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Should The Wealthy Worry About Inequality?

Multi-millionaire Nick Hanauer says he and his fellow super-rich are killing the goose — the American middle class — that lays the golden eggs.

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, right, speaks with Ady Barkan of the Center for Popular Democracy as she arrives for a dinner during the Jackson Hole Economic Policy Symposium at the Jackson Lake Lodge in Grand Teton National Park near Jackson, Wyo. Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014.  (AP)

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, right, speaks with Ady Barkan of the Center for Popular Democracy as she arrives for a dinner during the Jackson Hole Economic Policy Symposium at the Jackson Lake Lodge in Grand Teton National Park near Jackson, Wyo. Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014. (AP)

Nick Hanauer is a millionaire many times over.  An entrepreneur.  An investor.  He was one of the first investors in Amazon.com.  Has started more than 30 companies.  Sold just one to Microsoft for $6 billion, cash.  He’s got a pile of fancy homes.  The plane.  The yacht.  His own bank.  And a message for his fellow American super-rich:  If we don’t figure out how to re-balance the wealth in this country and save the middle class, it’s all coming down.  The country.  The plutocracy.  The works.  This hour On Point:  Nick Hanauer, multi-millionaire, and his message for the super-rich.

— Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Nick Hanauer, entrepreneur and venture capitalist. Co-author, with Eric Lui, of the book “The Gardens of Democracy.” (@NickHanauer)

From Tom’s Reading List

POLITICO Magazine: The Pitchforks Are Coming… For Us Plutocrats — “The divide between the haves and have-nots is getting worse really, really fast. In 1980, the top 1 percent controlled about 8 percent of U.S. national income. The bottom 50 percent shared about 18 percent. Today the top 1 percent share about 20 percent; the bottom 50 percent, just 12 percent.

US News & World Report: Census Bureau: The Rich Got Richer — “Overall household wealth declined by $5,046, or 6.8 percent, between 2000 and 2011. But not everyone experienced the decline: While the bottom 60 percent of households saw decreases in their overall net worth, the richest 40 percent saw sizably bigger increases. The ratio of median net worth of the highest 20 percent of households to the second highest 20 percent increased by more than double, a sign the wealthiest Americans became even richer over a little more than a decade.”

Forbes: Nick Hanauer’s Latest Near Insane Economic Plan — “Nick Hanauer has gone public with another stage of his plan for the US economy. Essentially, raise wages for everyone and she’ll be fine. The problem with this is that Hanauer is simply factually wrong in a major example that he uses to bolster his case and then remarkably uninformed about the economics of the situation. So much so that it’s entirely fair of me to call this latest iteration of his plan ‘near insane’, as I did an earlier version of it. “

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