Former Congressman Beto O’Rourke said that he doesn’t think “anyone deserves” to have a billion dollars and several of his peers 2020 Democratic presidential primary agreed.
O’Rourke said that he didn’t think anyone was worthy of earning a billion dollars.
“I don’t know that anyone deserves to have a billion dollars. I think we have a concentration of wealth and power and privilege in this country that we haven’t seen since the last gilded age. That concentration of wealth and power works counter to our democracy. […] It’s very important that we break down that concentration and ensure that we have a greater level of equality in the United States.”
O’Rourke wasn’t alone in thinking that Americans shouldn’t have a billion dollars. Several other 2020 Democrats joined in his thinking.
Watch O’Rourke and 2020 other Democrats answer the question:
Does anyone deserve a billion dollars? Amy Klobuchar and Kamala Harris said America should be a place where you could achieve the unimaginable. Kirsten Gillibrand bluntly said "no one" does. And Bernie Sanders denounced "grotesque" levels of inequality. https://t.co/f3JynQqGlp pic.twitter.com/fDbZ5l1n5U
— The New York Times (@nytimes) June 19, 2019
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) agreed with O’Rourke, saying, “I think no, no one deserves to have a billion dollars.”
Other Democrats became squeamish when it came to the word “deserve.” Both Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-Ind.) and Governor Jay Inslee (D-Wash.) couldn’t say if they believed billionaires deserved their wealth.
“I don’t know how to call it ‘deserve.’ ‘Deserve’ is in the eye of the beholder,” said Inslee. Buttigieg noted, “I’m not sure anybody cosmically or morally deserves to have a billion dollars, but I don’t hold it against them.”
Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said she only believes that Americans deserve a billion dollars if the United States reaches a point where everyone has their free health care, college degrees, and other desires covered.
Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) didn’t comment on whether or not billionaires deserve their wealth, but he did note that he was going to start making them pay “their fair share of taxes.”
“My guess is when you have that, you’re not going to have too many billionaires left,” Sanders added.
Other Democrats followed Sanders’ logic, noting that there can be billionaires, but they should be paying much more in taxes.
“You can have billionaires, but they should be giving back,” said Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.).