Elizabeth Warren's plan for a 2% tax on wealth over $50 billion is unworkable, over-reaching, and morally wrong, if you listen to a trio of people who'd have to pay it.
Warren has proposed paying for a Medicare for All health care system by putting a 2% tax on wealth over $50 billion and an additional 1% tax on wealth over $1 billion.
Here are the reactions of three billionaires who would be subject to the tax: investor and hedge fund manager Leon Cooperman, entrepreneur and "Shark Tank" host Mark Cuban and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT) founder Bill Gates.
Cuban: It's Pandering Because It Can't Pass
Cuban, whose net worth is estimated at about $4 billion, argues Warren will never get the plan approved and is being “intellectually dishonest," by "selling shiny objects to divert attention from reality,”
The chances of being able to pass a Medicare for All plan in four years are "nearly impossible," Cuban said.
Let's be real. @ewarren probably is the smartest of all the candidates. Intellectually she knows she is misleading the public . That the chances of getting all the necessary line items she needs for M4All approved within 4 years are nearly impossible
— Mark Cuban (@mcuban) November 9, 2019
Cuban also suggested Warren may be trying to counter a potential criticism of progressives - that her personal wealth makes her part of the 1% establishment they consider part of the problem. Warren's net worth of more than $12 million makes her "filthy rich," Cuban said.
Gates: It's Too Much
Gates said he agrees with the super rich paying higher taxes, but that at some point, ultra high taxes can be counter-productive. He said in an interview with New York Times columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin that many of the super rich got there by taking big chances to start companies, and super high taxes become a disincentive to build those companies, which ultimately create the wealth that makes high taxes and philanthropy possible.
"You really want the incentive system to be there, and you can go a long way without threatening that," Gates said.
Gates said he's paid more than $10 billion in taxes, and if he'd be OK if he'd paid double that. But he joked that if Warren wants him to pay $100 billion, he might run out of money.
Warren tweeted at Gates that he'd never pay $100 billion under her plan.
I'm always happy to meet with people, even if we have different views. @BillGates, 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.) https://t.co/m6G20hDNaV
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) November 7, 2019
Cooperman: Morally Wrong
Cooperman's also thinks Warren's proposal is unworkable and could crash markets because billionaires would try to find ways to avoid paying the much higher tax.
"This would be a nightmare," he said.
Cooperman also said he agrees with a progressive tax system, and echoed Gates that there comes a point where it's not fair for the government to take anymore.
"Rich people should pay more in taxes, the question is how much more," Cooperman said.
But Coooperman also sees the effort to tax money a "second time" as just wrong.
"I paid taxes on income while I was earning it," Cooperman said. "She wants to take another bite at the apple – it’s wrong."
Photo credit: Gage Skidmore, Flickr