Already a successful local businessman with his family’s Pacific Coast Feather Company

Already a successful local businessman with his family’s Pacific Coast Feather Company (what could be more Northwest than feathers?), Nick Hanauer joined the ranks of the seriously wealthy as an early investor in Amazon and by selling his Avenue A Media to Microsoft. Since then, he’s been a prominent investor and a surprisingly vocal advocate for higher taxes on the wealthy. If his giving, through the Nick and Leslie Hanauer Foundation has been discreet, Hanauer is now an important national voice on income inequality. He joined Robert Reich in the recent documentary Inequality for All to promote policies to restore the middle class. It’s our spending in the middle, he and Reich argue, that drives the economy—not the buyers of private jets and second (or third) vacation homes. Appearing on The Charlie Rose Show and at TED, Hanauer has become the anti-Koch Brothers, who would pull up the drawbridge behind them and leave us peasants to starve. He’s a 1-percenter who lobbies for the rest of us. Tax equity and government regulation are a good thing, he told GQ’s Jon Ronson last year: “In every country where you find prosperity, you find massive amounts of regulation. Show me a libertarian paradise where nobody pays any taxes and nobody follows rules and everybody lives like a king.” (Uh, Somalia? Nope.)

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