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Why Schultz Is Running

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Well, he’s not hiding it:

Howard Schultz, the former Starbucks chief executive who is preparing for a presidential bid, knocked the health-care and tax policies of three of the Democratic Party’s most stalwart liberals — Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Kamala D. Harris — in a string of interviews Monday night and Tuesday morning.

During an interview Tuesday on NPR’s “Morning Edition,” Schultz, a billionaire, said that Warren’s plan for a special 2 percent annual tax on Americans whose net worth exceeds $50 million is “ridiculous.”

He accused Warren (D-Mass.) of crafting the idea to get a “good headline,” adding, “She knows for a fact it’s not ever going to be passed.”

Warren, who has launched an exploratory bid for president, fired back at Schultz on Twitter.

“What’s ‘ridiculous’ is billionaires who think they can buy the presidency to keep the system rigged for themselves while opportunity slips away for everyone else,” she wrote. “The top 0.1%, who’d pay my #UltraMillionaireTax, own about the same wealth as 90% of America. It’s time for change.”

The exchange came just a few hours after Schultz called Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) “a bit misinformed” and pushed back on her idea of a top marginal tax rate of 70 percent.

Schultz credited Ocasio-Cortez — who’s made a splash since her arrival on Capitol Hill this month — for having put a focus on issues of inequality. But he called her tax proposal “punitive” during a discussion at the launch of a book tour in New York on Monday night.

“Inequality is a serious problem. And we need to solve it in a way that does not involve either higher taxes on the rich or increasing the deficit.” Very, very, serious. But he has his media constituency:

That is a perfect Beltway media tweet: 1)a “straight” reporter taking it as objective fact that “fiscal responsibility” should be “front and center,” and 2)in the middle of the third time a Republican administration has exploded deficits after taking over from much more fiscally responsible Democrats, deficits are primarily caused by Democratic programs that are actually paid for, not debt-funded Republican upper-class tax cuts and military spending, which never have to be paid for. [Chef’s kiss.] Schultz’s ideas have no mass constituency, but if he runs he will get a lot of fawning coverage and probably increase negative coverage of the Democratic candidate. And it’s abundantly clear that stopping the Dem nominee will be his top objective, especially if it’s not Biden.

Meanwhile, let’s crowdsource Schultz’s slogan:

  • “More money for me, fuck you”
  • “Learn to code”
  • “FIX THE DEBT (as long as it doesn’t affect me)”

…Looks like calling people “un-American” is going to be Schultz’s calling card:

And speaking of witless red-baiting, add this to the “ace Krugman subtweets of his colleagues” file.

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