Nick Hanauer speaking at TED

The controversy over Nick Hanauer’s recent TED talk about increasing taxes on the wealthiest Americans just isn’t going away. Yesterday, GeekWire and others reported on how Hanauer’s economic talk was not being displayed on the TED Web site.

“My arguments threaten an economic orthodoxy and political structure that many powerful people have a huge stake in defending,” wrote Hanauer in an email to GeekWire.

Now, TED curator Chris Anderson is firing back, unleashing a 664-word torrent against the Seattle venture capitalist for intentionally sparking the controversy by sending emails about the decision not to run the talk to The National Journal. Anderson called the “story so misleading it would be funny… except it successfully launched an aggressive online campaign against us.”

He continues:

“A non-story about a talk not being chosen, because we believed we had better ones, somehow got turned into a scandal about censorship. Which is like saying that if I call the New York Times and they turn down my request to publish an op-ed by me, they’re censoring me.”

Meanwhile, Anderson — who said they are contemplating putting their entire video archive online — has gone ahead and posted the full talk from Hanauer.

Writes Anderson: “No doubt it will now, ironically, get stupendous viewing numbers and spark a magnificent debate, and then the conspiracy theorists will say the whole thing was a set-up!”

Comments

  • Guest

    What a magnificent talk! The rich should, in fact, pay more taxes. In fact, I think the whole thing was a viral marketing campaign to get this campaign more views!

  • Guest

    These guys should get together to form a two-man circle jerk, because that is what this little “debate” basically is.  While the topic of tax reform is very relevant to a lot of people, the number of people this particular storyline is relevant to could be counted on one of the hands involved in the aforementioned circle jerk.

  • Tom

    Nick obviously has plenty of time on his hands to come up with causes that feed his ego.  So weird how he talks about himself as ‘wealthy and rich’, etc.  Nick, by now everyone knows you’re worth over $500M and you have private jet(s) because you’ve told us multiple times……stop already!  This is an issue of tax reform, period…..accross all levels of income.  Why a hedge fund manager only pays 15% on his $10M yearly windfall is insane!  Bring back the flat tax argument.  It’s the most simple thing you can do because it’s relative at all levels of the income scale. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/kirk.knutsen Kirk Knutsen

      The flat tax only appears fair on the most superficial level, because the marginal utility of the flat taxed income on someone making $30,000 per year is FAR HIGHER than the marginal utility of the flat taxed income of someone making $50 million a year.  The value of $4,500 (15% flat tax) on a $30K income might well represent the difference between economic survival and poverty, while the $7.5 mil. (15% flat tax) on a $50 mil. income will have absolutely zero effect of that taxpayer to consume whatever in the world they want (as would a 30% tax rate).  How is it fair that the “fair flat tax” on one family has the effect of throwing them into poverty, while it has zero effect on the other?

  • Anonymous

    How the heck did this talk even end up getting recorded by TED?  This isn’t a presentation about ground breaking innovations, deep insights about social change, or any number of wonderful topics that have come to represent TED.  It’s the narrow political/fiscal expressions of one wealthy individual represented as some deep insight that needs illumination.  Kudos for TED — and Nick…enough already.  You are becoming a caricature.

  • Guest123

    Adam Carolla said it best when he said “I’m paying 50% with all of the taxes I pay.” “How f’ing much is enough?”

  • Dufcfaemid

    Oh boy. This is a tough one. While Nick’s core thesis is
    bound to engender a lot of empathy in this part of the world (including from
    me), I don’t think his points mask the fact that the talk does come off as partisan,
    affected, and a bit disjointed.

    I can therefore see why the guys at TED would be reluctant to
    promote the talk – it’s not that the logic is faulty, it’s just that it’s
    framed in a way that any discourse is bound to degenerate into a name-calling free-for-all.
    This is a really delicate subject with a solution that’s bound to be controversial,
    and I think it’s going to take a better argument and orator to win over a
    skeptical audience and activate an already potentially large sympathetic
    audience.

    All that said, it’s heartening to see guys like Nick willing
    to put themselves out there and represent something really important that they
    believe passionately in. I’m not willing to chalk this all up to simply a
    vanity play.

    I can therefore see why the guys at TED would be reluctant to
    promote the talk – it’s not that the logic is faulty, it’s just that it’s
    framed in a way that any discourse is bound to degenerate into a name-calling free-for-all.
    This is a really delicate subject with a solution that’s bound to be controversial,
    and I think it’s going to take a better argument and orator to win over a
    skeptical audience and activate an already potentially large sympathetic
    audience.

    All that said, it’s heartening to see guys like Nick willing
    to put themselves out there and represent something really important that they
    believe passionately in. I’m not willing to chalk this all up to simply a
    vanity play.

    • Dufcfaemid

      Sorry about the repetition in my comment – wonky cut ‘n paste…

  • Pradeep Chauhan

    Instead of making it a generic ‘Rich don’t pay enough taxes’, why don’t you change your pitch to what you really mean which is income should be taxed equally.If you paid income tax on “working income”, then no capital gains tax for growth of that income.

    If all your income is capital gains, then it should attract the same tax as “working income”.

    • knownothing

      Trying to confirm the statment above,  “…has gone ahead and posted the full talk from Hanauer.”?  Really? I could not find the talk on the TED website.

  • S. Vaughan

    http://www.thepetitionsite.com/272/621/679/please-ted-we-want-more-talk-about-taxing-the-rich/

    Please Sir – We want More! — more talk about economic inequality and taxing the rich to make it right.

  • Joe the coder

    I’m not going to get into whole issue of tax fairness and whether the return on capital at risk should be tax the same ordinary wages.  However, TED was right not to put Hanauer’s talk up.  It doesn’t meet their criteria.  And, frankly, I am so tired of everything getting politicized.  enough, already. 

  • Gerard Fender

    Nick pulled his kids out of Public Schools because they rejected his vision of rich folks investing in local, individual schools. He doesn’t believe in the public schools. He just wantsnto make a name for himself.

  • http://www.fluxresearch.com/ Clyde Smith

    “No doubt it will now, ironically, get stupendous viewing numbers and spark a magnificent debate”

    That would be nice but it’s not actually a new topic and people are mostly interested in the controversy. The majority of people who heard about this will never even know the video’s up since that part won’t get the outraged coverage by media outlets that are simply seeking page views.

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