After President Obama’s State of the Union speech this year, I blogged about the emphasis on wage equality and the continued decline of the middle class. Since that time, unions and other organizations have continued to fight to move the minimum wage up and there have been some successes, including Seattle’s increase in the minimum wage to $15.
A recent article in Politico, The Pitchforks Are Coming…For Us Plutocrats, by Nick Hanauer, a Seattle entrepreneur, may be an indication that those who are benefiting by a successful middle class are beginning to realize that it is not in their best interest to ignore the decline. Hanauer was one of the original investors in Amazon.com and has created and sold numerous businesses. His family owns a manufacturing company and understands the plight of workers across the country. He rejects the standard trickle-down economic theory that if profits increase, businesses will expand and pay their workers more and states:
“The most insidious thing about trickle-down economics isn’t believing that if the rich get richer, it’s good for the economy. It’s believing that if the poor get richer, it’s bad for the economy.”
He makes a strong argument that if the minimum wage is increased, the middle class will grow and business will thrive and expand.
Warren Buffet asked for more sacrifice from the 1% in an Op-Ed in the New York Times:
“OUR leaders have asked for “shared sacrifice.” But when they did the asking, they spared me. I checked with my mega-rich friends to learn what pain they were expecting. They, too, were left untouched.”
Is the 1% concerned? Is the middle class ready to “pick up the pitchforks?” We are all called to work for economic justice and wage equality, including the 1%.