Sen. Elizabeth Warren wants her fellow Democrats to take on what she calls the “billionaire class.” Does Warren know that many, if not most, of this tiny group of people are liberal Democrats?
On a recent podcast hosted by Mehdi Hasan of The Intercept, Hasan asked Warren if she thought Democrats lacked the “guts” to go after billionaires.
Warren response was “Yeah.” She’s particularly upset at the handful of her fellow Democrats who voted for a bill that watered down the Dodd-Frank banking regulation behemoth.
Warren went on to say: “Until we have all the Democrats who are willing to take on the billionaire class, until we have all the Democrats who are willing to fight for the American people and not for a handful of billionaires and giant corporations, then it’s going to stay an uphill fight.”
This makes little sense.
For one thing, there are only 585 of them in the U.S. today, according to Forbes. And plenty of them are big-time Democrats.
Does she intend, for example, to take on Warren Buffett, who, with a net worth of $84 billion, is the third richest man in the world? He’s a longtime Democrat who’s pushed for tax hikes on the rich, backed Hillary Clinton, and who gave 99% of his money to Democrats and liberal groups in the past four election cycles.
Maybe she means Michael Bloomberg, 11th richest man in the world (net worth $50 billion). He’s a huge gun control supporter.
What about George Soros, who’s worth $8 billion? He’s an uber liberal who finances a multitude of left-wing groups like Center for American Progress and Moveon.org. He recently invested $3 million in The New York Times.
In 2016, Soros gave at least $7 million to Hillary Clinton’s Priorities USA super-PAC. He’s donated more than $61 million to Democrats and liberals since 1989, according to OpenSecrets.org.
Does Warren want to “take on” environmental activist Tom Steyer — net worth $1.6 billion. He donated more than $91 million to Democrats in 2016 alone, and funded a $20 million ad campaign calling for President Trump’s impeachment.
Or perhaps she means Netflix CEO Reed Hastings (net worth $2.7 billion). Except that Hastings is another prominent Democrat who eagerly supported Clinton and just signed a deal with Barack Obama to produce programs for Netflix.
Other billionaires Warren says Democrats should have the “guts” take on would include liberals like Google’s Larry Page ($48.8 billion), Laurene Powell Jobs ($18.8 billion), Oprah Winfrey ($2.7 billion), Starbucks’ Howard Schultz ($2.7 billion), Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg ($1.6 billion).
Of the 36 billionaires who made campaign contributions over the past four election cycles, 40% of their money — totaling $148 million — went to Democrats, according to data compiled by OpenSecrets.org. And this doesn’t include “dark money” donations — funds given to groups engaged in politics that don’t have to disclose their donors.
What about those greedy bankers? Turns out, plenty of them are Democratic supporters, too.
A few years ago, Yahoo Finance teamed up with Crowdpac to rank CEOs based on political donations. One of the five most liberal on the list was Goldman Sachs (GS) CEO Lloyd Blankfein, whose company made news during the election when it turned out that Goldman had paid Hillary Clinton $675,000 to appear at three Q&A sessions, two of them run by Blankfein himself.
Billionaire hedge fund manager Jim Simons gave more than $7 million to Hillary Clinton’s Priorities USA Action super PAC. He gave $2.6 million to the Democratic House and Senate Majority PACs, according to OpenSecrets.org.
Laurence Fink, CEO of the investing giant BlackRock (BLK), is another prominent Democrat who wants companies he invests in to have a “positive impact on society” (i.e., support liberal causes).
Bank of America (BAC) CEO Brian Moynihan has over the years given money to Jeanne Shaheen, Patrick Kennedy, Harold Ford Jr., Ted Kennedy, Ed Markey and John Kerry. He even gave $6,300 to then Sen. Chris Dodd — he of Dodd-Frank fame.
Sure, lots of billionaires support Republicans and oppose Warren’s leftist politics. So do lots of people at all income levels.
But the idea that the “billionaire class” opposes all that is good in this country and that they must be defeated to get anything done is nothing more than sophomoric political posturing.
Those who advocate this need to explain how taking money away from billionaires is going to make the rest of us better off, especially considering how billionaires are able to hire squadrons of CPAs to keep their money away from the government.