Election 2020

Are Billionaires Immoral? Democrats Are Staking Out Aggressive Anti-Wealth Platforms Ahead of 2020.

Is it moral to blame a country's problems on a handful of wealthy individuals? Is it a wise political strategy?

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Coming soon to a Democratic Party presidential debate: the question, "Is it morally appropriate for anyone to be a billionaire?"

A version of the query was raised earlier this month by the author Ta-Nehisi Coates. He was interviewing a new Democratic congresswoman from New York, the self-described socialist Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, about, among other things, her plan to raise top marginal income tax rates as high as 70%.

Talking about the tax rate, which would nearly double the current top federal marginal rate of 37%, Ocasio-Cortez replied, "It's an economic question but it's also a moral question….It's saying, where do we draw the line in excess? Maybe this idea of idealizing this outcome, of maybe one day you too can be a billionaire and own more than millions of families combined, is not an aspirational or good thing."

Coates followed up: "I hate to personalize this, but do you think it is moral for individuals to, for instance—do we live in a moral world that allows for billionaires? Is that a moral outcome?"

The answer from the congresswoman was emphatic and came without any hesitation. "No, it's not. It's not. It's not. And I think it's important to say that."

She cautioned, "I don't think that necessarily means that all billionaires are immoral. It is not to say that someone like Bill Gates for example or Warren Buffett are immoral people, I do not believe that. But I do think a system that allows billionaires to exist, when there are parts of Alabama where people are still getting ringworm because they don't have access to public health, is wrong."

The factcheckers pounced to point out that the public health problem in Alabama is hookworm, not ringworm. But the larger point looms nonetheless.

It won't be the last time the issue comes up, at least if the congresswoman and her team have anything to say about it. Her policy aide, Dan Riffle, has a Twitter account named, "Every Billionaire Is a Policy Failure."

Riffle responded on Twitter to the Coates interview, which was at a Riverside Church event marking Martin Luther King Jr. Day: "My goal for this year is to get a moderator to ask 'Is it morally appropriate for anyone to be a billionaire?' at one of the Dem primary debates."

It'd be a particularly interesting question on which to hear from a variety of the other presidential candidates, both actual and potential.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), like Ocasio-Cortez a self-described socialist, got impressive traction but not the nomination in the 2016 primary in part by talking incessantly about "billionaires."

Senator Elizabeth Warren rejects the socialist label but, campaigning in Puerto Rico recently, complained, "the rich and powerful are taking so much for themselves and leaving so little for everyone else." She has proposed a 3 percent annual wealth tax on those with assets of $1 billion or more.

And then there is Michael Bloomberg, who could have retired comfortably at 40 on his $10 million Salomon Brothers severance, but chose instead to work hard and risk his own capital on a financial technology startup, crawling under desks on weekends on floors littered with old McDonald's hamburger wrappers and mouse droppings to run computer cables for clients.

Another billionaire, longtime Starbucks coffee CEO Howard Schultz, says he is considering a presidential run as an independent. Schultz grew up in public housing in Brooklyn and was the first in his immediate family to attend college.

Republicans, including President Trump, who has his own fortune, often have trouble finding the right language to defend wealth.

Maria Bartiromo of Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network offered a hint some directions Republicans are likely to go in when she, on Fox News, described the remarks by Ocasio-Cortez as "quite naïve." She pointed out that rich people already pay a large share of federal income taxes. She defended the billionaires in part by talking about their philanthropy, speaking of Kenneth Langone's support for New York University's medical school, Hank Greenberg's support of New York-Presbyterian Hospital, and Stephen Schwarzman's support for the New York Public Library. Such philanthropy sometimes strikes leftists as undemocratic; they'd rather this money be allocated by Washington politicians elected by the general public than by the people who earned it.

Bartiromo also warned that confiscatory tax rates could hurt productivity: "Are you gonna work really hard, if you know that at a point, you will have to give it all to the government? I don't think so." This is a point not only about economic productivity at the national level, but about cultivating the individual virtue of hard work—"industry," as Benjamin Franklin called it.

Bret Stephens made a pragmatic and utilitarian case in The New York Times over the weekend, in a column about Venezuela: "All of this used to be obvious enough, but in the age of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez it has to be explained all over again. Why does socialism never work? Because, as Margaret Thatcher explained, 'eventually you run out of other people's money.'"

One might ask, skeptically, whether people will really stop working as hard, and if the supermarket shelves will really go bare, if the financial rewards of capitalist success were to top out at $900 million rather than $1 billion or $100 billion. Unless some politician or thinker can come up with a better answer to the moral question, voters may be tempted to conduct a practical experiment on the matter using the American economy as a test case.

My own sense is that the best moral defense of billionaires requires putting the socialists on the defensive by answering the billionaire question with some other questions. Would it be moral for politicians in Washington to change the laws so that becoming a billionaire in America would be impossible, no matter how much value an entrepreneur creates for customers and shareholders and society as a result of the entrepreneur's hard work, genius, and risk-raking? What would that proposed alternative system do to the American dream and to its traditions of strong property rights? Why scapegoat and demonize a few billionaires for public health problems in Alabama that they have nothing to do with?

Won't we be more likely to make progress against poverty and disease if we avoid divisively linking those problems to the existence of a few rich people who aren't actually at fault for them? Is it a "moral world" where politicians can motivate millions of voters to blame a country's problem on a handful of wealthy individuals, and to suggest, without evidence, that long-term and intractable problems can be quickly solved if only tax rates were dramatically increased? Is the Democratic fixation with the billionaires (problem) and taxes (solution) much different from the Trump fixation on immigrants and the border wall?

It'd sure be nice to have a moderator ask, and the candidates answer, some of those questions, too, in the 2020 presidential debates.

Ira Stoll is editor of FutureOfCapitalism.com and author of JFK, Conservative.

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175 responses to “Are Billionaires Immoral? Democrats Are Staking Out Aggressive Anti-Wealth Platforms Ahead of 2020.

  1. It’s about Trump to them, isn’t it?

    They want to make 2020 about Trump being a billionaire.

    What else are they going to do? Go after NAFTA or trade with China? Trump’s already beaten them on those issues.

    So they’re making 2020 about Trump being a billionaire.

    1. Go after NAFTA or trade with China? Trump’s already beaten them on those issues.

      He has?

      1. Don’t you remember?

        Mexico is paying for the wall too.

      2. Yeah, Trump has done what the Democrats have been campaigning on doing since just after Bill Clinton was in office.

        Trump renegotiated NAFTA, and he gave China hell over trade.

        That’s a big part of why the white, blue collar voters of the rust belt turned out for him 2016. Regardless of whether Trump gets his renegotiation of NAFTA ratified or whether the trade war with China ends in an agreement, Trump has completely run an end around the Democrats on those two issues.

        1. Regardless of whether Trump gets his renegotiation of NAFTA ratified or whether the trade war with China ends in an agreement, Trump has completely run an end around the Democrats on those two issues.

          He doesn’t have to actually win?

          1. Did the Democrats need to win on those issues back they were their issue?

            I’m not talking about the way the world should be. I’m talking about the way it is.

