Billionaires Fighting Back Over Warren's Proposals

Bill Gates is the latest to cry foul
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 7, 2019 9:50 AM CST
Elizabeth Warren's New Critic: Bill Gates
Bill Gates speaks during the Global Fund to Fight AIDS event at the Lyon's congress hall, central France, Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019.   (Ludovic Marin/Pool Photo via AP)

Elizabeth Warren has been taking heat over her progressive policy ideas, not just from President Trump but from Democratic rivals who favor a more moderate approach. Now you can add Bill Gates to her list of critics. At a forum Wednesday, Gates didn't sound thrilled about Warren's idea to increase taxes on billionaires, and his criticism caught her attention. The details:

  • What he said: "I've paid over $10 billion in taxes," Gates said at the New York Times DealBook conference, per the Guardian. "If I had to pay $20 billion, it's fine. But when you say I should pay $100 billion, then I'm starting to do a little math over what I have left over." He eventually added, "Sorry, I'm just kidding."
  • Her response: "I'm always happy to meet with people, even if we have different views," she tweeted. Referencing Gates, she wrote, "If we get the chance, I'd love to explain exactly how much you'd pay under my wealth tax. (I promise it's not $100 billion.)"

  • The tax: Last week, Warren called for billionaires to pay heftier taxes to help fund her Medicare for All health insurance program. Specifically, she wants to impose a tax of 6% on wealth over $1 billion, a doubling of her previous suggestion of 3%, reports CNBC.
  • Another critic: Gates isn't the first member of the 1% to balk. Warren is clashing with billionaire investor Leon Cooperman, who sent her a critical letter and called out her "vilification of the rich." In harsh terms, he said to Politico, "This is the f---ing American dream she is s----ing on.” Among her responses: "Leon is wrong," she wrote. "Leon can and should pitch in more—so that every kid has the same opportunities he did to succeed."
  • No endorsement: Gates did more than criticize Warren's tax policy. "I'm not sure how open minded she is—or that she'd even be willing to sit down with somebody who has large amounts of money," he said, per Mediaite. And when asked who he would support in a hypothetical matchup of Warren vs. President Trump, he declined to say. "Whoever I decide will have the more professional approach in the current situation, probably is the thing I will weigh the most," he said. "And I hope that the more professional candidate is an electable candidate."
  • Bigger picture: The aforementioned Politico analysis and another at CNN notes that Wall Street's dislike of Warren is growing. But she seems to embrace the sentiment. She even tweeted a clip from CNBC in which Jim Cramer reported that money managers and other Wall Street execs are worried about a Warren presidency. "I'm Elizabeth Warren and I approve this message," she wrote above the clip.
  • Media bias? In a different analysis at Politico, John F. Harris makes the case that the mainstream media is biased against Warren because "journalists love the center." Republicans complain of a liberal bias, but Harris says they have it wrong. "The more pervasive force shaping coverage of Washington and elections is what might be thought of as centrist bias, flowing from reporters and sources alike ... a conviction that politics should be a tidier and more rational process than it usually is." What's wrong about this view is when real change happens, it rarely comes from the center, he adds.
(More Bill Gates stories.)

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