Billionaire Mark Cuban, a self-described lifelong “hardcore capitalist” believes very strongly that people truly don’t understand what socialism is.
“When they talk about socialism -- whether it's Bernie Sanders -- whether it's [Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez] -- I think they recognize that it's a trigger word and they use it just to get people all riled up as opposed to really being socialist,” he told FOX Business’ Liz Claman during an interview at the SALT conference.
“Bernie Sanders just released a book and was all excited about making a million dollars more power to him,” he added.
Cuban said the hot topic of capitalism vs. socialism has become a major talking point because there is “no question” that the U.S. has the largest wealth gap of most developed nations.
“The country, the constitution. I don't think anybody truly believes switching to socialism is going to bridge that gap,” he said. “But I do think it's a conversation that we need to have because income inequality leads to social disruption and the biggest risk to this… country and the biggest risk to all businesses… is violence and you know that's what we want to solve. The question is how do we do it?”
Cuban said as a “capitalist who always leans libertarian historically,” although he has been against big government programs, he does support programs that leverage data to understand the government as a service.
“We have to customize things. We have to learn what programs work and data tells us these things,” he said. “So you have little data, a little compassion, a little compassionate capitalism because that's where the money is going to come from. And I think we can find solutions.”
In his opinion, certain parts of the current administration, including the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, is already doing “a lot,” and the Blue Button program, which collects health data to promote better self-care, is the “first step.”
Cuban is putting the onus on capitalists, like himself, to “bring the bottom up” in order to conquer socialism.
“As someone who's wealthy, as someone who is looking to benefit the company, every capitalist has got to do the same thing,” he said. “We've got to say, look if we if at the top make a little bit less and we help those at the bottom more, capitalism gets stronger. And it's not socialism it's stronger and smarter and more, better capitalism.”
Cuban also hinted at a future presidential run.
"Mark Cuban president 20 whatever?," asked Claman
“Stay tuned," Cuban replied.
Watch the entire interview with Mark Cuban Monday on FOX Business at 3 PM ET.