Ray Dalio doesn't think he's a "policy failure", as some leftists have alleged. But he does think Bridgewater Associates made a mistake when it accepted a $22 million tax subsidy from the state of Connecticut.
The billionaire investor continued his media barnstorming on Monday with a morning interview on CNBC, where he sparred with host Joe Kernen over the nature of the reforms that Dalio is recommending. After standing by his argument that the system of American capitalism is in dire need of reform, co-host Andrew Ross Sorkin asked Dalio how he squares some of his proposals with the fact that Bridgewater has taken tax handouts.
When asked if the tax incentive was "a mistake", Dalio clarified that he felt it was a mistake for Bridgewater to accept the incentive - not for the state to offer it.
"I think it was a mistake because everybody pays too much attention to that because people pay too much attention to those types of things, and not enough attention to what it means to pull together to do things right."
"The spirit of the people at Bridgewater is this is our home, this is our community, we don't want to move."
"The important thing here is to pull together and to do this."
Asked if he agreed with a Democratic strategist's comment that 'every billionaire is a policy failure', Dalio replied: "No, no, no - that's so screwed up."
Continuing on, Dalio said he has personally witnessed the impact of the financial - and at times nutritional - starvation happening in Connecticut's school system. Asked whether his philanthropic giving should be taxed as well, Dalio artfully evaded giving a straight answer, replying instead that philanthropy and taxation serve different roles, before launching into a tangent about Connecticut's incarceration rate.
The billionaire investor, who was raised middle class as the son of a jazz musician and homemaker, said he is advocating reforms that he feels will help all Americans enjoy the same benefits he had growing up, including well-functioning schools. Following Dalio's appearance, Connecticut's recently elected Governor Ned Lamont appeared on the program to tout the philanthropy fueled program to try and improve Connecticut's poorest school districts. Though he did say that he'd be "open" to paying higher taxes.
Dalio recently donated $100 million to Connecticut schools, the biggest gift in the state's history, after publishing a two-part treatise last week called "Why and How Capitalism Needs to Be Reformed (Part 1)".
Watch a clip from the interview below: