Ending the Protection Racket for the Rich

Nick Hanauer

Episode 3

A week after President Joe Biden’s fiery State of the Union address focused on re-growing America’s middle class, Abby has a lively conversation with millionaire reformer Nick Hanauer about what Biden is doing and why it’s so important. Hanauer, a venture capitalist, and activist has long been sounding the alarm on our inequality crisis, warning that trouble is coming our way if nothing is done to address the problem. In fact, he argues that that trouble will likely involve angry people with pitchforks. We got a preview, he says, when President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol: “The toxic stew that is created when you make the tiniest sliver of us extremely wealthy, while everyone, even people in the 90th percentile feel like they’re falling behind …It just makes people mad and it should make people mad. I’m very sympathetic to that anger.” According to Hanauer, President Biden’s “middle-out” economic policies make him America’s first “post-Reagan” president, and that gives him hope. But much more still needs to change the system which among other things, gives, “moral cover to shitbags.” It’s important to take power from the very rich, he says, because they won’t give up power voluntarily. “Jeff Bezos,” for instance, “will never wake up and say ‘Hey, I should really run differently.’” There aren’t rewards for empathy at the very top, Hanauer tells Abby. For billionaires like Bezos, Zuckerberg, and Musk the rewards come from “ being cold-blooded and exploiting people.”

Follow Nick Hanauer on Twitter or Facebook. His podcast is Pitchfork Economics.

Special Guest

Nick Hanauer

Entrepreneur, venture capitalist, civic activist, philanthropist, author.

Nick Hanauer is a serial entrepreneur and venture capitalist from Seattle, Washington with more than three decades of experience investing in and managing companies across a broad range of industries. He’s also a civic innovator who made headlines with his early support for the Fight for 15 and his two popular TED Talks about the causes and consequences of America’s growing income inequality. He’s founded projects and organizations including Civic Ventures, The League of Education Voters, and The Alliance for Gun Responsibility, and he is the co-author of two best-selling books, “The True Patriot” and “The Gardens of Democracy.”

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