Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz has been on the defensive about his substantial wealth since he mentioned his possible presidential run about a week ago. In a presidential pool that consists of many Democrats who support a marginal tax of up to 70 percent on the wealthiest Americans, Schultz has been the target of many left-of-center media inquiries that would rather he not detract from the momentum of more progressive Democratic candidates.
In a Q&A with MSNBC host Andrew Ross Sorkin, he took a stab at defending his status as an ultra-wealthy American by essentially condemning the term “billionaire” as a belittling swipe at people who have earned a lot of money. After gently correcting Sorkin, he went on to explain how many wealthy individuals are looking for positions of influence (but obviously not him).
He said in part, “The moniker ‘billionaire’ now has become the catchphrase…I would rephrase that and say people of means’ have been able to leverage their wealth and their interest in ways that are unfair…and I think that speaks to the inequality, but it also directly speaks to the special interests that are paid for by people of wealth and corporations who are looking for influence, and they have such unbelievable influence on the politicians who are steeped in the ideology of both parties.”
“All I’m trying to do is one thing: walk in the shoes of the American people.”
In the same interview, Schultz shared his distaste for proposed “ultra-millionaire” taxes and referred to leftist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as “misinformed.” Of her suggested 70 percent marginal tax, he said, “There is a problem that she has identified, but I think the way she’s going about it, unfortunately, she’s a bit misinformed.” He also said whatever solution is eventually settled upon should not be “punitive to people who have succeeded because of the foundation and the gift and the promise of the country.”
So, in summary, it seems that Schultz believes that wealth is okay as long as you don’t claim a political party, and that people should stop using “billionaire” as a slur. Also, he wants to try on a lot of our shoes.
Pop star Cardi B was much clearer and used many more expletives when she recently explained her personal views on wealth. In a Twitter video posted to her account on Tuesday then deleted that evening, the “Money” rapper stated explicitly that people who worked hard for their wealth should be able to spend it. It’s available in the tweet below still (warning: profanity).
— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) February 5, 2019
She said, “I hate when celebrities do something very extravagant, buy something very luxurious, there’s people in the comments that are like ‘you could have donated that…’ Who are you to tell people what to do with their hard-working-*ss money?”
She went on to explain how non-disposable her income truly is by reminding her followers that she pays 45 percent of everything she makes to the Internal Revenue Service, supports her whole family, and spends buckets of money on various bills to keep her consumers happy. Last year, Cardi appeared in a similar video message to her fans about how she didn’t appreciate writing huge checks to the government without knowing what was happening with her tax money.
Although the rapper despises Donald Trump and consistently supports Democrats, her views on wealth and taxes are not in line with those of many politicians she admires. Even though her videos seem like angry ranting, she seems to have stumbled onto some real cracks in the foundation of a progressive future.
Her most recent message was directed at people criticizing celebrities’ wealth through Twitter comments, but it also seems to speak directly to anyone who would charge an “ultra-millionaire” tax that would stop her from buying a yacht and send her “hard-earned-*ss” money to debt-ridden millennials.
This billionaire NFL owner just paid $100M for a "superyacht" with its own iMax theater. I'm pretty sure he can pay my new #UltraMillionaireTax to help the millions of yacht-less Americans struggling with student loan debt. https://t.co/Gk4ifAkxdT
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) January 26, 2019