            If you think the Democrats can outmaneuver Trump by trying to pretend like he doesn’t care if China and Mexico take American jobs–after everything Trump has done on NAFTA and to China? Then I don’t know what to say.

            If Trump’s renegotiation of NAFTA isn’t ratified by the Senate, I doubt the voters will blame Trump for not trying hard enough to renegotiate NAFTA.

            If Trump doesn’t manage to get better terms for American goods going to China, I don’t think white, blue collar voters in the swing states of the rust belt are likely to blame him for a lack of effort. He’s done pretty much all you can do on those issues.

            Rightly or wrongly, if you want NAFTA renegotiated and the president to give China hell, and those are important issues to you? You’re probably voting for Trump come 2020.

            With those economic issue off the table because Trump has eaten their lunch, what are the Democrats going to run on?

            One possibility? They could demonize billionaires. Rightly or wrongly, people associate Trump with billionaires. He’s practically the monocled guy on the Monopoly cards.

            1. The Democrats can say that Trump doesn’t come through on his promises, which would be factual.

              1. He promised to withdraw from the Paris accords, and that’s what he did.

                He promised to renegotiate NAFTA, and that’s what he did.

                He promised to have a trade war with China, and that’s what he did.

                He promised to withdraw from Obama’s Iran deal, and that’s what he did.

                He promised to respect the states on their marijuana laws, and that’s what he did.

                If he fails to get a wall built, it sure as hell won’t be for lack of trying.

                I agree with three of those positions (withdrawing from the Paris accords and the Iran deal and marijuana laws), but I’m not talking about what I think. I’m talking about the way his actions on those topics will be perceived by swing voters in the rust belt swing states of Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan, and western Pennsylvania–the states that gave him the presidency in 2016.

                To those blue collar voters, he’s a promise keeper.

                1. Trump 2020: he’s a loser!

                  1. #boredwithwinning

                2. Yup.

                  Those steel mills and Ford factories are opening any day now in Youngstown, Pittsburgh, and Akron.

            2. Trump is more like a Beverly Hillbilly than a Rothschild or Vanderbilt. Isn’t that who Monopoly’s mascot is a play on? (Actually, he’s made to resemble J.P. Morgan)

              1. He’s made a brand out of conspicuous consumption.

                If Warren isn’t targeting billionaires with an eye toward using it against Trump, then she’s retarded.

                She’s gonna campaign on making Trump pay for her programs like Trump promised to make Mexico pay for the wall.

                1. The fact that he’s more like a Beverly Hillbilly than a Vanderbilt is a FEATURE not a BUG to most people. Hell, it even is to me! These pretentious, smug assholes like Bloomberg, Schultz, etc are fucking unbearable. They’re just not likable people. And they’re all clearly PC pussies.

                  Trump is basically a regular slob who was pretty damn good at being a hype based salesman. He’s kind of like a super used car salesman, but he did skyscrapers instead of used Fords.

                  1. In other words, he’s Bushwood Country Club’s gadfly Al Czervik?

    2. They want to make 2020 about Trump being a billionaire.

      He’d have to show his tax returns first before anyone should believe he’s actually a billionaire.

      1. There’s a personal financial statement on 1040s now? How come I’ve never seen that section.

      2. Actually, most people probably believe he’s a billionaire.

        He’s exactly the kind of conspicuous consumer the Democrats are going after, isn’t he? He’s the fucking poster boy for conspicuous consumption.

        He’s also the center of their political efforts.

        Maybe someone should seriously try to take the other side of this argument. Who genuinely believes that Democrat candidates for president like Warren targeting billionaires for special taxes has nothing to do with 2020? Isn’t that a ridiculous assumption?

        Why wouldn’t it be about Trump?

        1. Actually, most people probably believe he’s a billionaire.

          Much as most Republicans believe former Pres. Obama is a Kenyan (and a Muslim, and a communist);

          evolution is a Satanic plot and (certain) fairy tales are factual;

          a ‘caravan’ of desperate, impoverished people is a threat to American national security;

          current country music is entertainment fit for adults;

          and a wall along the Mexican border would stop marijuana, cocaine, and heroin from reaching American consumers?

          1. Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland|1.28.19 @ 6:49PM|#
            “Much as most Republicans believe former Pres. Obama is a Kenyan (and a Muslim, and a communist)”

            Asshole, is it possible for you to comment without lying?

            1. No. I don’t believe it is.

          2. Most?

            Cite your source for that, pigfucker.

          3. You mean much as most LIBS & Progressives believed Obummy when he said this upon his election:

            “This was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.”

            Darn, funny thing is shortly after he proclaimed this & after he won his much deserved Nobel Peace Prize: He & HildaBeast started bombing the crap out of the Middle East & N. Africa to the point where he made Cheney & Rumsfeld & Shrub #2 look like Mr. Rogers!!!

            Such a shame, he had soooo much potential!

      3. Don’t be a fucking moron.

        Trump overstates his own net worth. He’s been claiming around 10 billion for some years, which is excessively optimistic… But even Forbes says he is worth around 5 point something billion IIRC.

        The EXACT nature of his ownership shares in most of his major real estate holdings is publicly known information. They also know the size of mortgages for most of these projects. For instance he owns Trump Tower 100%, free and clear. That ALONE is several hundred million IIRC.

        Forbes did a very thorough run through when he was running, and came up with a range of reasonable fair market values for all his known assets. They got to something like a low ball figure of 4 billion and something to 5 something billion at the higher end, because all assets have a range that might be argued to be reasonable.

        So I REALLY wish all this “He’s not a billionaire!” nonsense would stop. He’s not as rich as some cuck faggot like Zuckerberg, so just make fun of him for that. But he is definitely a muiltibillionaire.

        1. I read it was about $4 billion, but who cares. It is still more than most people can spend in several lifetimes. I see no problem with being a billionaire, but it would be good if many of them spent more on supporting charities. Far too many rich people concentrate far too much time acquiring personal wealth which they can never spend than doing good.
          I’m a humanist and believe in the overall good of human nature. This may seem a little naive, but there’s nothing wrong in wishful thinking

          1. May want to do a little research. Billionaires spend quite a bit on charities. In fact many form endowments and trusts to support their personal causes.

          2. Yup. Many do. I would probably spend a ton on “teach a man to fish” type stuff if I was a billionaire.

            One thing to consider too though is that in many cases a lot of these guys are doing MORE good by continuing their capitalist enterprises than they could ever do by charity. Expanding their business, creating tons of new jobs, etc IS doing good for society.

    3. J(umbo) B(utt) Pritzker (D) Illinois) is a billionaire that spent 170 million of his own dough to win the governor job.
      Is this moral? Should his big asset be taxed at 70%?

      1. No, of course not. He is there to bless us with more Gun Control and Healthcare paid for with unicorn farts.

        Taxes are for people not named Pritzker or Madigan. Everyone knows that.

