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Here’s an unusal über-rich guy with an unusual message for his fellow one-percent-of-the-one-percenters.
Nick Hanauer, who made billions as an internet entrepreneur, recently wrote in an open letter to other über-richies that, “The true job creators are middle-class consumers, not rich businesspeople like us.” America is dependent on a strong middle class he says, for it’s their purchases that power the economy, he says, noting that “I earn about 1,000 times the median American annually, but I don’t buy thousands of times more stuff.” He points out that his family has three cars – not 3,000. So, Hanauer says, it’s in the self-interest of America’s corporate and financial elites to do all they can to lift wages – starting with a $15-an-hour minimum wage.
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The old claim that paying workers more will destroy small businesses and job growth is simply not true, he says, adding that it’s insidious to claim that helping the rich get richer is good for the economy, but helping the poor get richer is bad for it. Hanauer points out that “The two cities in the nation with the highest rate of job growth by small businesses are San Francisco and Seattle” – which also have the two highest minimum-wage levels in the country.
For the Koch-headed ideologues who say any minimum wage is Big Government in Action, this member of the Billionaire’s Club says that the soundest way to shrink government is to decrease the need for it – pay decent wages so people don’t need food stamps, rent assistance, and other subsidies for life’s basics.
Hanauer concludes with this sobering warning to obtuse billionaires: No society can survive the glaring inequities we are building into the American economy – stop these feudal low-wage policies and bridge the widening divide, or “the pitch forks are going to come for us.”
“Ultra-rich man’s letter: “To My Fellow Filthy Rich Americans: The Pitchforks Are Coming,” www.topinfopost.com, June 30, 2014.
“The Capitalist’s Case for a $15 Minimum Wage,” www.bloombergview.com, June 19, 2013.