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Business Leaders Blanket Congress

Washington, DC — Today the Smart Capitalists for American Prosperity, a group of dozens of the country’s top financiers, business leaders and investors released a letter to the President and Congress demanding a higher minimum wage for working Americans. Tomorrow, the group will hold a press conference in DC to announce a major national campaign to raise the minimum wage. Thursday, the group will meet with Senators King, McCaskill, Pryor, Donnelly, Harkin, and Johnson as well as the office of Senators Portman, Corker, Gillibrand, Kaine, Ayotte, and Alexander to demand immediate action on this critical issue.

The “Smart Capitalists for American Prosperity” boast leaders from both sides of the aisle including: former publisher of the American Conservative Ron Unz; investor and former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles; famed venture capitalist and Managing Director of Greycroft LLC Alan Patricof; real estate mogul Jeff Gural; venture capitalist and co-founder of Alta Partners Garrett Gruener; co-founders of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield; investor Peter Stamos; TV Host Rick Steves, media investor and entrepreneur Leo Hindery, Jr.; former investment banker and Harvard Business School professor Rob Kaplan; investor Daniel Berger; investor Lawrence Benenson; film producer Richard Food (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas), and many others.

Washington is abuzz with the Minimum Wage issue as polls show the vast majority of Americans want it raise; Congress debates the Fair Minimum Wage Act; Majority Leader Reid debates the timing of a Senate vote; and political strategists weigh the impact on the 2014 mid-terms. President Obama announced last month that he intends to raise the minimum wage for federal contract workers to $10.10 an hour — “America does not stand still–and neither will I,” said the President.

The Smart Capitalists think a higher minimum wage is just what American businesses need to get out of the slump.

Former publisher of The American Conservative Ron Unz says: “Raising the minimum wage would drive up the demand and increase revenues for American business. It would also save taxpayers billions by ending the backdoor subsidy to low-wage businesses through food stamps and other government programs.”

Leo Hindery, Jr., Managing Partner at Intermedia Partners (NY) says:
“A thoughtfully increased minimum wage would indisputably lead to an increase in total consumption and higher demand for goods, and thus to increased overall employment.”

Jerry Greenfield, co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream (VT) said:
“Ben & Jerry’s succeeded for one reason: customers. Invest in America’s customers–raise the minimum wage.”

Ben Cohen, co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream (VT) added:
“There is only so much Chunky Monkey one rich guy can eat. For Ben & Jerry’s to succeed, we need more than one ice cream buying rich guy. Raise the minimum wage and everyone can have a scoop.”

Erskine Bowles, Investor and former White House Chief of Staff (NC) says:
“This great nation succeeds when all Americans can succeed. A fair minimum wage will ensure dignity for our people and our families.”

Alan Patricof, Managing Director of Greycroft LLC (NY) says:
“We need to make sure that people who are working full-time can support themselves and their children by ensuring that they can sustain an adequate living in today’s cost structure. In the interest of basic fairness, we need to bring wages in this country to a respectable level.”

SEE THE LETTER and signatories at

“Dear Mr. President and Honorable Members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives,

We are writing to ask you to advance growth, prosperity, and economic freedom by raising the minimum wage to at least $10.10 per hour and indexing it to inflation. We make this request as investors, business owners, and employers who are members of the so-called Top 1%. We make this request for the following reasons:

1. IT’S GOOD FOR AMERICAN BUSINESS. Workers with higher wages are consumers with greater disposable income. More customers with more money=higher profits for American businesses.

2. IT’S GOOD FOR AMERICAN TAXPAYERS. Minimum wage earners don’t make enough to support their families and as a result many rely on government programs to make ends meet. A decent wage would increase the number of self-reliant Americans and decrease government expenditures.

3. IT’S GOOD FOR AMERICA’S GLOBAL LEADERSHIP. The U.S. is the richest country in the world but its minimum wage significantly trails that of other developed countries. In order to maintain its global leadership, the U.S. must ensure decent earnings for its working citizens.

Raise the minimum wage.

Thank you

Smart Capitalists for American Prosperity”

The Smart Capitalists are available for comment and/or television and radio booking. If you would like to speak with a Smart Capitalist or host one on your program, please contact David Berman at or (914) 299-1086; or Erica Payne at 917-239-6065

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