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  1. No matter how wealthy a few plutocrats get, we can never drive a great national economy. Only a thriving middle class can do that.
  2. All human endeavor, all human civilization, is the act of solving collective action problems. Should we put out our own fires, or should we have a fire department? Should we build roads, or should we hack our way through the woods from one factory to another?
  3. The only really expensive thing in our family budget, frankly, is private air travel.
  4. The thing about a real economy is that it actually is like the game of Monopoly in the sense that when one person has all the money, the game is over. And in a game of Monopoly, of course, that’s quite charming, but in a real economy, it’s much more problematic.
  5. I make an eight-figure income annually.
  6. We became enthralled with the view that wealth trickled down from the top and that if you poured money into rich people, sort of like an ingredient, prosperity and jobs would squirt out of them like donuts. And if you understand economies in the 19th-century way, that view is plausible, and I think a lot of people accepted it.
  7. Government does create prosperity and growth by creating the conditions that allow both entrepreneurs and their customers to thrive; balancing the power of capitalists like me and workers isn’t bad for capitalism — it’s essential to it.
  8. The theory that if wages go up, employment goes down isn’t a physical law like F=MA. It’s a moral law, like ‘Bedtime is 9:00 P.M.’
  9. The most insidious thing about trickle-down economics is not the claim that if the rich get richer, everyone is better off. It is the claim made by those who oppose any increase in the minimum wage that if the poor get richer, that will be bad for the economy. This is nonsense.
  10. The thing about us businesspeople is that we love our customers rich and our employees poor.
  11. If low taxes were the way that people like me created wealth, then we’d be starting our companies in the Congo or Somalia or Afghanistan, but we’re not. We come to places where there are lots and lots of customers.
  12. We plutocrats need to get this trickle-down economics thing behind us: this idea that the better we do, the better everyone else will do. It’s not true. How could it be? I earn 1,000 times the median wage, but I do not buy 1,000 times as much stuff, do I?
  13. It is true that rich people can spend more money than middle class people, but there’s this upper limit on what we can spend. I drive a very nice car, but it’s only one car. I don’t own a thousand, even though I earn a thousand times the median wage. I have a few jackets, not a few thousand.
  14. Business people do two things with their time fundamentally. The first is that they try to create sales, right? Revenue, key to business. But the other thing they devote their time to equally is cost containment. That is to say, how to not create jobs. Because the fewer jobs you can create for the revenue you create, the more profit you make.
  15. Tech innovation is something societies have to pursue as vigorously as they can. We have to innovate civically and socially at the same rate; otherwise, you create unfortunate disruptions, and that’s where you have people opposing technological innovations.
  16. During Seattle’s successful campaign for a $15 an hour minimum wage, our opponents would sometimes roll their eyes and snort, ‘If $15 is so good, why not $50?’ It was a straw man argument: Nobody was proposing a $50 minimum wage; it would have been too high, and we said so.
  17. In a sufficiently prosperous society where people specialize sufficiently, and where enough of the crappy work is done by machines, all work becomes art.
  18. I have, oddly, two ski houses — trying to sell one.
  19. I’m not the world’s best philosopher. But I am one of the world’s best strategists. I will put my strategic abilities against anybody on Earth.
  20. I’m not the smartest guy you’ve ever met, or the hardest-working. I was a mediocre student. I’m not technical at all — I can’t write a word of code. What sets me apart, I think, is a tolerance for risk and an intuition about what will happen in the future. Seeing where things are headed is the essence of entrepreneurship.

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