Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-Mass.) promise for a tax on billionaires hit a personal note with billionaires who have their own political ambitions.
This week, Warren revealed a proposal for a 2 percent wealth tax on those with a net worth over $50 million with an additional 1 percent on net worth over $1 billion.
The ultra-rich have rigged our economy & rigged our tax rules. We need structural change. That’s why I’m proposing something brand-new: An annual wealth tax on the tippy-top 0.1%. We’d get $3 trillion in new revenue to invest in rebuilding the middle-class. Let’s make it happen. pic.twitter.com/B0ImiSTxez
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) January 25, 2019
Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, who is currently mulling a 2020 presidential run, called the plan “ridiculous.”
“When I see Elizabeth Warren come out with a ridiculous plan of taxing wealthy people a surtax of 2 percent because it makes a good headline or sends out a tweet when she knows for a fact that’s not something that’s ever gonna be passed, this is what’s wrong,” he told NPR on Monday. “You can’t just attack these things in a punitive way by punishing people.”
As for how Schultz would address taxes, he didn’t give a definitive answer.
“There are a number of areas here that need to be addressed,” Schultz said. “I’m not trying to dodge any question, but I feel like what we have today is an unfair system.”
Warren hit back hard on Twitter on Tuesday, calling out Schultz’s words directly.
“What’s ‘ridiculous’ is billionaires who think they can buy the presidency to keep the system rigged for themselves while opportunity slips away for everyone else,” the 2020 Democratic candidate wrote.
“The top 0.1%, who’d pay my #UltraMillionaireTax, own about the same wealth as 90% of America,” she added. “It’s time for change.”
What's “ridiculous” is billionaires who think they can buy the presidency to keep the system rigged for themselves while opportunity slips away for everyone else. The top 0.1%, who'd pay my #UltraMillionaireTax, own about the same wealth as 90% of America. It's time for change. https://t.co/D04G5fNvpa
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) January 29, 2019
But Schultz wasn’t the only billionaire to speak out against Warren’s plan. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg told The Washington Post that he thought the tax could be unconstitutional. He said to look at Venezuela as an example of wealth redistribution.
Forbes magazine reported Bloomberg has a fortune of about $51.8 billion.