When it comes to minimum wage, Nick Hanauer “would pay you less, but then I’d go to prison.”

Mar 9, 2016

When it comes to minimum wage, Nick Hanauer “would pay you less, but then I’d go to prison.”


Liberal billionaire venture capitalist Nick Hanauer has been a vocal advocate of a $15 minimum wage.  He has made it no secret he believes every worker deserves to earn a “living wage.”  Well, every worker but the ones who work for him.

It turns out Hanauer doesn’t practice what he preaches.  Entry-level, unskilled workers at his company in North Carolina start at $7.50 per hour, while higher-skilled workers earn upwards of $11.  When asked to explain the hypocrisy, Hanauer simply responded via Twitter that he doesn’t have to:

“Because the min wage is 7.25 an hour. Make me raise wages by raising the minimum wage.”

Hanauer has vilified anyone who dares to even expresses concern with the consequences of a $15 minimum wage as essentially being immoral, but he isn’t going to pay his workers a higher wage unless he is forced to. 

So much for leading by example.

I could spend the rest of the day digging up entertaining tidbits showcasing Hanauer’s hypocrisy.  In the interest of brevity I will limit it to these two gems:

In his Bloomberg editorial “The Capitalist’s Case for a $15 Minimum Wage,” Hanauer complains that:

“No one earning the current minimum wage of about $15,000 per year can aspire to live decently, much less raise a family.”

So by paying his workers wages that amount to slightly more than $15,000 per year, Hanauer demonstrates he does not care that his own workers cannot live decently or raise a family.

My personal favorite is when Hanauer offensively declared:

“When Wal-Mart or McDonald’s or any other guy like me pays workers the minimum wage, that’s our way of saying, ‘I would pay you less, except then I’d go to prison.’”

Since Hanauer pays the minimum wage, he is admitting he would pay less if he legally could.  And we know he certainly is not going to pay more, unless government forces him to.

The hypocrisy of Hanauer cannot be understated or overlooked.  He relied on the minimum wage labor of entry-level, unskilled workers to build his fortune (and continues to rely on that cheap labor).  Now that he’s a billionaire not only does he not pay his own workers the $15 wage he wants to foist on other businesses, he belittles small employers who say forcing them to pay a $15 wage to every unskilled, entry-level workers will hurt their business (or at the least force them to make tough decisions about how to stay in business).   

Apparently only big business billionaires are allowed to pay entry-level wages for unskilled, entry-level jobs