong.” Instead, he points to consumers, especially the middle class, as the true catalysts for economic growth.  Using himself as an example, Hanauer asks how much the rich can stimulate the economy.  They can only buy  a limited number of cars and clothes.

Like all myths, this one comes wrapped in metaphor.  Hanauer looks at the term “job creator” and say it is just a “small jump” to “the creator.”  The wealthy give them selves a special status, even if it’s not justified by any hard evidence.  Hanauer considers the last ten years and says the increase of wealth at upper incomes should mean we have a great  economy.  Instead, we have one of the worst in history.  “We’ve had it backwards for the last 30 years.”  Hanauer concludes that  the “true job creators are middle class consumers.”

TED’s decision to take down this talk is very disappointing.  The site features presentations by liberals and conservatives, including Arianna Huffington and Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom.  Luckily for us, the wonder of the internet has preserved Hanauer’s talk.  It can be accessed through articles in Huffington Post and the Atlantic.  I remain a big fan of TED, but, in this case, the people who run it were not true to their own principles.

Hanauer has written two books that outline his political beliefs, which can also be explored at True Patriot Network, Hanauer’s project with his writing partner Alan Liu.  This website promotes a progressive version of America based on these values:  “service, stewardship, tolerance, and equality of opportunity.”  It offers ways to engage on the issues that Hanauer and Liu define as true patriotism.

Agree with him or not, Nick Hanauer cares about this country.  His voice deserves to be heard.