Too controversial for TED: "The rich should pay more in taxes"

“Ideas Worth Spreading.”

Some, not so much.

If you need more evidence of how difficult it is for ideas that challenge the reigning political Weltanschauung to gain traction in mainstream media, take a look at this video of a presentation at TED, the conference that GOOD business editor Tim Fernholz describes as "for creative techies and do-gooding hipsters that vaulted the 18-minute lecture into an art form."

Like fish trying to make sense of water, it is impossible for most of us to comprehend how much misinformation we take for granted swimming as we do in the ocean of propaganda -- American exceptionalism, the greatest nation in history, fortress of democracy, Christian state, yadda yadda -- that envelops us.

At TED, Fernholz writes, "you’ll find speakers discussing everything from 'Sculpting Waves in Wood and Time' to 'Building U.S.-China relations … by Banjo.' What you won’t find is a recent TED talk by Nick Hanauer, a wealthy venture capitalist, that argues income inequality is a problem that threatens the economy, and that higher taxes on the wealthy are part of the solution."

"So here's an idea worth spreading," concludes Hanauer:
In a capitalist economy, the true job creators are consumers, the middle class. And taxing the rich to make investments that grow the middle class, is the single smartest thing we can do for the middle class, the poor and the rich.
A transcript of Hanauer's speech is available here.

See, also: Too Hot for TED: Income Inequality by Jim Tankersley (National Journal 2012-05-22).
TED's Taboo: What's Too Controversial for the Hipster Confab? by Tim Fernholz (GOOD 2012-05-17)

In response to the brouhaha over his website's suppression of Hanauer's talk, TED "curator" Chris Anderson posted the video to Youtube himself, with a link to an apologia: TED and inequality: The real story (TEDChris: The untweetable 2012-05-17). However, Anderson's claim that the talk was rejected because it "framed the issue in a way that was explicitly partisan" is contradicted by the fact that TED has posted other "partisan" presentations, such as scoldings by Al Gore on the need to fight climate change or the Gates Foundation's Melinda Gates call for handing out contraceptives across the globe. These challenges to the status quo are apparently less bothersome to the wealthy attendees at TED than the simple idea that they should pay their fare share of taxes.

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