Bruce Rauner is a fabulously wealthy equity investor who is running for Governor of Illinois.
He is also one of the most important financial backers of charter schools in Chicago. He even has a charter school named for him, part of the Noble network of charters.
In his gubernatorial campaign, he recently made headlines when he broke ranks with the other Republican candidates on the issue of the minimum wage. Democratic Governor Pat Quinn has called for an increase in the minimum wage to $10 an hour from its current $8.25 an hour. Four Republican candidates say it should be kept where it is. Rauner proposes to lower the minimum wage to $7.25 an hour to keep Illinois “competitive.”
According to this story, Rauner’s income in 2012 was $53 million.
“Despite his appearance as an average Joe who stays at cost effective motels and starts his day with Raisin Bran just like everybody else, Rauner need only shake his hammer for an hour to make what minimum wage earners make in a year. Rich Miller at Capitol Fax provides the breakdown:
To put this into a little perspective, somebody earning minimum wage in Illinois today (before any Rauner-enforced pay cut) would have to work 6,424,242 hours to match Rauner’s 2012 income of $53 million. That works out to 803,030 days, 160,606 40-hour weeks, or 3,088 years.
Rauner’s income averages out to $204K a day for a five-day work week, or $25,550 every hour of an eight-hour day. It would take a minimum wage employee 399 days to earn as much money as Rauner made in a single hour last year. And, again, that’s before any pay cut.”
To show what an average Joe he is, Rauner should try living on $7.25 an hour for one week, just one week.
I had a personal encounter with Bruce Rauner. Two years ago, I received the Kohl Education Award from Dolores Kohl, the woman who created it, a great philanthropist who cares deeply about the forgotten children and annually honors outstanding teachers. After the awards ceremony, Ms. Kohl held a small dinner at the exclusive Chicago Club. There were two tables, 8 people at each table. I sat across from Bruce and of course, we got into a lively discussion about charter schools, a subject on which he is passionate.
As might be expected, he celebrated their high test scores, and I responded that they get those scores by excluding students with serious disabilities and English language learners, as well as pushing out those whose scores are not good enough. Surprisingly, he didn’t disagree. His reaction: so what? “They are not my problem. Charters exist to save those few who can be saved, not to serve all kinds of kids.” My response: What should our society do about the kids your charters don’t want? His response: I don’t know and I don’t care. They are not my problem.
This was not a taped conversation. I am paraphrasing. But the gist and the meaning are accurate.
Oh, and one other interesting story about Bruce Rauner: The Chicago Sun-Times reported that he pulled strings with his friend Superintendent Arne Duncan to get his daughter admitted to Chicago’s very selective Walter Payton College Prep school after she was rejected; eighteen months later, Rauner donated $250,000 to the school’s private fund. Rauner also gave a handsome gift to the CPS foundation, run by “the school system’s top administrators”:
Rauner’s gift to the Payton Prep Initiative came two months after his foundation gave $500,000 to the Chicago Public Schools Foundation, run by the school system’s top administrators. His foundation previously had given money to that organization.
Rauner, a venture capitalist, called Chicago school officials in early 2008. Within days, his daughter was admitted to Payton for the 2008-09 academic year by the school’s principal, according to a source familiar with the matter. More…