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Millionaire Fights to Save Middle Class Millionaire Fights to Save Middle Class

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Millionaire Fights to Save Middle Class

By most accounts, Nick Hanauer should be the kind of person to pull America out of its economic doldrums. A talented venture capitalist who parlayed an investment in Amazon into hundreds of millions, Hanauer is representative of what might be called the “innovation economy,” the next phase of the nation’s economic evolution.

But Hanauer watches the slow erosion of good-paying jobs across the country, witnesses street riots like the one in his hometown of Seattle, and he worries. His view is that the middle class is the engine of job creation in this country, not elites like him, and that only a thriving middle class can ensure America’s long-term prosperity. He’s taken his message—and his radical proposal to help keep the middle-class afloat—far and wide, but to little effect.

As National Journal’s Restoration Calls series examines the economy this month, correspondent Jim Tankersley traveled to Seattle to chronicle Hanauer’s efforts and examine the data that supports his conclusions. Hanauer, Tankersley writes, might be on to something.

—James Oliphant

P.S. – In reporting that a speech by Hanauer was rejected by TED, a nonprofit that distributes talks by leading thinkers, National Journal started quite a debate. Read about it below!

The One Percent Solution

Like many self-made millionaires, Nick Hanauer has a theory on how to fix the ailing economy: impose higher taxes on the rich to support the middle class.

Income Inequality: Too Hot for TED

Nick Hanauer’s idea that the rich should pay more taxes to close the income inequality gap was rejected by TED. But you can see powerpoint slides or full text of the speech. You can read about the controversy. And, you can read TED’s reasoning.

A Class Warrior Loved by Left and Right

This election year, one man can pack an arena 15,000 strong, rail against income inequality and "robber barons," and have the crowd cheer his every word, writes National Journal’s James Oliphant. It’s Bruce Springsteen.

The Persistent Problem of Youth Unemployment

Nearly one-quarter of American teenagers were unemployed in April—and that may have lasting consequences, as National Journal’s Catherine Hollander reports.

The Far Off Retirement

The employment picture for older Americans has changed substantially—and that comes with a cost.


Last month, Restoration Calls explored the waning faith in American institutions, with a cover story called In Nothing We Trust. Here’s more on the subject.

A Reader's Take: Replace Trust with Cautious Interaction

Bret Jacobson, a National Journal reader, says the fact that Americans are losing faith in their greatest institutions is “excellent news.”

Role Models Big and Small

Former Secretary of State Madeline Albright says it is becoming increasingly difficult to point to America's institutions—like Congress—as examples of a democratic ideal, as National Journal’s Olga Belogolova reports.

Age-Old Election Tactics

Sick of politicians pandering, making vague promises and smearing opponents? As National Journal’s Sophie Quinton writes, those tactics have been around since ancient Rome.

Will 2012 Usher In More 'Extremism?'

A new book from two Washington insiders lays the blame for polarization and Congressional gridlock at the Republican Party's door. They blame voters, too.

Why We Lost Our Trust Now—VIDEO

National Journal
editor-in-chief Ron Fournier appeared on CBS's This Morning to discuss why Americans' trust in institutions is so low. Fast-forward to 1:45 to see why Fournier says the problem is happening now



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