Regular followers of this blog know I have had a tendency to focus on many of the problems in our country as well as on those whom I believe are contributing, or have contributed to, those problems. I have done so to draw attention to the many flaws we have here in America, in hopes that an improvement will be made. I will continue doing so on a regular basis.
Near year’s end each year, I post an annual December feature, which I call “Santa’s Bozo of the Year.” It spotlights some of the fools and clowns in public life whose antics were so outlandish that they were deserving of ridicule. In a similar fashion each spring, I take an opposite approach and do a different annual feature, which portrays an individual of today or yesterday whose contributions to humanity and/or our country have been so spectacular, courageous, and/or noteworthy that they should be lauded near and far as good examples of what we as humans can achieve, if we only put our minds and hearts to it. After all, not everything going on in the world is doom and gloom. So here is the fourth installment of this annual mid-year feature I call the “Head and Heart Award.” Past recipients of this award have been VAN JONES, KEITH OLBERMANN, and MOTHER TERESA. The individual featured here has used his or her head and heart to produce great things for humankind, and has shown themself to be a beacon of light in an often vast sea of darkness. This person should serve as an inspiration to us ALL to DO something, to take a principled stand, using OUR heads and hearts on behalf of our fellow brothers and sisters, rather than simply sitting back complacently enjoying the relatively good life we have experienced here in the United States. I have therefore chosen the recipient of this year’s award to be:
NICK HANAUER, a most enlightened American venture capitalist, author, and high-tech entrepreneur. Mr. Hanauer is the co-founder of the Seattle-based venture capital firm Second Avenue Partners, which funds and advises early-stage companies like Oliance, Newsvine, and House Values. He has amassed a net worth of $1 BILLION, having accomplished this by selling a number of tech companies for very high prices. One of these was the 2007 sale of aQuantive Inc. to Microsoft for a cool $6.4 BILLION.
Born in New York in 1959, Hanauer earned a degree in Philosophy from the University of Washington. He started his career in business with the family-owned Pacific Coast Feather Company, where he is still co-chair and CEO to this day. He was an early investor in the company Amazon.com and served as its advisor until 2000.
Hanauer has co-founded and been a force in many other companies, as well as being very active in both Seattle’s community affairs and the Washington State Public Schools system. In 2007, he teamed up with former speechwriter for President Bill Clinton Eric Liu to write the book The True Patriot. This remarkable book, which also spawned a political action group called the True Patriot Network, defined true patriotism as country above self, and showed how patriotism can be lived every day by serving others, sharing sacrifices, and by being a good steward of resources.
I first became aware of Nick Hanauer by viewing a short 6 minute, idea-filled video he had recently produced, which I saw over at mudrake’s phenomenal website Man With the Muckrake, found at (http://manwiththemuckrake.wordpress.com/). You can either view the video there, or find it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iIhOXCgSunc . I GUARANTEE IT WILL BE ONE OF THE BEST VIDEOS DEALING WITH INCOME DISPARITY AND UNFAIR TAX BREAKS GIVEN THE WEALTHY YOU WILL EVER SEE! For in it, Hanauer, a man whose wealth greatly eclipses Mitt Romney’s, has been around many a capitalist block, and knows thoroughly of which he speaks. He completely shreds the insane far-right, reactionary Republican/Romney/Grover Norquist argument that tax increases on the very wealthy will hamper jobs creation, and refutes the totally absurd Romney/Republican notion that the very wealthy are “jobs creators” who mustn’t be bothered with higher taxes. He firmly believes, as do I, that the very wealthy already receive superfluous tax advantages over the poor and middle class, and that they should be sharing the responsibility of bringing down our mountainous debt by paying higher, rather than lower, taxes. WATCH THIS VIDEO AND YOU WILL SEE WHY I ADMIRE THIS MAN SO MUCH! In fact, I will go on record here and now as saying that this video should be required viewing in EVERY classroom and boardroom in the entire country, as well as required viewing for all members of Congress!
For adopting and advocating the solid belief that the middle class and poor of this country, when given enough disposable income to actually spend on goods and services, are the true creators of jobs, and for recognizing that the very wealthy have been given woefully unfair tax advantages over the past 30 years and now MUST begin to pay higher taxes to ensure growth for the economy and to help whittle down our staggering debt, Nick Hanauer is more than deseving of the 2012 Head And Heart Award!