Seattle University Symposium on Inequality, Nick Hanauer
The following video was posted in Ed’s Post by Marko. I thought it deserved a wider audience.
The symposium included a discussion regarding raising the minimum wage to $15. Mr. Hanauer, being an honest to goodness real billionaire talked about what that would mean for his situation. I like the way he put it. He earns 1000 times the median wage and yet he still only needs 1 pillow when he sleeps at night, not 1000.
You might also know of him from his TED talk that was originally refused for posting. He has been talking for a while about the wrongness and dangers of income inequality.
Now, if only he would team up with one or 2 more billionaires and start fighting against the Koch et al’s money in the political arena. Then we just might see some balance.
the problem is not inequality per se. theproblem is criminality in high places… and that the criminal rich now have the political power to make their crimes legal.
the problem at the other end is not that some people are poor. but they are so poor their lives are a misery. and the government is in the hands of people who are just fine with that… touting the free market will solve everything when it can’t. and won’t when it is in the hands of predators.
It is the inequality now that allows the criminal rich to have the political power.
I just heard on the radio that Forbes is not stating that the prior number of 85 people in the world having as much wealth as 1/2 the worlds population has now changed to 65 people.
Interesting, Koch is #59 of donors, 11 of the highest donors all go to Democrats, minus TBTF’s who spread the wealth evenly to Congress.
While not a fan of the “Citizens United Decision”, I’m not a fan of either Party legislating due to corporate and K Street monies.
Or is this a one-way blog?
it is hard to know what you mean. are you saying that if there was no inequality there would be no criminal ruling class?
i think that is wrong. you could easily have a class of rulers who lived like jesuit monks and saw to it that you did too.
meanwhile fighting for “equality” is a losing proposition. the workers don’t want it. never have. they want to be treated fairly, like human beings and not like disposable parts.
they don’t care if someone is rich as long as he is decent.
it is not “inequality” that creates the criminal rich. it is the criminal rich who have always created “inequality” in the sense that they have “more” or even “all” and the rest of the people don’t. i think you could win a political battle (never the war) by fighting against criminality in high places. you will never win one fighting against “inequality.”
by the way, it’s been tried. and even when the revolution was successful (rarely) it was always “meet the new boss: same as the old boss.”
it’s not a thousand pillows that the rich want. they use their money to acquire the power to keep their pillows. whether ten or a hundred or just one.
i guarantee that if those 65 richest of the rich used their money to make life pleasant, or at least fair, for the other billions, the billions would believe that rule by the rich was just fine.
instead the richest of the rich use their money to make life worse for the rest of us, if not just out of stupid greed, then out of fear that the rest of us are going to take away everything they have… including their wives and their lives.
not smart to play into that fear.
One Billionaire who doesn’t like what he sees. Two or three more won’t help the situation much, although a nice idea. 1/3 to 1/2 of the billionaires would have to go against the others to give it a fighting chance until a trillionaire shows up (most likely won’t be long).
NONE OF WHICH will give it ALL to the poor and follow Jesus.
LOOK at the other side of the coin that exists RIGHT NOW, POSITIVELY, NO DOUBT.
99 to 1 or maybe even 99.9 to .1 or could be 99.99 to .01. THAT’S winning odds.
And really, come right down to it, ALL it takes is enough PRESSURE on Congress to change the TAX code and then make diligent use of the funds produced to ACTUALLY CREATE JOBS.
ALL GOVERNMENTS are in the business of taking money out of one pocket and putting it into another, upward or downward. T’was ever thus.
You are over thinking my thought. Treating people fair is a form of equality. No one, and least of all me has suggested “equality” in that there is homeostasis within the economy regarding wealth and income.
Inequality is ever present, I’m confident you understand I get it and that we’re talking degrees of inequality here. What we have learned now is that money can and may trump the best of ideals even when written in the form of a constitution.
