Jamie Dimon, one of America’s richest investment bankers, pushed back against criticism of billionaires from Elizabeth Warren and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, saying the uber-wealthy don’t deserve to be ‘vilified.’
‘I understand that a person in this seat is going to be targeted in this day and age by certain politicians…but the notion that I’m not a patriot…that’s just dead wrong,’ Dimon told CBS News.
Dimon, who is CEO of JPMorgan Chase, has a net worth of $1.6billion, according to Forbes.
The Wall Street giant has found himself on the receiving end in recent weeks of comments from Democratic politicians who are vowing to support higher taxes for the wealthy if Donald Trump is defeated in next year’s elections.
JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon told CBS News on Friday that Democratic politicians like Senator Elizabeth Warren and House Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez were ‘vilifying successful people’
Warren, who is running for the Democratic nomination, has vowed to impose higher taxes on the wealthiest Americans if she is elected president
But Dimon says talk of punishing the very wealthy amounts to penalizing success.
‘You know, most people are good, not all of them,’ Dimon told CBS News.
‘You should vilify Nazis, but you shouldn’t vilify people who worked hard to accomplish things.
‘And so my comment is, American society – we’re just attacking each other all the time.’
Dimon earlier this week told CNBC that Warren ‘uses some pretty harsh words’ that ‘some would say vilifies successful people.’
In response to Dimon’s comments, House Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted: ‘Y’all, the billionaires are asking for a safe space – you know, in addition to the entire US economy and political lobbying industry.’
‘I don’t like vilifying anybody,’ Dimon said. ‘We should applaud successful people.’
In response to Dimon’s comments, Ocasio-Cortez tweeted: ‘Y’all, the billionaires are asking for a safe space – you know, in addition to the entire US economy and political lobbying industry.’
Warren, who polls show is in second place in the race for the Democratic Party’s nomination for president, has been heavily promoting her ‘wealth tax’ which would raise taxes on Americans with a net worth exceeding $50million.
The senator from Massachusetts on Friday reiterated her call for a wealth tax that would pay for a number of ambitious social programs, including Medicare for All.
Warren has pitched an ‘ultra millionaire tax’ that would slap a 2 per cent annual tax on household net worth between $50million and $1billion.
The senator has also called for a 1 per cent annual billionaire surtax (3 per cent overall) on a household whose net worth is over $1billion.
Dimon is the latest billionaire to cry foul over Warren’s statements.
Billionaire Bill Gates questioned Warren’s tax plan on Wednesday and refused to say he would back her over President Donald Trump
Warren’s plan to tax the wealthiest Americans has also prompted backlash from Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, who said that he may vote for Trump if Warren is the Democratic nominee.
‘I’ve paid over $10 billion in taxes,’ the multi-billionaire said at a New York Times DealBook conference Wednesday.
‘I’ve paid more than anyone in taxes. If I had to pay $20 billion, it’s fine,’ the Microsoft founder and philanthropist continued.
‘But when you say I should pay $100 billion, then I’m starting to do a little math over what I have left over,’ he quipped.
That amount is in the ballpark of Gates’ total estimated net worth. Then, he added, ‘Sorry – I’m just kidding,’ to chuckles from a live audience.
Gates also questioned whether Warren, who came to power after blasting big banks as a consumer advocate in the fight over bankruptcy reform, was ‘open-minded’ – a characterization the Democratic presidential candidate soon disputed.
He was asked if he would want to talk with her.
‘You know, I’m not sure how open-minded she is, or that she’d even be willing to sit down with somebody, you know, who has large amounts of money,’ said Gates, who comes in second in the Forbes wealthiest list.
The magazine puts his wealth at $97billion.
He dodged a direct question about whether he would back Warren over Trump, saying he will support a candidate with a ‘more professional approach’ than Trump.
He said he hopes the ‘more professional candidate is an electable candidate.’
He said he was all for ‘super progressive tax systems,’ as long as they had transparency.
Warren responded on Twitter: ‘I’m always happy to meet with people, even if we have different views. @BillGates, if we get the chance, I’d love to explain exactly how much you’d pay under my wealth tax. (I promise it’s not $100 billion.).
On Monday, hedge fund billionaire Leon Cooperman appeared on the verge of tears when he went on CNBC to argue against Warren’s wealth tax.
Last month, Cooperman used four-letter expletives when talking about Warren, whom he accused of ‘s***ing on the f****ng American dream.’
He told Politico: ‘What is wrong with billionaires? You can become a billionaire by developing products and services that people will pay for.
‘I believe in a progressive income tax and the rich paying more.
‘But this is the f****ng American dream she is s*****ng on.’
Cooperman is now CEO of investment firm Omega Advisors and he predicted a 25 percent market drop should Warren become president.
In response to the Politico piece, Warren fired back at Cooperman saying: ‘Leon, you were able to succeed because of the opportunities this country gave you. Now why don’t you pitch in a bit more so everyone else has a chance at the American dream, too?.’
Hedge fund billionaire Leon Cooperman got emotional during a CNBC segment earlier this week when asked about the presidential race
New York born Cooperman, 76, sent the Massachusetts Democrat a five page letter accusing her of knowing little about billionaires and his background in response to a tweet she posted about him
Warren revealed her Medicare for All healthcare plan and claimed not ‘one penny’ will be paid for by the middle class – instead billionaires will face huge new bills
Earlier this month, Cooperman slammed Warren for her ‘’vilification of the rich’ after she called on him to ‘pitch in a bit more.’
New York-born Cooperman, 76, sent the Massachusetts Democrat a five page letter accusing her of knowing little about him in response to a tweet she posted about him.
‘However much it resonates with your base, your vilification of the rich is misguided,’ Cooperman, whose fortune has been estimated at over $3billion, wrote to Warren.
He said Warren has ‘demonstrated a fundamental misunderstanding of who I am, what I stand for, and why I believe so many of your economic policy initiatives are misguided.’
In the letter Cooperman said his own background and career reflected the ‘classic American success story.’
He said he was the son of an immigrant plumber in the Bronx and attended public schools. His mother had emigrated from Poland.
He claimed he attended New York City’s then tuition-free Hunter College and graduated with a ‘negative net worth’ before going to work for the investment bank Goldman Sachs.
Cooperman said that he had made substantial charitable donations to education and other causes, including the establishment of Cooperman College Scholars, a program to help disadvantaged high school students apply to and attend college.
Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg filed paperwork this week to enter the race for the Democratic nomination
He wrote that Warren’s aspersions on wealthy citizens do not take reflect ‘the substantial contributions to society which they already, unprompted by you, make.’
He pointed out that there have been many self-made billionaires including Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Michael Dell of Dell Technologies.
He then adds: ‘For you to suggest that capitalism is a dirty word and that these people, as a group, are ingrates who didn’t earn their riches, through strenuous effort and in many cases, paradigm -shifting insights, and now don’t pull their weight societally indicates that you are either grossly uninformed or are knowingly warping the facts for narrow political gain.’
He claims the economists advising her campaign have drawn attention for their contention that the U.S. Federal tax system is regressive and fundamentally unfair to low income Americans.
The Democratic race for the nomination got more complicated earlier this week after it was learned that another billionaire, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, filed paperwork declaring his candidacy.
Bloomberg’s entry into the race is widely seen as a sign of dissatisfaction among centrist Democrats who fear that current frontrunner Joe Biden will falter and that Warren and Senator Bernie Sanders would be too liberal to defeat Trump in a general election.