    4. They want to make 2020 about Trump being a billionaire.

      I agree 100%. More specifically, they (or at least Warren – AOC is just an idiot who likes to hear herself talk) want to bring into the election Trump’s 1999 proposal about a one-time 13.75% wealth tax on millionaires.

      whether it works or not is a different question. I for one am just enjoying how quickly the donor class and their useful idiots and dingleberry munchers have pivoted into trying to bury the wealth tax idea (they are perfectly fine with AOC’s nonsense). That – the speed of pivoting into opposition to an idea – is always a good sign of the ACTUAL threat of that proposal to some existing status quo.

  2. author Ta-Nehisi Coates … self-described socialist Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez

    The fact that he asked the question indicates he should just be ignored. The fact that she answered the question means she should just be ignored. The fact that people think this is some kind of deep philosophical question says much about them.

    1. Is Coates pronounced in 3 syllables like coitis? It would fit his pompous self. if Te-nnehisee married Sandy she would be Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez-Coates.

      1. And would immediately and forever be known as Occasional Coitus.

  3. It’s saying, where do we draw the line in excess?

    A question that could be tossed right back at the central planners.

  4. What would that proposed alternative system do to the American dream and to its traditions of strong property rights?

    Off the top of my head, a proposed policy I’ve seen before tied the maximum allowed compensation of a CEO to the compensation of a median employee. The idea being that while there was no realistic way to cap a CEO’s compensation, you could make it such that they needed to give everyone a raise if they wanted one themselves.

    As I recall when it was discussed, one major objections was that it was just too difficult for a company to figure out how much it paid it’s own employees in order to calculate the median. For some reason, some people were persuaded by the idea that big companies really don’t know how much they spend on payroll.

    Regardless though, the real problem isn’t billionaires, it’s the wealth gap. And while you probably can’t come up with a workable policy that caps billionaires, you can come up with policies that reduce the gap and don’t allow for as much concentration of wealth.

    1. the real problem … it’s the wealth gap

      Why?

      1. The wealth gap is not the real problem, it’s one of the contributors to the real problem – which is the nookie gap.

        Rich successful men get more nookie, with hotter chicks, than poor unsuccessful men – including tempting the potential Mrs Joe Ordinary to become Mistress No. 5 to Mr Cheese.

        Obviously this provokes a lot of resentment however much you like playing the videos games that Mr Cheese provides you with.

      2. “Why”

        Because the wealth gap impeds free market capitalism and lead inturn to social instablity. With a wealth gap, capital becomes trapped and is not available to support the economy. The latest example of this is the recent tax cut. Fox News (hardly liberal) reported that companies were using the gains to buy back stock (building wealth) over creating jobs (distributing capital) at a 30 to 1 ratio. When capital is trapped free market capitalism will suffer and will at some point fail. I have said before and will say again, socialism comes in when capitalism fails.

        The strength of an economy is not measured in the number of billionaires but rather by the size of its middle class. A large middle class moves capital around and favors capitalism.

        1. You don’t think the wealthy buy stuff. And a company reinvesting itself is moving money around, somebody owned those stocks that they bought back. So they did move capital. Jesus, job creation is not the only way to move capital. That is imbecilic level thinking there.

      3. The “wealth gap” is only a problem for people who assume wages/business economics are a zero sum game. Maybe the rhetorical solution is to talk about exempting “wealth creator billionaires” (employment comp earners) from maxi-taxes, and sticking it to passive investors and/or inheritors?

    2. you can come up with policies that reduce the gap and don’t allow for as much concentration of wealth.

      Like what? Other than outright seizure.

    3. In fairness, the calculation’s a little harder than you imply. The calculation is pretty trivial if everyone at your company works exactly 40 hours per week, was on staff for the full year and you completely ignore benefits. It’s a little more complicated when you’ve got lots of part-timers or generous benefits packages. But only a little harder. So no, that was not a major objection. Just a paperwork nightmare and a birthday present to unscrupulous plaintiffs attorneys.

      Re: the wealth gap, though, I think you’re looking at the problem the wrong way. Rather than try to invent policies that prevent billionaires from accumulating wealth, maybe you should look at some of the highly disfunctional policies we already have which actively disincent and hinder the accumulation of wealthy by those who don’t yet have any. Examples include occupational licensing that protects incumbents, regulatory capture by trade associations, a tax code that distorts markets, a national health care reimbursement system that distorts even worse than the tax code, a mandatory Social Security “lock box” that encourages dependence and actively discourages savings, etc.

      1. I think big corporations could figure this out with computer programs and math if they can figure out their own taxes.

        1. But they usually don’t figure their own taxes, they outsource that to huge law firms that specialize in taxes.

    4. “Regardless though, the real problem isn’t billionaires, it’s the wealth gap.”

      No, it isn’t.

    5. “Regardless though, the real problem isn’t billionaires, it’s the wealth gap.”

      How are you harmed by someone else having a billion dollars?

      1. It really burns me up that they get those nice big seats at the front of the plane.

    6. “The idea being that while there was no realistic way to cap a CEO’s compensation, you could make it such that they needed to give everyone a raise if they wanted one themselves.”

      A company’s board of directors typically sets the CEO’s compensation. You don’t like how much Tim Cook is making at Apple? Blame the multimillionaire Al Gore.

      You need to rethink the wealth gap idea, too. Let’s say the CEO for the company I’m working at makes $500,000. I make $50,000. I get a 10% pay increase. He gets a 1.5% increase. The pay gap increases. How am I worse off?

      1. The problem, as most people see it, is that those numbers are reversed.

        Of course they ignore that the regular worker didn’t increase their value to the company 10% through their middle management position but the CEO increased the value of the stock (the main thing shareholders care about) 200%.

        1. I totally agree. And here’s the thing: these same people could be enjoying the benefits of that gain in stock value too if they invested.

          And another thing: people too often mistake “wealth” with cash. Believe it or not, these CEO’s don’t have a Scrooge McDuck vault where they go swimming in every night. Their cash is usually held in banks which in turn is loaned out to provide, among other things, the funding to support the middle manager’s mortgage and auto loan. The CEO’s wealth is often tied to investments which drive product innovation, lower costs, and employment; all of which is a benefit to the middle manager. The CEO’s lifestyle of a country club and a lake house support the middle manager’s kids’ summer jobs of busing tables, mowing, etc.

          The Left has taken an extremely complex economic environment consisting of millions of decisions made each and every day and boiled it down to, “Billionaires are bad! Mmmm k.”

    7. If we did this, it would be AMAZING for European and Asian companies… They would simply hire all the CEO quality people from America to work at their companies for pay that is commensurate with their abilities. That would be GREAT for American businesses.

      Or of course they would just work around it, by granting more stock options or something to that effect.

      It’s a pretty simple concept: If hiring guy one for 1 million dollars has your company performing at a baseline of 100%… But hiring guy two for 15 million dollars gets your company to perform at 115%, and your annual profits are saaay 1 billion… Not paying guy two 15 times as much as guy one means your company loses out on an extra 150 million in annual profits.

      People of course bitch when somebody gets paid out the nose and DOESN’T do a good job… But that’s life. Even good people fall down sometimes, and every person that gets chosen to be CEO of a major company has one hell of a track record before they’re even considered. Those guys tend to not last long, and the guys that are good do. Nobody wins 100% of the time.

    8. “it’s the wealth gap”

      There is no gap.

