Gawker interviews progressive billionaire Nick Hanauer about raising the minimum wage to $15.
Gawker: It’s a bit of a chicken and egg situation though, isn’t it? Which came first, the high wages, or the strong economy in the place that has the high wages? The typical rejoinder is, “higher wages drive down employment.”
NH: Show me an example. Show me an example of where high wages drove down employment. You show me a high wage place, I’ll show you a low unemployment place. And this is because the fundamental law of capitalism is: when workers have more money, businesses have more customers, and need more workers. The idea that high wages equals low employment, it’s absurd. And you have to understand that when somebody like me tells somebody like you that [high wages equals low employment] is the case, the only thing that’s true about that statement is that if I can get you to believe it, it would be very good for me. Which is why people like me have been saying it, again and again and again, and why people like me have said it at every point at which workers’ rights have been advanced. You can go back 150 years and literally find the same people saying the same thing in the same way. “If we have to pay you more, it will be bad for you.” And that’s because saying that is a much more polite way of saying, “I’m rich, you’re poor, and I would prefer to keep it what way.”
— Hamilton Nolan, Gawker