The more momentum Elizabeth Warren gets in the Democratic primaries, the more aggressive is CNBC in their campaign to spread misinformation among the electorate.
Frankly, the network’s coverage of Warren now borders on the bizarre, even when you account for their target audience, which they like to imagine is rich people, although you could pretty easily make the case that their daily programming is consumed primarily by hapless day traders hoping to get a leg up via a hot options tip from one of the Najarians or some ostensibly incisive fundamental analysis from Stephanie Link.
Their obsession with Warren manifested itself on Monday in an interview with Leon Cooperman, a frequent Warren critic, who last month accused the Senator of “sh—ing on the f—ing American dream”. That, despite the fact that Warren has spent her entire career trying to figure out why it is that middle-class Americans have seen that same American dream slipping further and further away.
Of course, the “interview” wasn’t really an “interview”. Rather, Scott Wapner just asked Leon the questions that Leon wanted to be asked.
“You’re not the only one who makes that point, in fact I was going through Twitter this morning before, you know, in preparation for our interview and Mark Cuban said the other day a very similar thing… [he] wonders about the impact of the stock and other liquidity markets”, a completely serious Wapner began.
(Wapner’s quote starts at 0:31)
Now, for one thing, that is not “a very similar thing” to what Cooperman was saying, which Leon was quick to point out. But beyond that, it isn’t true, something we drove home last week in “What Liz Warren’s Tax Policies Would Really Mean For Stocks And The Economy“.
“The reduced asset demand [from Warren’s ‘Ultra-Millionaire Tax’] on the margin, would negatively affect equities but the magnitude is likely to be limited”, Barclays wrote, in an expansive take last week. “Only a portion of the $2.75tn is invested in equities and the demand reduction per year is not significant relative to equity market capitalization (~ $30tn U.S equities and ~$60tn global equities)”, the bank went on to say.
Somehow, that didn’t make it into Wapner’s “preparation” process. See, he was too busy getting to the truth about the ultra-millionaire tax by parsing the Twitter feeds of billionaires.
Cooperman also claimed that Warren is “screwing around with the wrong guy”, which sounds like some kind of silly threat until you listen to the context, which funds Leon explaining that if you’ll just let him alone, he’s more than happy to give all of his money away:
“I want to give it all away, but I wanna control the decision”, he explains. “The idea of vilifying wealthy people is so bogus. You know, they’re appealing to the… you know… to the masses”.
Correct! Warren is appealing to “the masses” or, put differently, to regular people, who aren’t billionaires and who might not have health insurance or who, because of a broken system, can’t enjoy the American dream that Leon swears Warren is “sh—ing on”.
He went on: “Every billionaire I know made their money by providing a productive useful service or product and that’s why they made their money”.
That is entirely dependent upon one’s definition of “useful service or product”. While we can all agree that Amazon is useful, I’d be willing to bet that Leon Cooperman knows at least a half-dozen billionaires whose money was made in pursuits that in no way, shape or form would be described as “useful” by the average American.
Of course, he doesn’t mention any of those people. Rather, he mentions Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, because, you know, those are the easy ones and he’s on TV! (To be fair, Leon mounted a much more trenchant defense of his point in a letter to Warren, which you can read below).
The “best” part from the whole interview came during the exchange shown in the first clip above.
“What she’s suggesting is morally wrong, I paid taxes on my income while I was earning it”, Leon said. “What I have left is taxed income and she wants to take another bite at the apple – it’s wrong”.
Hopefully, everyone can see the problem with this.
It doesn’t matter who is “right” or who is “wrong” here. This is not a fight that Leon can win.
What he doesn’t seem to grasp (and CNBC is so swept up in their own anti-Warren hysteria that they’re apparently blind to it too) is that it is not a good look to have billionaire curmudgeons show up on business television and whine about how “morally wrong” it is to tax 2% of their vast wealth in order to pay for healthcare, child care and college for people who can’t afford it.
This is the same mistake CNBC made earlier this year when Wilbur Ross’s ghostly visage materialized on screen to express his incredulity that federal workers affected by the government shutdown couldn’t just walk into a bank and get loans to make ends meet.
The point: This all comes across as hopelessly out of touch, irrespective of whether Cooperman is sincere about Warren, and even if, back in January, Ross really was confused at the prospect that anyone would be living paycheck to paycheck.
But none of these people seem to understand this, and Warren is more than happy to exploit their apparent aloofness. Cooperman wrote her a long letter late last month (embedded in full below), and instead of address it, she simply retweeted CNBC’s coverage of it, and reiterated that he needed to “pitch in more”.
Leon is wrong. I'm fighting for big changes like universal child care, investing in public schools, and free public college.
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) October 31, 2019
See that tweet from the network’s Brian Schwartz announcing the letter? That tweet got 47 retweets and 121 likes.
Warren’s “Leon is wrong tweet” citing Schwartz’s tweet garnered 1,000 retweets and 5,301 likes.
In case it isn’t clear enough, allow me to break it down: If CNBC and guys like Cooperman are serious about preventing a Warren presidency, the best thing they can do is keep their mouths shut.CoopermanLetter