A Coffee Bean Baron Rushes to Our Rescue

Sam Pizzigati

Sam Pizzigati Editor, Too Much online magazine

Billionaire Howard Schultz, the former CEO of the Starbucks coffee empire, has just announced he’s stepping down as the company’s chairman. Political insiders think that move means that Schultz just may be planning to make a bid for the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nomination. The day after the announcement, in a CNBC interview, Schultz not so subtly hinted that he’d be running to oppose progressive proposals on single-payer health care, job guarantees, and the like. Pronounced the coffee king: “It concerns me that so many voices within the Democratic Party are going so far to the left. I say to myself, how are we going to pay for these things?” Maybe we could start by raising taxes on billionaires like Howard Schultz.

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Sam Pizzigati edits Too Much, the online weekly on excess and inequality. He is an associate fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C. Last year, he played an active role on the team that generated The Nation magazine special issue on extreme inequality. That issue recently won the 2009 Hillman Prize for magazine journalism. Pizzigati’s latest book, Greed and Good: Understanding and Overcoming the Inequality that Limits Our Lives (Apex Press, 2004), won an “outstanding title” of the year ranking from the American Library Association’s Choice book review journal.

Posted In: Union Matters

Union Matters

A Billionaire with a Truly Bottom-Line Moral Code

Sam Pizzigati

Sam Pizzigati Editor, Too Much online magazine

Some advice for billionaire investment fund manager Tom Barrack: Don’t give any more lectures on morality. Last Tuesday, this long-time Donald Trump pal — and chairman of his inauguration — did a bit too much moralizing. Speaking in Abu Dhabi, Barrack called the hand-wringing over Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman’s role in the savage murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi “a mistake.” After all, he noted, “we have a young man and a regime that’s trying to push themselves into 2030.” We ought not, Barrack added, try “to dictate” the Saudi “moral code.” The pushback would be quick and massive. On Wednesday, Barrack apologized, but didn’t, news reports noted, “retract praise for the crown prince.” One possible reason: Barrack’s investment fund has tanked of late, its share price down by over half. Barrack has raised over $1.5 billion in bailout aid from Saudi Arabia and the UAE. He may be hoping for still more.

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Let's Talk About Wealth

Let's Talk About Wealth