Nick Hanauer is a venture capitalist who wrote a well-received op-ed at Bloomberg last year on how taxes should go up on the rich to “reward job creators.” In an upset to what passes for conventional wisdom in Washington, Hanauer wrote that despite being a rich person, he’s never been a “job creator,” and that “rich people don’t create jobs, nor do businesses, large or small.” Rather, strong aggregate demand from a viable and broad middle class creates jobs by creating the need for more goods and services. And soaring US inequality harms that job creation engine.
These are hardly controversial ideas from an economic standpoint, but in the context of the national conversation last year, they sounded revolutionary. So TED, the conference devoted to “spreading ideas,” signed Hanauer up for a talk. The talk was basically a recapitulation of this published op-ed; it’s not like the ideas were hidden somehow. But TED got cold feet and decided to scotch the talks.