Elizabeth Warren on Bloomberg 2020: 'I guess he figured it was cheaper than paying a two-cent wealth tax'

During a campaign rally in Brooklyn with former presidential candidate Julian Castro, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) took the time to talk about her proposed Ultra-Millionaire Tax that she says would help give back to America’s middle class. 

“It is time for a wealth tax in America,” Warren said to a packed room of supporters. 

She acknowledged the backlash that her wealth tax has received, particularly from billionaires who would be forced to pay it. One billionaire, in particular, is former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who recently announced his candidacy after months of speculation and voicing his displeasure at the notion of the Ultra-Millionaire Tax, stating it’s “probably unconstitutional.”

“You may have heard: there are some billionaires that have taken exception to this — go on TV and cry,” Warren said, mocking tears. “Other billionaires have been moved to run for president. I guess he figured it was cheaper than paying a two-cent wealth tax.” 

‘All we’re saying is if you make it big...’

The crying that Warren is likely referring to was billionaire Leon Cooperman’s emotional interview on CNBC, where he teared up as he talked about feeling targeted by Warren’s wealth tax, back in November 2019. Soon after the interview, the Warren campaign unveiled “billionaire tears” mugs

Democratic U.S. presidential candidate and Senator Elizabeth Warren gestures next to former Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Julian Castro during her campaign event at Brooklyn's Kings Theatre in New York, January 7, 2020. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

Under Warren’s wealth tax, Bloomberg would pay $3.163 billion, while Cooperman would pay $151 million, according to her website’s Calculator for the Billionaires

“Here’s the argument from these guys: ‘We got out there and we worked hard. We earned this money. This is what a market economy is all about,’” Warren said. “And here’s my answer to that: You worked hard. You had a great idea. You hit the big moment, and you made it big. Good for you! I’m glad to hear it.”

She continued: “But understand this: You built a great fortune here in America, I guarantee you built at least in part using workers all of us helped pay to educate,” Warren said. “All we’re saying is if you make it big, I mean really big, I mean top 1/10th of 1% big, pitch in two cents so everybody else gets a chance at this.” 

Warren’s proposed ultra-millionaire tax would place an annual 2% tax on every dollar a household has above $50 million, which would increase to 6% for households with more than $1 billion. Warren has stated that the revenue generated from this tax would go towards other programs of hers, including Medicare for All, universal childcare, and expanded Social Security.

Although one poll last year shows a majority of Americans are in favor of raising taxes on the wealthy, Warren’s proposal has still been met with criticism from several wealthy individuals — including Microsoft (MSFT) founder Bill Gates, JPMorgan Chase (JPM) CEO Jamie Dimon, and ex-Goldman Sachs (GS) CEO Lloyd Blankfein

Adriana is an associate editor for Yahoo Finance. She can be reached at adriana@yahoofinance.com. Follow her on Twitter @adrianambells.


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