The one percent have reputed themselves as self-victimizing whiners with paranoid delusions of poor people wanting to take their money. Seattle-based venture capitalist Nick Hanauer is not one of them as he has consistently challenged one percenters notions towards “status, privileges, and power.”
Hanauer has been critical of the politics of his conservative, one percent counterparts. The traditionally conservative wealthy believe that they are entitled to tax breaks and privileges because they are the “job creators,” and are opposed to taxes and financial regulations as such laws, they say, kill jobs.
Hanauer says the real job killers are new technologies and efficiencies of the modern market and that our government and capitalists have a responsibility to help recreate the lose jobs. An entrepreneur and venture capitalist, Hanauer made his initial fortune by being an investor in Amazon.com in 1995.
“Amazon didn’t create any jobs,” said Hanauer, not shying away from the grim effects of capitalism. “Amazon probably destroyed a million jobs in our economy.”
However, he does believe that there are ways to circumvent current American capitalism’s negative effect on jobs and the economy. Hanauer is a staunch proponent of increasing the federal and Washington state minimum wage to $15 per hour, which most of the one percent is ardently opposed.
But Hanauer thinks that raising the minimum wage would perpetuate a “circle-of-life-like feedback loop between customers and businesses.” More simply, higher wages would increase business activity which would eventually create room for expansion thus creating more jobs. Hanauer keenly observes that if the conservative school for job creation worked, there would be a surplus of work in America.
“If it were true that lower tax rates [for the rich] and more wealth for the wealthy would lead to more job creation, then today we would be drowning in jobs,” he said. “And yet unemployment and underemployment is at record highs.”
But Hanauer’s beliefs don’t come uncriticized. Co-chair and fellow CEO of Hanauer’s family-owned pillow business, Pacific Coast Feather Company, Joe Crawford, thinks the idea is ludicrous and the company would tank six months after a implementing $15 per hour minimum wage. Hanauer noted that employees at the company’s Seattle headquarters are already paid more.
Outside of Hanauer’s opposing CEO, who does tend to share some similar sentiments with Hanauer, Hanauer, being on the inside, offers some final insight into the attitudes of the one percent.
“This is not about money – it’s about status, privileges, and power, “said Hanauer. “This is my world – I know a lot of these folks – and a lot of these are border-line sociopathic people, and they don’t care about other people.”