Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, who is considering a 2020 bid as an independent candidate, has taken the offensive against a number of progressive economic policies being considered among Democrats – from large tax hikes to health care reform proposals.
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While out promoting his new book, Schultz has been asked numerous questions about his political views. He has said he would run as a “centrist independent” and claims the Democratic Party has veered too far to the left.
“I would have to be disingenuous to try and run as a Democrat,” Schulz said during an interview with CBS on Tuesday morning. “There are millions of people in the country who no longer affiliate themselves with a Democrat or a Republican.”
As the businessman maps out a potential 2020 bid, here’s what he has said about proposals from some of the prominent progressives in the Democratic Party.
Sen. Kamala Harris: Medicare-for-all
Declared 2020 candidate California Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris proposed a “Medicare-for-all” single-payer insurance plan during a CNN town hall on Monday, even going so far as to say she would be willing to entirely eliminate the option for citizens to get coverage through the private insurance market.
Schultz told CBS on Tuesday morning that such a plan is “not correct” and “not American,” asking what industry “are we going to abolish next?”
He also disagreed with the Republican view that the government should get rid of the Affordable Care Act.
During an interview with “60 Minutes” over the weekend, Schultz delivered similar sentiments about the health care proposal, questioning how the government would be able to pay for it.
“What Democrats are proposing is something that is as false as the wall,” he said. “And that is free health care for all, which the country cannot afford.”
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: Tax hike
Freshman New York Democrat Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has proposed raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans to a potential rate of 70 percent in order to pay for climate change policies.
Schultz, who has advocated in the past for policies to address climate change, cited Ocasio-Cortez’s tax proposal as a reason he no longer felt like he belonged to the Democratic Party.
“I no longer feel affiliated because I don't know their views represent the majority of Americans. I don't think we want a 70 percent income tax in America," Schultz told CNBC.
Ocasio-Cortez, the self-described Democratic socialist, suggested imposing the 70 percent rate on those with incomes in excess of $10 million during an interview on “60 Minutes” to pay for a so-called “Green New Deal” — which would be a massive investment in clean energy infrastructure, aiming to eliminate carbon emissions in a little more than a decade.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren: Wealth tax
Massachusetts Democrat Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who has formed an exploratory committee ahead of a potential 2020 bid, recently announced an “ultra-millionaire tax” on the assets of the wealthiest Americans.
The wealth tax would apply to those with more than $50 million in assets. The tax would be equal to 2 percent, but would rise to 3 percent for those who have assets valued at more than $1 billion.
During an interview with NPR, Schultz called the tax proposal “ridiculous.”
In response to the criticism, Warren said on Tuesday that what is ridiculous is billionaires who “think they can buy the presidency.”