Last November, venture capitalist Nick Hanauer – a very, very wealthy man – wrote a controversial comment piece for the Bloomberg news site. The argument was straightforward: middle-class consumers are more fundamental to job growth than entrepreneurs, and as a result tax cuts for the wealthy are short-sighted.
Hanauer's article started a conversation, and this March he was asked to give a TED talk – part of the popular non-profit information-sharing TED network. TED's motto is "Ideas worth sharing" – apparently Hanauer's little lecture didn't qualify. After the well-received talk, TED refused to release the video, billing it as overtly partisan in an election year. Lots of folks didn't buy that argument, and after a few too many commentators started commenting, TED released the video.
Now we can decide for ourselves:
In his original Bloomberg opinion piece, Hanauer wrote:
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 the feedback loop between customers and businesses. And only consumers can set in motion a virtuous cycle that allows companies to survive and thrive and business owners to hire. An ordinary middle-class consumer is far more of a job creator than I ever have been or ever will be.