      The income distribution in the US is a right hand normal distribution, so is wealth. From zero to Bill Gates, every slot is filled.

      The word “gap” is a rhetorical device that misleads.

  5. I had a facebook friend post “currently sitting thirty feet away from someone who is worth 50 billion and I am irrationally angry”

    The comments weren’t any better.

    These are the people that lead to sending kulaks to the death camps

    1. Facebook? Lol.

    2. My dad physically bumped into about 80 billion dollars (at the time) once on accident… He walked into Bill Gates because he wasn’t paying attention to where he was walking because he was in a rush! LOL He apologized of course, and got a “No problem man!” from him.

      He thought to himself “Damn, that guy looked a lot like Bill Gates.” Only to find out a couple minutes later Bill Gates was at the resort where he was, and he had just walked into him. He was surprised he didn’t get tackled or tasered by security guys.

      I don’t mind people being worth obscene amounts of money… But I don’t like the shitty ones who push for globalist authoritarianism with their money. Ol’ Bill is one of those guys nowadays unfortunately. But I guess you’re going to end up with shit heels like him if you have freedom. At least his company has made some products I actually like, unlike that dick bag Steve Jobs.

    3. At least they recognized they were being irrational.

  6. Why on earth would a politician defend billionaires?

    I can see why you would vote against a 70% tax but why get suckered into the argument?

    1. please tell me your exact amount where it’s OK for someone to have but then they are evil afterwards.

      These billionaires are responsible for more wealth generation and employment than politicians ever will be

  7. Ye gods, it’s all about class envy, isn’t it? I mean, it’s not like the “rich” aren’t already paying the tax burden (and plenty of the “rich” aren’t rich). Not to mention that the deficit spending far outstrips tax revenues.

    Keep strangling the Golden Goose. See what that gets you.

    1. Keep strangling the Golden Goose. See what that gets you.

      A pile of salty goo on my stomach?

    2. Class envy among Republicans?

      You mean the way right-wingers despise the educated, accomplished, city-dwelling, reasoning elites?

      1. Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland|1.28.19 @ 6:51PM|#
        “You mean the way right-wingers despise the educated, accomplished, city-dwelling, reasoning elites?”

        Asshole, is it possible for you to comment without lying?

      2. And you still believe in bullets before ballots there, Rev.

      3. envy =/= despise

        envy means you want to steal it, despise means you just want them to go away and leave you in peace

      4. Shitlibs like you don’t reason, you emote.

  8. htf is AOC going to reconcile Howard Schultz? htf is Schultz going to counter T?

  9. At this point, Occasional Cortex would be more aptly named Oblivious Cortex because she has proven herself to be the dumbest person ever elected. If someone produces value to society worthy of them becoming a billionaire, then they deserve it. I hate how ignorant people think we live in a feudal society where wealth is literally stolen from the taxpayer and passed down by blood and marriage.

    1. Occasional Cortex would be more aptly named Oblivious Cortex

      More like Oblivious Cunt, am I right?

      1. Hey! Be nice to socialists!

    2. >>>dumbest person ever elected

      Claire McCaskill on line 2…Amy Klobuchar on line 3

      1. Representative Hank Johnson, a Democrat from Lithonia, Georgia: This is a[n] island that at its widest level is what ? twelve miles from shore to shore? And at its smallest level ? uh, smallest location ? it’s seven miles between one shore and the other? Is that correct?

        Willard: I don’t have the exact dimensions, but to your point, sir, I think Guam is a small island.

        Johnson: Very small island, about twenty-four miles, if I recall, long, twenty-four miles long, about seven miles wide at the least widest place on the island and about twelve miles wide on the widest part of the island, and I don’t know how many square miles that is. Do you happen to know?

        Willard: I don’t have that figure with me, sir, I can certainly supply it to you if you like.

        Johnson: Yeah, my fear is that the whole island will become so overly populated that it will tip over and capsize.

    3. ” I hate how ignorant people think we live in a feudal society where wealth is literally stolen from the taxpayer and passed down by blood and marriage.”

      They think that because that is their goal. It’s how socialism, wealth redistribution works.
      And we just suffered through weeks of being told the lords’ vassals were gonna go hungry because they were temporarily blocked from the appropriations taken from us peasants

      1. Even the vast majority of people in societies that HAVE that kind of ancient elite, like England, still have more self made people than Blue Bloods nowadays. It is fantasy land leftovers in the back of their heads.

        Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of people born with a silver spoon in their mouth… But over a couple generations most family fortunes rise and fall, depending on the competence of those that inherit. That’s why the Vanderbilts are all flat broke nowadays. The Rockefellers are still doing okay in the main branches, but also have broke branches already.

        Families like the Rothschilds that have maintained wealth over centuries are a HUGE anomaly, but even they are VERY much poorer in relative terms compared to their ancestors of the late 1700s/early 1800s who were the equivalent of Bezos/Gates/Zuckerberg in their times. Unless you believe the conspiracy theories that they’re trillionaires, that is.

        1. But over a couple generations most family fortunes rise and fall, depending on the competence of those that inherit.

          Not sure that’s really the case. IMO what happens is that the first generation or so is driven solely by the acquisition of wealth – subsequent generations are driven more by social acceptance or something else on Maslow’s hierarchy. So it’s rather silly to use the same measures since they have different goals. But that wealth almost always allows those subsequent generations to achieve whatever they want to achieve for far longer than you think.

          It prob takes 5+ generations – IF those subsequent generations are all motivated entirely by consumption/non-wealth creation things – before a newborn in that family faces what might be considered normal-with-no-advantages birth circumstances.

          1. You are totally wrong. It can happen in a SINGLE generation sometimes. Other times it lasts for centuries. It can be all over the map.

            But IIRC the average for retaining large fortunes is only 3 generations. The fortune builder. Their kids tend to have not been rich their whole life, and be taught a lot of the important stuff their badass parents knew to get rich, and do OKAY. They tend to maintain, but not expand the wealth much. Then in many cases their kids, raised by people who didn’t actually build the fortune to begin with, don’t get raised well, and often blow it. This has been shown to be a thing statistically. That 3rd generation, or their kids maybe, might be upper middle class even, but not “rich.” Sometimes not even that though.

            But all variations do happen. Also keep in mind that in almost every case SOME branch of a family will blow it almost immediately if inheritance is split. Like oldest son might be fine, but younger brother blows it. Then his line is broke from there on out, even while the oldest son line is well off. Stuff like that.

            1. Heck, my own family has a touch of this. My moms moms family founded a town in California in the 1800s, it’s still there and growing. They were VERY wealthy from owning tons of land and cattle/sheep/businesses. The equivalent of many millions in todays money. Not Rockefeller rich, but very well to do.

              My great grandpa was alive when I was a kid still. IIRC it was only his grandpa that founded the town, and was rich as sin, but he was just a simple lumberjack. I don’t really know how his side of the family ended up not having money, but it was probably due to blowing it, or the way inheritance was split at some point. Not sure if other branches of the family may still be ballin’, but it’s possible. Not our branch though.

