Warren Says the Rich Must Pay Her 'Wealth Tax' Because They've Benefitted from Public Schools and Infrastructure

While making the case for her proposed wealth tax, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, said on Friday that “bazillionaires” made their fortune by relying on workers who were educated in public schools as well as public roads and infrastructure.


Warren said her two-percent wealth tax on every family’s “accumulated assets” above $50 million would lead to “structural change” in America.

“I’m not doing this because I’m cranky with rich people. Some bazillionaires say, ‘you know, look, I worked hard. I worked hard.’ You really do want to say, ‘unlike anybody else?’ ‘I had a great idea. I stayed up late at night. I made this happen.’ And I say, ‘good for you.’ But here’s the deal. If you built a great fortune in America, I guarantee you built it at least in part using workers all of us helped pay to educate,” Warren said during a campaign event in Iowa on Friday.

“You built it at least in part getting your goods to market on roads and bridges all of us helped pay to build. And you built it at least in part protected by police and firefighters — all of us helped pay their salaries, yeah. And all we’re saying is if you make it big, not just big, really big, really big, the top one tenth of one percent big — pitch in two cents so everybody else gets a chance to make it in this country, that’s it,” she added.

Warren’s comments about her wealth tax echo former President Barack Obama’s “you didn’t build that” speech during the 2012 presidential campaign.


“If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges–if you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen,” he said. “The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.”

During the campaign event, Warren said her wealth tax would pay for “universal childcare for every baby in this country” under five years of age as well as universal pre-K for every 3- and 4-year-old. She also estimated that the wealth tax would cover salary increases for childcare workers in America but she did not specify how much of a raise she is proposing.


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