As the war over income inequality wages on, super-rich Seattle entrepreneur Nick Hanauer has been raising the hackles of his fellow 1-percenters, espousing the contrarian argument that rich people don’t actually create jobs.
The position is controversial — so much so that TED is refusing to post a talk that Hanauer gave on the subject.
National Journal reports today that TED officials decided not to put Hanauer’s March 1 speech up online after deeming his remarks “too politically controversial” for the site.
In an email obtained by the National Journal, TED curator Chris Anderson told his colleagues that Hanauer’s speech “probably ranks as one of the most politically controversial talks we’ve ever run, and we need to be really careful when” to post it. He added: “Next week ain’t right. Confidentially, we already have Melinda Gates on contraception going out. Sorry for the mixed messages on this.”
TED regularly posts speeches about sensitive political issues, including global warming and contraception, so it’s not clear why Hanauer’s talk would be singled out for censorship.
We’ve emailed Hanauer to see what he thinks, but in the meantime, here’s an excerpt for you to judge for yourself:
I can say with confidence that rich people don’t create jobs, nor do businesses, large or small. What does lead to more employment is a “circle of life” like feedback loop between customers and businesses. And only consumers can set in motion this virtuous cycle of increasing demand and hiring. In this sense, an ordinary middle-class consumer is far more of a job creator than a capitalist like me.
So when businesspeople take credit for creating jobs, it’s a little like squirrels taking credit for creating evolution. In fact, it’s the other way around.
Anyone who’s ever run a business knows that hiring more people is a capitalists course of last resort, something we do only when increasing customer demand requires it. In this sense, calling ourselves job creators isn’t just inaccurate, it’s disingenuous.
That’s why our current policies are so upside down. When you have a tax system in which most of the exemptions and the lowest rates benefit the richest, all in the name of job creation, all that happens is that the rich get richer.
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