Bless his liberal heart, Nick Hanauer is at it again. Having been rebuffed by TED from posting the above video, Hanauer hasn't stopped challenging the conservative ethos on the economy that have become conventional wisdom through sheer repetition and insistence.
In the would-be TED talk, Hanauer disputed the notion that the wealthy are the job creators. In Bloomberg News this week, Hanauer questioned why we aren't demanding a minimum wage in this country of ....wait for it...FIFTEEN DOLLARS AN HOUR:
Traditionally, arguments for big minimum-wage increases come from labor unions and advocates for the poor. I make the case as a businessman and entrepreneur who sees our millions of low-paid workers as customers to be cultivated and not as costs to be cut.
Here’s a bottom-line example: My investment portfolio includes Pacific Coast Feather Co., one of the largest U.S. manufacturers of bed pillows. Like many other manufacturers, pillow-makers are struggling because of weak demand. The problem comes down to this: My annual earnings equal about 1,000 times the U.S. median wage, but I don’t consume 1,000 times more pillows than the average American. Even the richest among us only need one or two to rest their heads at night.
An economy such as ours that increasingly concentrates wealth in the top 1 percent, and where most workers must rely on stagnant or falling wages, isn’t a place to build much of a pillow business, or any other business for that matter.
Raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour would inject about $450 billion into the economy each year. That would give more purchasing power to millions of poor and lower-middle-class Americans, and would stimulate buying, production and hiring.
Studies by the Economic Policy Institute show that a $15 minimum wage would directly affect 51 million workers and indirectly benefit an additional 30 million. That’s 81 million people, or about 64 percent of the workforce, and their families who would be more able to buy cars, clothing and food from our nation’s businesses.
This virtuous cycle effect is described in the research of economists David Card and Alan Krueger (the current chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers) showing that, contrary to conventional economic orthodoxy, increases in the minimum wage increase employment. In 60 percent of the states that raised the minimum wage during periods of high unemployment, job growth was faster than the national average.
Some business people oppose an increase in the minimum wage as needless government interference in the workings of the market. In fact, a big increase would substantially reduce government intervention and dependency on public assistance programs.
It's about time we put these Chicago School of Economic tenets down as the myths they are and embrace economic principles that have actually a precedence of working sucessfully.