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Nick Hanauer – Confronting the Parasite Economy

There are two types of businesses in America today: those that pay their workers a living wage—the real economy—and those that don’t—the parasite economy. And all of us who live and work in the real economy should be royally pissed at the way the parasite economy is sucking us dry.

Here in the real economy, we solve the problems, build the things, and pay the wages that make America great. When politicians of both parties promise to attract “good jobs” to their districts or states, they’re talking about the kind of real-economy jobs that pay a decent middle-class wage—jobs that provide the income, benefits, and security necessary to participate robustly in the economy as a consumer and taxpayer. It is the real economy that drives both production and demand, and that fills our tax coffers with the money needed to educate our children, maintain our infrastructure, invest in research and development, fund our social safety net, and provide for the national defense.

But in the parasite economy—where companies large and small cling to low-wage business models out of ignorance or habit or simple greed—“good jobs,” and the economic dynamism they produce, are in short supply. This is the economy in which tens of millions of Americans work for poverty wages with few if any benefits, often in the face of abusive scheduling practices that make it impossible to plan their life from day to day, let alone month to month.

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