Friday Pearl

Revisiting Nick Hanauer

Sunday, May 05, 2019

In keeping with the Biosyntrx commitment to the sustainability of a reasonable quality of life for all on a healthy planet, our team elected to re-feature a Sunday Morning Stop at the Intersection of Science, Art, Music and Humanities TED talk featuring Nick Hanauer, the co-founder and partner of the Seattle-based Second Avenue Partners.

Hanauer is a very successful serial entrepreneur, investor, manager and philanthropist in the Pacific Northwest. He has managed, founded or financed more than 30 companies, creating an aggregate market value of tens of billions of dollars. 

He posits that a trickle-down based economy creates gross income inequality, an ever-declining middle class and an expanding plutocracy. 

Before you react to the above paragraph, we ask that you take the time to watch Nick's thought-provoking talk.  

He seems to walk his talk since he is reported to have been one of the major supporters of the Seattle City Council unanimously approved five- to seven-year phase-in of a $15 an hour minimum wage for their city—​the amount experts have determined required for the basic needs for a family of three in that area (housing, food, utilities, transportation, etc.).

The $15 dollar minimum wage law in Seattle included provisions for a lower training wage for teenagers, unskilled and disabled workers, and it allows for tips and health care benefits to be counted for a number of years. 

An important employer benefit from higher minimum wage is reduced employee turnover, which is particularly costly for small businesses, including medical practices.

"When employers stop thinking about employees as costs to cut, but instead as potential customers, they will see it is in their self-interest to raise the minimum wage."  —Nick Hanauer 

Ellen Troyer and the Biosyntrx staff

It was reported by Forbes and others that so many people found Hanauer's talk so offensive it was removed from TED. I just checked, and it's still available and has been since the first TED posting. This talk has been viewed almost two million times.

According to the National Employment Law Project, 14 cities and states approved $15 minimum wage requirements in 2015, most to phase in between 2016 and 2021.  

Unfortunately, given the increased cost of living since 2014, when Nick's TED talk was filmed, more than $20.00 per hour minimum wage is now required to put a roof overhead, food on the table, and transportation in any US city for most working adults.