My statement is clear, inequality allows the criminal rich to have the political power. It does not say anything about creating criminals. The inequality via money results in a kind of purchase of the social institutions. In the book “Why Nations Fail” it is a society moving from an inclusive society to an exclusive society and there are plenty of examples in history of that happening. One that stood out clearly was Venice : http://www.csmonitor.com/Books/chapter-and-verse/2012/0806/Why-Nations-Fail-Can-elites-choke-American-prosperity
As to 1000 pillows, Mr. Hanauer’s point was that the rich can not create enough demand to keep things going. He has 1000x income but only needs one pillow.
Mike, 2 or 3 more would help. We have the numbers, but we do not have the message control needed to assure elective outcomes especially in this political structure of voter ID, and gerrymandering via computer models.
Daniel Becker: WE have The Net.
i suspect that we fundamentally agree. it’s just that talk about “equality” is easily played by the criminal rich as “envy” or some sort of “levelling.”
so i emphasize that it’s not “inequality” that leads to the criminal rich, but that the criminal rich create (ipso facto) pernicious inequality. we can enlist the support of even the moderate rich in fighting the criminal rich, including their takeover of the government. but we won’t do it by marching around calling for “equality.”
and as for the thousand pillows… no doubt even the criminal rich could buy enough cars and boats and airplanes to keep the economy going, if that’s what they wanted to do. heck, they don’t even buy vast armies of soldiers. they just buy congressmen. and somehow THAT money does not “trickle down”.
and to run on a bit: it seems to me that the debate over trickle down vs trickle up should be over by now. trickle up works.. inevitably. trickle down doesn’t. never has. you’d think the ordinary rich would figure that out. but the rich are no smarter than the poor and they get fooled or fool themselves with their own propaganda. meanwhile the criminal rich are smarter.. up to a point.. and they know the game is not about the economy, or even about money as such. it is about power, and the politics of “trickle down” works for them. they know it’s a lie. but when has politics not been about lies?
A valid reason to raise the minimum wage is to “grow the pie,” not reduce income inequality.
A $15 national minimum wage may raise income inequality, because higher productivity and lower overall production costs, from the higher wage, may boost profits.
A $20 national minimum wage may shrink the pie and reduce income inequality, because unemployment (for both capitalists and laborers) may be higher.
Which is better? A bigger pie with more income inequality or a smaller pie with less income inequality.
I think, raising living standards, not reducing income inequality, should be the objective. Otherwise, there may be some undesirable effects.
Peak Trader: True, raising the minimum wage is necessary to a recovery, but then jobs are needed to pay that wage. Considering the large unemployment numbers and even the many that have given up, then major works projects are needed and quickly. Rebuilding bridges that are dangerous, since there are PLENTY of them, is a good start. From flaggers to concrete pavers alone, that’s a lot of people with a good take home pay to increase that “pie” with.
Its not free though and printing up that kind of debt will leave large amounts of inflationary cash on the market.
Pulling it out of TAXES leaves it at NO INTEREST which keeps debt and inflation down.
THE RICH can keep today’s billions in their pockets even if they must PAY 91% on tomorrow’s income. They will STILL be rich. Nobody want’s their wives, houses, or blood, WE just NEED to restart this economy.
91% WORKED WELL in the past and it will work well again. No doubt that after things pick back up THE RICH will buy some new politicians and start trickle down all over, these thing run in cycles.
Mike, the problem is when you owe $5,000 on your car payment, of $450 a month, and you’re behind on your bills, how will paying someone to pave the road help you? I doubt it would help much.
Tax cuts would build a mountain of government debt to reduce a mountain of household debt.
Government spending would build a mountain of government debt to add to a mountain of household debt.
Peak Trader, The Rich are NOT behind on any payments, they are rich.
TAXATION ON THE RICH does not add to government or household debt. Paying labor to repair OUR worn out highways and bridges WILL help those behind on mortgages, car payments, and bills.
Perhaps YOU have misunderstood me, I’m talking about TAXING THE RICH, not those in poor financial straits. (Say $500,000 per year income starting at 30%, $900,000 @ 60%, $1,200,000 @ 75%, $4,000,000 +@91% for a rough example) Loop holds for PAYING HIGH WAGES to employees, truly social charities, business investments, etc. could be thrown into the mix.