Pay the People!

Why Fair Pay Is Good for Business and Great for America

From an unlikely source, a compelling argument that when workers are paid fairly, everyone, including businesses, benefits

“I’m not any more altruistic than the next guy, I’m just greedy for a different kind of country than most other rich people. I want to be a rich man in a rich country.” —Morris Pearl, Patriotic Millionaires chair and former managing director at BlackRock

Seventy percent of the U.S. economy is based on consumer demand, but almost forty percent of Americans can barely afford to pay their monthly bills. Nearly all the economic gains made in the last several decades have gone to the top one percent, while working families whose spending habits drive the economy have fallen further behind, and our economy has suffered as a result.

In Pay the People!, two members of the top 1 percent—John Driscoll, former healthcare CEO and current Walgreens executive, and Morris Pearl, a former BlackRock executive and chair of the board of the Patriotic Millionaires—pin the blame squarely on short-term corporate greed and policies of both government and employers that impose austerity on some of the hardest-working employees and families. They argue that business leaders’ refusal to pay wages that workers can live on and Congress’s failure to raise the federal minimum wage trap millions of workers in cycles of poverty. At the same time, Driscoll and Pearl demonstrate, these policies undermine the economy for all of us and threaten the foundation of democratic capitalism.

This highly illustrated, data-informed call for a major readjustment in our pay scale for workers at all levels, from two individuals who profit mightily from the current imbalanced system, presents a rebuke of modern American business practices and congressional paralysis. But it also offers a roadmap forward, with chapters describing what a reconfigured economy would look like. In an issue that is too often covered as a zero-sum game where there’s a winner and a loser, Driscoll and Pearl offer resounding evidence to the contrary.

Books by these authors

Tax the Rich!
How Lies, Loopholes, and Lobbyists Make the Rich Even Richer

Morris Pearl, Erica Payne, The Patriotic Millionaires

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