            2. I agree that a disinheritance of a particular kid can make that branch immediately poorer/normal. I would argue that that is NOT just simply the ‘decline of a family fortune’ but a unique event – a disinheritance which is by definition eliminating a kid from the family fortune. That disinheritance will usually be because the kid and the parent are in conflict about something the kid is doing or goals that the kid has for their own life – and the parent wants to exert control over that – to force the kid to adopt the parent’s values of what is important by holding the money (deemed important by the parents) hostage.

              That whole process is not really about the decline of family fortune imo – but more an example that those who build great fortunes are often controlling and manipulative and obsessive even with their own kids and even after their own death. They ARE different from most people including their own kids.

              1. I kind of agree on that… But it also isn’t relevant. Lots of people just straight blow their money like idiots.

                It is hard to lose billions… But it happens all the time. And it’s REALLY easy to lose several million or a couple of tens of millions. Literally a yacht or two, and a Ferrari every several years and all the other stupid spending to go with, and a fortune like that can go bye bye in a couple decades. I’ve seen it happen, and know people who will inherit fortunes where I’m pretty sure that is their fate in the future.

  10. Billionaires are good. Riches are proof that God approves what you have done, and The Market agrees.

  11. Billionaires are neither moral nor immoral in the sense of being billionaires. Their morality or lack of is about the type people they are, not the amount of their wealth. Come on, man; that’s a silly question. We have a sitting US Senator who wants to be president, putting forth a massive extra-constitutional system of theft that has already failed (see: the Clinton luxury tax), and some parrots like AOC who vomit stupid things on a daily basis.

    1. “Their morality or lack of is about the type people they are, not the amount of their wealth.”

      Agreed.

  12. A political party that is blaming the country’s problems on the evil doings of a small group of people. Where have we heard that before? Seems like it might have something to do with it being Holocaust Rememberance Day.

    1. Hell, don’t the Democrats basically own the billionaire vote?

      1. Could be the other way around.

    2. Like, uh, immigrants??

  13. So Democrats are for legislating morality?

  14. Amusing watching a party more addicted to smug elitism than a crack whore is to sucking dick for crack try and pretend to be “for the people”.

  15. One of the best arguments for billionaires is that the people who are driven enough to become billionaires would be doing something else with their time and energy if the billionaire route was closed. This is often understood in the sense of “oh dear, they wouldn’t be transforming the economy and giving us lazy dullards all that high quality cheap stuff we like to have.”

    But there’s another nastier angle. A good proportion of billionaires are the sort of people who like to scrabble to the top of whatever pile is on offer. Some genuine sociopaths make it big in business, and it’s much better that they make piles of money than piles of skulls. Thank God for capitalism – you can exercise your crazed lust for power and domination as head of a giant corporation rather than as Commandant of a concentration camp.

    1. “…you can exercise your crazed lust for power and domination as head of a giant corporation rather than as Commandant of a concentration camp.”

      “Why not both?”

      …Michael Bloomberg

    2. This is true. You would probably see more hyper competent people getting into the dirty political arena if they couldn’t chase wealth the old fashioned way, via cutthroat capitalism!

      Or just moving abroad, since the whole world would obviously not pass the same daft law at the same time…

  16. Can you decry billionaires and buy early tickets for Captain Marvel and stand in line to buy the next Iphone at the same time?

    A billionaire in America is almost certainly a democrat and likely provides cash flow to the democrat party. Nancy Pelosi and the remaining democrat dinos understand this, the new loony tunes in the house don’t.

    Trump won’t be president forever, and if he doesn’t win in 2020 the democrats can safely return to accusations of “globalism” and threaten punitive measures if billionaires move assets out of the country. I bet a lot of them resent that Trump stole things from their playbook.

  17. Unnamed sources say an unofficial committee run by Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez is proposing an Income Inequality Act much like ObamaCare.

    The rough draft is that all Americans put their income into a pool and it’s divided by how many put into it.

    So like if there is $100.00 and 100 put into it, everyone gets $1.00

    It may be called AOCare.

  18. Actually there’s almost universal agreement on the problem of inequality and the solution to it.

    We all agree that “the rich should pay more, and that the rich are people with more than me.”

    1. if you make $45,000 a year (roughly), you are in the top 1% of the world.

      If you make minimum wage, you are the top 1% in the history of the world.

      1. I do rather enjoy being in the top fraction of 1% of the wealthiest people in the world today… Fuck the 99%, the dirty peasant bastards!

        Now where is that damned orphan, he was supposed to have my monocle shined up 15 minutes ago! I’ll have to beat him twice as much as usual today!

      2. Not only are even the poorest Americans rather wealthy by global and historical standards, the billionaires are actually pretty poor compared to government standards

        We could tax every penny of the net worth of every billionaire in the US, and it would fund the government for all of 6 months

        If we seized every penny from every billionaire in the world we’d get a little over 2 years worth of federal spending

        1. That’s one of my favorite statistics to throw out to socialists. I then mention that the top tax rates of 50-60% JUST for income tax kick in for people who make anywhere from $30-60K a year in all those lovely European countries.

    2. There you go, Lee – that’s what I’ve always thought.

  19. Lizzie Borden Warren says hold ma beer and watch this.

  20. Obviously the solution is the nuevo dollar.

  21. Jesus, you people are stupid. They’re not talking about “billionaires”, they’re talking about “(((billionaires)))”. You don’t even know what a dog-whistle is when you hear one?

    1. Why not just say THE JEWS! then? I thought it was totes cool for leftists, but ONLY leftists, to rail on the Jews again? Or did I miss something?

  22. No, Democrats are immoral. As socialists, Democrats demand they have a natural right to free food, shelter, healthcare, education, and many other things. That means they believe they have a natural right to other people’s money, which is stealing and immoral by any standards. The whole foundation of Marxism is the taking and transferring of wealth, which in earlier times would warrant a hanging and should do so today.

    Democrat-Communists should be ostracized and ridiculed as dangerous idiots.

    1. They sound like incels, who think they have a natural right to pussy.

  23. Are Billionaires Immoral? Democrats Are Staking Out Aggressive Anti-Wealth Platforms Ahead of 2020: New at Reason

    As Democrats are the party of the wealthy, how is this going to work out for them?

  24. How much wealth you have is a moral. What you do with it can be moral or immoral. Back in the day, when society wasn’t made of a bunch of limp-wristed pussies, we had moral ideas of how you handle wealth: no to usury, yes to investment; no to hording, yes to charity.

    About the only thing we can agree on now is that you shouldn’t use your money to petition government to keep your competitors from competing. Yet we have that. Even Zuckerberg wants his industry regulated by the government. Hmmm… I wonder why that is? (Gab, Minds, etc?)

    Libertarians don’t really have a decent way to prevent rich people from advocating for policies with their own money. So as long as it takes money to get elected, expect rich people to buy off politicians.

    1. Yeah, I mean this is true. A lot of libertarians like to pretend that EVERYBODY who made a vast fortune did it in what most people would consider a moral way… But that just isn’t so.

      I think that almost all millionaires made their money in moral ways. Probably most people worth hundreds of millions too. And EVEN most billionaires did it legit. Great ideas, hard work, delivering value, all that stuff.

