Liberal Billionaires Blast Democrats on Medicare, Taxes — But Bloomberg Embraces ‘Green New Deal’

Howard Kurtz and Michael Bloomberg (Kathy Willens / Associated Press and Joe Raedle / Getty)
Kathy Willens / Associated Press and Joe Raedle / Getty

Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg are infuriating the so-called “Resistance” base of the Democratic party by trashing left-wing policies on taxes and health care.

However, Bloomberg embraced the left’s “Green New Deal” on Tuesday — albeit a more “achievable” version.

On Tuesday morning, Schultz slammed the “Medicare for All” proposal embraced by many Democrats, including presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), who told a CNN town hall Monday evening that she wanted to “eliminate” private insurance.

That’s not American,” Schultz told CBS This Morning, referring to Harris’s proposal. “What’s next? What industry are we going to abolish next? The coffee industry?”

Bloomberg likewise dismissed the idea of “Medicare for All” in speaking to reporters in New York on Tuesday.

“I think you could never afford that,” Bloomberg said, as quoted by The Hill. “You’re talking about trillions of dollars.”

“You can have ‘Medicare-for-all’ for people who are uncovered … But…to replace the entire private system where companies provide healthcare for their employees would bankrupt us for a very long time,” he added.

In addition, both slammed “progressive” Democrats’ plans for punitive income and wealth taxes on the rich.

Schultz told National Public Radio on Tuesday that a proposal by Democratic presidential contender Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) to levy a 2% annual wealth tax on people with a net worth in excess of $50 million was “ridiculous.”

He also called a proposal by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) to raise marginal income taxes on the wealthiest Americans to 70% “punitive” and “misinformed,” saying there were better ways to help the poor.

“Free Medicare for all, government-paid, free college for all — first of all, there’s no free. I mean nothing is free,” he also said.

Similarly, Bloomberg compared Warren’s tax proposals on Tuesday to the failed economic policies of Venezuela.

Both billionaires have been infuriating the Democratic base — especially Schultz, whose suggestion of running as an independent raised the prospect of a third-party spoiler helping President Donald Trump win re-election.

But they have also embraced some of the left’s more popular themes — perhaps co-opting them.

Bloomberg, for example, announced on Tuesday that he would be proposing a “Green New Deal” — a phrase popularized recently by Ocasio-Cortez, though it is a decade old.

Ocasio-Cortez wants the U.S. to move to 100% renewable energy in a decade, warning recently that “the world is going to end in 12 years” without such a policy.

Bloomberg — who spent tens of millions of dollars to help Democrats in the 2018 election cycle, focusing on the issues of gun control and climate change — embraced the “Green New Deal” label, but said Democrats needed a more pragmatic version of the policy.

“I’m a little bit tired of listening to things that are pie in the sky, that we never are going to pass or never are going to afford,” he said Tuesday, as quoted by the Washington Examiner.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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