TED Censorship: The Rich Don’t Create Jobs

Edit: You can read Chris Anderson’s full explaination on his blog. Here’s an excerpt:

We discussed [whether or not to feature the video] internally and ultimately told the speaker we did not plan to post. He did not react well. He had hired a PR firm to promote the talk to MoveOn and others, and the PR firm warned us that unless we posted he would go to the press and accuse us of censoring him. We again declined and this time I wrote him and tried gently to explain in detail why I thought his talk was flawed.

And now my original post:

From the infamous censored TED talk by Nick Hanauer (full text here):

Since 1980 the share of income for the richest Americans has more than tripled while effective tax rates have declined by close to 50%.

If it were true that lower tax rates and more wealth for the wealthy  would lead to more job creation, then today we would be drowning in jobs.  And yet unemployment and under-employment is at record highs.

This is an excellent point. Our entire economy is based on the principal that the rich create jobs, but it really is an extremely codependent system that relies heavily on the middle class. If the principal was simply “the rich are job creators” there should be a supporting graph showing the wealthy getting richer parallel to an increase in jobs. Reality is, in fact, the opposite.

Working out some simple math makes this even more apparent:

The annual earnings of people like me are hundreds, if not thousands, of times greater than those of the median American, but we don’t buy hundreds or thousands of times more stuff. My family owns three cars, not 3,000.

As a counterpoint, the rich do buy higher priced items. Their house (or houses) might possibly be worth thousands of times more than the median American home. Same with car(s) and/or the oh-so-chic private jet. Still, without crunching numbers, I sense that the income/expense ratio is still widely different between the median American and the ultra-wealthy.

Chris Anderson, curator of the TED talks, defended this censorship:

But even if the talk was rated a home run, we couldn’t release it, because it would be unquestionably regarded as out and out political. We’re in the middle of an election year in the US. Your argument comes down firmly on the side of one party.

Um, since when is supporting the middle class a partisan stance? How is this even political at all?

The speech simply discusses the symbiotic relationship between company builders and product consumers (the middle class). Hanauer argues that the ultra-rich can’t create jobs without people consuming goods. He explains the disconnect between the wealthy getting wealthier and jobs being created.

I can’t help but feel there is more behind this censorship than “political” content.

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