      BUT, there are people who made their money in shitty ways too. By being predatory, assholes, semi-scammy, regulatory capture, etc. This relatively small number of people is of course all that leftists tend to focus on, or just people in industries they don’t like, such as oil or whatever.

      But I don’t think it serves our goals to ignore the fact that SOME people that are rich did get there by being shitty people. We should just calmly explain they’re a small minority, and it wouldn’t be fair to punish the vast majority of good people who earned it. Since Dems claim to be all about fairness and all…

  25. If the democrats continue down the path that they have espoused I can see great problems a head. Just why should a billionaire want to stay in the US IF the democrats get enacted all the taxes and restrictions that they have throwing around? They would NOT. Money is transportable so these billionaires with all their money would just move to another area that don’t have those restrictions.
    But if the democrats get all the proposals enacted into law the 70% tax that has been kicked about have to go much higher and the persons that will be affected by that higher tax will be much less than it is now.

    1. Spot-on Curley. Much less, the socialist arm of the Democrat Party believe that they can just split up the economic “pie” in a way to give more to those who have been less successful. Problem is, with a 70% confiscatory federal tax rate, there will be a shrinkage of the “pie”, as many successful people won’t judge increasing their marginal income worth the effort. Moreover, many of these successful individuals also live in states with high income tax rates, some up to 10%, further reducing the incentive to be productive.

      1. Before anyone comments about how we have had marginal rates as high at 90% in the past, you need to look at the difference between marginal and effective rates

        When we dropped the marginal rates we also eliminated a laundry list of deductions, credits, and loopholes. The end result was that effective rates stayed largely the same. Increasing the marginal rates without re-introducing all those tax dodges will take us into unexplored territory

  26. Since the Democrats seem to loathe billionaires so much, it’s amazing how many of the wealthiest billionaires are actually Democrats. It’s also worth noting how many Democrats court billionaires and the evil corporations they rail against when it comes time to restock their campaign war chests. It’s all a charade.

    1. But billionaires who give chunks of money to Democratic campaigns don’t count. It’s just those pesky Koch brothers and their ilk.

  27. I guess it’s extra special morally good to be poor and in debt.

    Gee, what a shock: their demographic!

  28. “Is it morally appropriate for anyone to be a billionaire?”

    Is it morally appropriate to allow someone to create billions of dollars of value for other people?

  29. They will target billionaires and hit the upper middle class, just like always.

  30. The billionaires that donate to the Democratic Party are exempted, of course.

  31. Is it moral to have billionaires is irrelevant. Some are horrible and detestable and some are great philanthropists with genuine intentions to help. To many of us, showing off your wealth is vulgar no matter if you’re an upper middle class individual or a billionaire. It is NOT, however, the federal government who gets to make the determination about ‘how much is too much.’ Period. The democratic party better come up with something better than that.

    1. “It is NOT, however, the federal government who gets to make the determination about ‘how much is too much.’ Period.”

      This. All the BS about morality is just that, BS.

  32. One might ask, skeptically, whether people will really stop working as hard, and if the supermarket shelves will really go bare, if the financial rewards of capitalist success were to top out at $900 million rather than $1 billion or $100 billion.

    I think a better question is whether AOC, et al think a 900-millionaire is any more acceptable, morally, than a billionaire is. After all once they tax all the billionaires out of existence how will they continue to fund their programs? They always have to say those at the top have too much wealth, regardless of how much they actually have

    1. To put another way, there are 540 billionaires in the US, with a total net worth of 2.4 trillion. This means you can tax 1.86 trillion dollars from them before there are no more billionaires left to tax. At current rates that would cover the deficit for a mere 2 years. If we go by the best Obama years, you’d get a little over 4 years of government out of them. This of course doesn’t account for the trillions of dollars in additional spending that these billionaire sin taxes are supposed to pay for

      And of course it also account for the fact that most of these billionaires just billionaires on paper. For example Jeff Bezos doesn’t just have 130 billion dollar in a sack under his bed, around 125 billion of that is his Amazon stock (he owns 16% of the company)

      1. Yup. And I’ve pointed this out to people who just don’t seem to get it… I then add in that socialist utopias in Europe tend to have 50-60% tax rates that kick in for EVERYBODY at or above $30-50K a year, depending on the country.

        They’re like deer in headlights. So fucking stupid it’s not even funny. Basic math isn’t really THAT hard is it?

        1. Similar to what I tell people, if you want to see a European-style welfare state here that’s fine, you are entitled to your opinion and may vote for whomever you want, but you are being lied to when they say they will only raise taxes on the wealthy to do it. The middle class will have to be taxed at up to 60% to accomplish it

          1. The short of it is that in order to have a European-style welfare state you would have to propose large tax increases on the middle and even lower classes, which would be politically untenable. Therefore, a Euro-style welfare state is politically impossible in the U.S. It is possible in Europe because the middle and lower classes are accustomed to paying much higher effective tax rates than are the middle and lower classes here. For political reasons, what “works” over there will never work here.

            1. Well, the scary thing to me is that they might be able to get us accustomed to it over saaay 20 or 30 years… Then we WOULD end up doing it. We’ll find out…

      2. That sort of analysis is static and irrelevant. Wealth taxes change behavior of asset-owners.

        At a tax level that Warren is proposing (300 basis points), that behavior change will almost certainly backfire and lead to a mix of capital flight and/or tax gaming.

        At a level of say Switzerland (roughly 50-75 basis points), that behavior change can dramatically reduce the ‘need’ for income transfers by govt. eg – the wealthy who own controlling interests of companies will become much more interested in dividends since those dividends are what they can use to pay the tax without selling the asset. That alone can change the stock market from the current ‘volatility seeking’ high-transactions arbitrage market to a more Buffet-style market. Agents (CEO’s etc) who have gamed the volatility via stock option compensation would find that game is over. Corporate governance would improve dramatically. Future retirees would find it much easier to build INCOME for retirement cuz they wouldn’t be screwed by the current wealthy who don’t need income – which means govt doesn’t need to backstop retirement as much (which means both SS AND Medicare). And that’s just one behavior change.

        1. Ah the technocratic dreams of someone who thinks they can control and direct outcomes of an economy. I’m reminded of this fantastic quote:

          “The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design.”

          ? Friedrich von Hayek

          1. Oh for fuck’s sake – maybe you should actually READ Hayek. That means actual BOOKS/articles/etc – not collections of quotes. And understand that Switzerland is the ONE country on earth that actually has a pragmatically libertarian (read classical liberal) political party as its MAJOR political party. That is FAR freer than the US has been for a century. And where their federal govt spends less as % of GDP than the US has since before the New Deal.

            this ain’t about the technocracy of micromanaging the economy you fucking dickwad. It’s about understanding what drives govt spending – and what drives the different sorts of tax revenues needed to fund that spending. And being able to actually discuss those like adult citizens rather than like juvenile monkeys flinging their poo around. Course this is America so I really don’t expect anything more than poo-flinging monkeys.

  33. Ya see, not ALL Billionaires are immoral. For instance, the ones who support Lefty causes….

  34. One of the biggest things people tend to miss, is it’s not about these people actually having and spending this money personally… It’s about how they choose their resource allocation that makes them so valuable to everybody else.

    Warren Buffett is really good at investing into things he thinks will grow at 20%+ a year. Investment in things like that grows the economy, employment, etc really quickly, which helps everybody. Without Buffett having that capital to invest, and it being spent on burgers and Nikes or whatever by schleps, economy wide resource allocation will suffer. These people are rich because they chose where they put their capital well!

    The entire economic growth rate would suffer dramatically without the best allocators doing the allocating, and we’d all be poorer for it.

    Not to mention the fact that NOT ONE of these people has ever spent anywhere close to their full fortune on personal toys or whatever. It’s mostly tied up in ownership in businesses they own. But even if they did, that too would provide a shit ton of employment for those that make the billionaires toys.

    1. Wait…Buffett doesn’t keep all of his wealth stuffed into his mattress and buried in his back yard?

    2. Warren Buffett is really good at investing into things he thinks will grow at 20%+ a year.

      Actually he is very good at using his controlling interest of the assets he owns to be able to then control the free cash flow (and dividends) that those companies generate. That strategy only works for those who are wealthy enough to not need current income for themselves. For those who do need that current income, they can only get that by SELLING the asset – and thus being subject to income tax.

      Essentially, Berkshire depends entirely on being able to capture cash dividends from the companies it controls – while not paying dividends to the shareowners of Berkshire. At core he is depending on a failure of corporate governance and he admits as much – A company’s management should first examine reinvestment possibilities offered by its current business — projects to become more efficient, expand territorially, extend and improve product lines, or to otherwise widen the economic moat separating the company from its competitors. which is all quite true. But the whole point of having a board that represents shareholder interests is because shareholder interests don’t necessarily align with mgmt interests and it shouldn’t just be a rubber stamp (even when the CEO and Chairman are the same person).

      1. Yes… He has an investment strategy. But his investing style has still gave him the best long term returns of anybody in the world. He has invested TONS of those profits BACK INTO the core businesses to expand them, in some cases extremely fast. He outright owns 100% a lot of businesses, you seem to be mostly talking about the public companies he also owns shares in? Or something.

        So I don’t really know what your point is.

  35. It is no more than a program of hate. Hate anyone that has more than you have.

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  37. The issue is not complex.

    Consider the first principles of both money and the economy.

    Money is simply transferable work. It represents work, nothing more. It doesn’t grow spontaneously with interest, nor disappear similarly. Those concepts corrupt the first principle of money.

    The purpose of an economy is to organize, regulate and direct the activities of citizens to work to achieve the best interests of all citizens who live in that economy.

    Based on the concepts of fairness and equality, it is physically and intellectually impossible for one person to work full time making minimum wage and another to be a billionaire. The human body cannot generate enough work.

    Defying reality is immoral.

    1. Karl Marx called, he wants his 19th century, agro-industrial conceptions of economics back

    2. “The purpose of an economy is to organize, regulate and direct the activities of citizens to work to achieve the best interests of all citizens who live in that economy.”

      WTF

    3. “it is physically and intellectually impossible for one person to work full time making minimum wage and another to be a billionaire. The human body cannot generate enough work.”

      Actually, reality has shown otherwise! If somebody invents a product that goes on to earn 100 billion dollars, then clearly their original idea WAS intellectual work that was worth… 100 billion dollars!

  38. Retardation Alert: People still believe the economy is a zero-sum game.

    Why are they not being ridiculed as much as those who think cavemen rode dinosaurs?

    It’s not a zero-sum game, AOC! It’s not a pie! Take as big a damn slice as you like, because there are tons more entire than pies where that one came from. It’s more like a pie factory rather than a pie!

  39. What everyone ignores is that the wealthy create jobs. Without the wealthy investors who purchase stock in companies which gives those companies capital to operate millions of jobs would be lost. Take General Motors for example. If the wealthy sold all their GM stock GM would have to buy it back and would go out of business. Not only would thousands of GM workers lose their jobs, thousand more vendor employees who manufacture parts that go into GM vehicles would lose their jobs also. Thousands of GM dealers employees would be out of work too.
    So think twice about blaming the wealthy for having too much money.
    Politicians like to talk about taxing the wealthy to pay for this, that and the other things. There is only so much wealth in the country. Start confiscating wealth and the wealthy will move out of the country.
    States with higher taxes on wealthy residents have seen those residents leave to states with lower taxes.

    1. Bullshit.

      People who through hard work and superior intellect have the potential to create and manage successful businesses that employ people whose work has value to a civilized economy. That has nothing to do with compensation.

      A pile of money simply represents the potential work of many people, like votes in a democracy but without any democracy or scrutiny as to the real value to civilization.

      That’s why we have factories employing people to take valuable resources from the earth and produce cheap disposable products filling landfills and polluting our environment.

      Kings and gods are always rich, and immoral.

      People should be compensated commensurately with their contributions. That’s why a living wage for full time employment is essential and some rational multiple of that amount exists for exceptional contributors.

      1. “People should be compensated commensurately with their contributions.”

        In a free market economy with voluntary exchange, they are.

      2. “People who through hard work and superior intellect have the potential to create and manage successful businesses that employ people whose work has value to a civilized economy. That has nothing to do with compensation.”

        The relationship of compensation to work and intellect may not be perfect in a free market, but I’ll take that imperfection any day in preference to letting some politician decide who gets a room and a crust, and who gets a dacha and caviar.

        1. I’ll grant you that in a corrupted environment, like we’ve had throughout history and today, a free market self corrects better than more centralized regulation.

          But corruption still leads to destruction.

          That’s why I’m a proponent of eliminating corruption. We have the technology with personal digital memory recording devices to capture and reproduce all corruption we perceive. We only need to recognize the human right to voluntarily protect ourselves by using it everywhere we are.

          That eliminates corruption, and the advantage of an unregulated free market.

    2. Take General Motors for example. If the wealthy sold all their GM stock GM would have to buy it back and would go out of business.

      This is the sort of logic that led to the TARP bailout. If all the wealthy sold their GM stock, the only thing that would happen is that the GM stock price would fall. At some point, the price would fall to a point where it becomes attractive to someone else to buy because the stock is a claim on assets. That new shareholder would then take over the board and the GM CEO would report to them.

      I have no idea how those new owners would manage the asset they now own. Neither do you – but the only reason that sort of arm’s length transaction can be viewed as ‘risky’ is if you believe that the EXISTING status quo of wealth is somehow uniquely capable of making decisions.

      If we had just let house prices fall in 2008 – and let banks (at least re the lending function – not the money function) go under – then not ONE house would have actually disappeared. People with paper wealth would have lost paper wealth but would still have their residence if they can make the mortgage payment. Overextended homeowners would have lost their claim on that house – and become renters in a different one. And an entire generation of millennials would have been able to purchase houses early and been able to move out of their parent’s basement and the health-insurance-on-parent’s-policy for ‘kids’ under 26 appeal of Obamacare wouldn’t have existed.

      1. On this we can agree! They should have let all those speculators eat shit. It would have been a harder and faster drop… But it would have been a boon to those who had not participated in dumb speculation, being able to buy assets cheap. And it all would have bounced back far faster, and with a ton less government debt.

  40. Is it moral to be a trillionaire, like the U.S. government?

    1. Totally different. When the debt is subtracted out, the US Govt is house rich and cash poor.

  41. Do the socialists realize that most of the billions these folks have is really only on paper, as stock? If they were forced to liquidate that to pay some insane level of tax, the value of those stocks would collapse. Aside from the fact that you’ve just destroyed the thing you were trying to tax, it might also kill the companies themselves, leading to even greater problems. I’ve got no love for Bezos, Gates etc. or their particular companies, but they are in fact the ones dragging us forward fast faster than any “progressive” politician ever will.

    1. Are you suggesting that socialists may actually have a rudimentary understanding of finance?

      1. The hard-core ones like Sanders, Warren, Occasional-Cortex, No. Their misunderstanding is deliberate and it would take a road-to-Damascus event to get them to give it up.

        But the soft, middle of the road swing votes, maybe, if we can get a Reagan or Thatcher out there to wake them up.

    2. You can’t tax stocks until you sell them and take the capital gains.

      1. Not yet. If Warren’s idiotic wealth tax ever got into place, you could. Or they could change the tax codes to make you pay cap gains taxes yearly, rather than when the gains are realized.

        1. Or just sieze the assets outrigh a la Lenin, Mao or Castro.

          “It can’t happen here”… that’s what I thought about internal checkpoints, until I got a thug in my way at the airport.

  42. One argument for really high marginal tax rates is that it will provide incentives for billionaires to give more money to charities of their choice and to invest more long term (get the lower capital gains rate) rather than have it confiscated by the government. I’m not sure that works. It may just create more incentive for off-shore tax dodging shell games.

  43. Meanwhile, 100 million Venezuelan dollars will barely buy a cotton ball.

    I’m sure AOC is quite happy with all the Venezuelan billionaires.

    1. Oooooh! I should buy some really high denomination bills with Chavez’s picture on them for a keepsake! It’d make a nice conversation piece.

  44. Billionaires are the new Jews?

    No wait – I guess they would still be just Jews.

    1. LOL

      Come on now! IIRC Jews are ONLY something like 20% of US billionaires… Mind you they’re only like 2-3% of the US population, but they’re barely over represented by 10 fold, what’s the big deal?

  45. Billionaires immoral?
    Do the liberals mean billionaires like Oprah, Gates, Steyer and other liberals?
    Oops.
    My bad.
    They don’t count.
    Only conservative billionaires are immoral because, uh, well, that is, ummm…gee, uh because they’re fascists, and they’re fascists because we said so even though we don’t know the difference between a fascist and a Ferrari.

  46. Speaking of billionaires, this billionaire climate thing is getting kookey, Whats up with that? Musk is bleeding shareholders, $100 million a week, while private jetting 150,000 miles around the planet with climate warnings. Climate jihadist billionaires- I guess we will need a wealth tax to pay for the worlds poor transportation, energy and food costs as they skyrocket upwards of 20-50% or more under green clean totalitarianism. (except for private jet fuel!)

  47. AOC: It’s not like people like Gates and Buffett are immoral. It’s just that … hold on ….. thanks Bill, Warren for the checks. They’ll buy a lot of campaign ads.

  48. Are Billionaires Immoral? Democrats Are Staking Out Aggressive Anti-Wealth Platforms Ahead of 2020.
    Is it moral to blame a country’s problems on a handful of wealthy individuals? Is it a wise political strategy?

    That’s quite the framing of the issue. The problem of the issue to look at first is a fair access to participate in the world market. If it is so extremely skewed to these few rich, where is the right to our fair share of the goods. This is where Bernie Sanders gets it right. The rich litterally write the rules into law to help further accelerate getting rich.

  49. If those “few” rich families also control the banks and corporations that are puppetizing our government and making us into serfs, then i say merely taxing them is not the answer.

    Break out the guillotines.

  50. It’s not a question of whether individuals who are billionaires are moral. It’s a question of whether a political economy that so concentrates most of the income and wealth is moral – and sustainable. Sooner or later, revolution happens.

    Sigh, another conservative with nothing but conventional notions and misinformation running in his wetware.

  51. here is democratic socialist agenda list:

    1) free college for all at huge public expense to the point that a college degree is so common it is meaningless
    2) free apartments and homes for the homeless at huge public expense
    3) assigned jobs for those who can’t find jobs, even if they are meaningless “make-work” type jobs where they only pretend to work
    4) free universal health care for all at considerable government expense & cutting the pay in half for all health-care workers
    5) strict gun control laws including gun confiscations including felonies & prison time for those who do not cooperate
    6) eliminate poverty through direct government subsidies for the poor
    7) open borders, but with passport controls, welcome all to the US liberal paradise, especially future democrat party voters and enemies of bible based Christianity
    8) wealth-confiscating taxes for the rich to penalize those who get rich through innovation, invention, and starting their own companies to the point that nobody starts a new company any more
    9) wealth-confiscating taxes on the middle class to the point that there is no middle class or incentive to work, pay taxes, and contribute to society

    Guess who invented this first? None other than ADOLPH HITLER AND THE NAZI PARTY in 1933…

    DO YOU LIBS, DEMS, & HUMS REALLY WANT THIS? Your kids will someday inherit the nightmare state you are building.

    1. Of course that isn’t the narrative that has been drummed into everyone, because a lot of it makes sense.

      The narrative that you must recite under penalty of incarceration if you get it wrong starts with violins and has you drying your tears before hating him.

      Imagine that, in court where you must swear to “tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth”, telling the truth is a crime.

    2. #3 out of all of those isn’t actually the worst idea ever.

      I would prefer zero welfare, and I know things would sort themselves out anyway… BUT if we’re going to dole out money to slackers, forcing them to work for it makes a lot of sense. Those who are only not working because they’re lazy would probably just go get a real job right off. And those that want to work, but can’t find anything right off could be put to work doing “nice to do projects.” Think cleaning up shitty parks and nasty streets in town, etc. We might even be able to lay off some overpaid permanent government employees that do stupid shit like landscaping at city all for people like this, and pay them a lower wage, since it IS just latch ditch welfare money afterall…

      1. Yeah,

        We can call them concentration camps.

        Feed, house and employ the outcasts of society.

        Give them a sense of contribution, along with training.

        1. Fuck off.

          There’s nothing wrong with saying “Okay buddy, you want money and shit? That’s cool, society doesn’t want you to starve. Here you can clean up this park for your welfare money.” Or cut the lawn at city hall. Or clean up graffitti or 100,000 other things. FDR made people work for most of their handouts, and if it was good enough for ol’ FDR it’s good enough for me!*

          Not really, he was an idiot… But he was LESS of an idiot than many who have followed him.

  52. The extreme concentration of wealth in some individuals allows then to do great things that governments don’t have the balls or will to do. People like Bezos and Musk are pushing humanity to space faster than governments. Gates is able to float massive charitable causes that simply wouldn’t happen otherwise, like his experimental forays into education.

    Of course have not great ones, too, like Soros, who seems to spend his money trying to manipulate political systems.

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