Starbucks chairman emeritus and potential 2020 candidate for US president Howard Schultz has engaged in a heated spat with Sen. Elizabeth Warren over wealth.
After telling NPR's "Morning Edition" on Tuesday that Warren's plan for a 2% annual tax on households with a net worth greater than $50 million was "ridiculous" and nothing more than a "good headline," Warren hit back - tweeting "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."
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. The top 0.1%, who'd pay my #UltraMillionaireTax, own about the same wealth as 90% of America. It's time for change. https://t.co/D04G5fNvpa— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) January 29, 2019
Schultz responded - slamming Warren on MSNBC for promoting programs that are too socialist, and then releasing a short video which PJ Media's Tyler O'Neil points out is rife with "microaggressions" - those non-inclusive comments which might inadvertently offend someone.
"Senator Elizabeth Warren said some pretty sharp words about me. She referred to me as a billionaire out of touch with the American people," Schultz begins, before explaining how he started off with nothing and worked his way up.
"I grew up in Brooklyn, New York, in Canarsie, in federally subsidized housing, the projects. When I was 7 years old my father, who was a laborer, came home and had a serious accident. He was dismissed from his job, we lost our health insurance. I witnessed the fracturing of the American dream."
"What we need right now in America is for the country to come together, and for the Democrats and Republicans who have been unwilling to work together, to finally realize that the American people deserve much more than political slogans and tweets," Schultz added. "What we need is a government that can work for us, leadership that we can trust."
Schultz ends by promising: "And if I run for president, what I am going to try to do is restore the faith and the promise of the country and the American dream."
People need real opportunities to help themselves, not unrealistic policies and promises. Genuine opportunities, like the ones I had, which helped me leave the housing projects of Brooklyn and realize my dreams. #ReimagineUS pic.twitter.com/oUBxTN57iW— Howard Schultz (@HowardSchultz) January 30, 2019
Did you spot the microaggressions?
Sorry Howard, you're not allowed to mention the American dream anymore. According to a former UC Berkeley economics major and former candidate for California State Assembly, it's now considered offensive.
Further, says Chiara, constitutional issues are involved. “Professors essentially have been given a script, with words and phrases that are forbidden,” she says. “They’re not supposed to mention the ‘American Dream,’ or say ‘the most qualified person gets the job,’ because that supposedly ignores latent biases inherent in the American political process and in hiring procedures. -Cal Alumni Association
Whatever you do, don't point out that Elizabeth Warren's estimated $8 million net worth, three-story Victorian home in Cambridge, MA and $174,000 salary puts her in the 1% bracket in terms of wealth - a dream for most Americans.
Schultz has come under heavy fire from the left, as his potential run in 2020 is seen as move which could ensure a 2nd term for Donald Trump.
Critics from David Axelrod to The View's Joy Behar to political figures such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) have piled in, ripping Schultz for a sense of entitlement in announcing his intentions.
“Really? The coffee guy wants to be president?” HBO host Bill Maher tweeted. “Just because you had one profitable insight — people will overpay for coffee— doesn’t mean you can run the world. Government is a different animal, can we please get a pro in there?” -The Hill
Earlier this week, Schultz was heckled at a New York Barnes & Noble by a man who shouted: "Don't help elect Trump, you egotistical, billionaire asshole."
Here's the video. A heckler shouts at Howard Schultz during an event in New York: "Don't help elect Trump, you egotistical, billionaire asshole." Via CNN pic.twitter.com/oabwfNnsmp— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) January 29, 2019
Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress, called for a Starbucks boycott if Schultz enters the race, tweeting: "Vanity projects that help destroy democracy are disgusting. If he enters the race, I will start a Starbucks boycott because I’m not giving a penny that will end up in the election coffers of a guy who will help Trump win."
$3 gift cards?
Perhaps the most hilarious attack on Schultz is his alleged gifting of low-value Starbucks gift cards - some with as little as $3 on them according to reports.
To celebrate a million dollar deal, Howard Schultz gave me some loose tea bags and a five dollar gift card.— Guy Endore-Kaiser (@GuyEndoreKaiser) January 28, 2019
I will not be voting for Howard Schultz for President, and I invite all of you to join me.
I love telling this story:— Chirping from the bench (@taterpie) January 28, 2019
When Howard Shultz bought the Sonics, my friend worked there in sales. For Christmas, Shultz gave everyone a Starbucks gift card, for $3.
Back then you couldn't buy a Sbx card for less than $5. He had those $3 cards custom made.
Others made light of the gift card anecdotes...
Here’s my story about Howard Shultz. I once donated half my liver to him. After the surgery I received a care package from him. I was excited because he was a billionaire. I opened it and it was some loose peanuts and a $1 gift card from $SBUX. I WILL NOT BE VOTING FOR HIM!!— The_Real_Fly (@The_Real_Fly) January 29, 2019
I guess one of Schultz’s employees won’t be getting the traditional $3 Starbucks gift card bonus this Christmas. https://t.co/CNRaC5tmF1— Keith Calder (@keithcalder) January 30, 2019
These “I used the custom Starbucks gift card Howard Schultz gave me and still had to come out of pocket to cover the cost of a venti Caramel Macchiato” stories are easily the best part of his presidential campaign.— Copy McPasty, Writer (@KashannKilson) January 29, 2019