Nick Hanauer is a very rich, wildly successful business man. His company, aQuantive, was purchased by Microsoft in 2007 for $6.4 billion. He founded gear.com, which merged with Overstock.com, and he was one of the first investors in Amazon.com in the 1990s.
Hanauer knows opportunity.
Hanauer also, it seems, both understands and is willing to articulate what most of our country's wealthiest citizens refuse to acknowledge: that it is the middle class which creates jobs through demand, and that our country's richest members of society need to be paying more in taxes so as not to undercut and destroy those Americans who ultimately determine our nation's economic health.
Hanauer was interviewed recently by Henry Blodget of Yahoo! Finance, and it is an interview I highly recommend be viewed in its entirety. (I've embedded it below.)
Why? He displayed, in a number of shining moments, the type of progressive economic stances that our country needs to hear more from those within the one percent who view the current economic inequalities that exist in our country as both unsustainable and wrong.
Here's Hanauer responding to the argument that taxing the rich at higher levels is akin to punishing the most productive members of society, those who drive job creation:
There's this idea in our society that rich people are job creators, and if you tax them more, then they'll create less jobs. This is simply a misunderstanding of how the economy works – it's actually the middle class that creates the jobs with the demand that forces businesses to increase employment.
Here's Hanauer responding to the argument that investors and venture capitalists shouldn't be taxed at a higher rate because businesses would be hurt and job creation would decrease:
Here's the thing: it is ludicrous to say that if I pay an extra 10 points on a big capital gain, that the money the government spends isn't benefiting me directly. Look, what do I care if my tax rate is 15% or 25% if I have more customers? Ultimately, the only thing that's important to businesses is a thriving customer base, and we are systematically destroying our customer base in this country by undercutting the middle class.
And that's just – it's silly. It's stupid. And that set of policies (the 1% paying less in taxes than the middle class) have put us in the death spiral we're in.
And here's Hanauer on the idea that the private sector should also be increasing wages in order to decrease the income inequalities in this country:
That's crucial. As you must know, the percent of the GDP that is devoted to wages has been falling like a rock, while at the same time corporate profits are skyrocketing.
Look, corporate profits are at a 50-year high, while unemployment is also at a 50-year high. If it was true that the rich and business were the job creators, we'd be drowning in jobs today.
Here's an incredible fact: if you took corporate profits from the high that they are now and dropped them to a "normal" rate, you would cut loose about $750 billion. If you spread that $750 billion among 100,000,000 middle-income workers, that's $7,500 a worker.
Imagine how robust our economy would be.
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Author's Note 1:
Hanauer is co-founder of The True Patriot Network, a progressive organization that promotes placing service to country over self and a host of progressive values as true patriotism.
He also co-founded the League of Education Voters, a non-partisan political action organization which is dedicated to improving public education in Washington State.
Author's Note 2:
Below is the interview on Yahoo! Finance: