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Howard Schultz responds to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s policies

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Howard Schultz — current Starbucks chairman emeritus, former Starbucks CEO and chairman, and potential 2020 presidential candidate — appeared at a CNN town hall on Tuesday night.

Schultz, who has not yet decided if he will run, is trying to appeal toward centrist voters and has repeatedly slammed the “far left” and “far right.”

He specifically rebuked Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s two signature policy plans: the Green New Deal and the 70% marginal tax rate on those who make more than $10 million.

The Green New Deal

Schultz said he is “gravely concerned” about climate change saying it would be a “top priority” if he were elected president.

He doesn’t support the Green New Deal, however, saying that it’s not feasible and too costly.

“Let’s be sensible about what we are suggesting,” he said. “Let’s not just throw things against the wall because it’s a good slogan or a good press release.”

He suggested that the infrastructure changes to make buildings more energy efficient were not realistic, and he also called the plan too expensive.

Read more: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez outlines legislation for a Green New Deal to turn the US carbon-neutral in 10 years

“I think it is immoral to suggest that we can tally up 20, 30, 40, 50 trillion in debt to solve a problem that can be solved In a different way,” Schultz continued.

The Green New Deal as introduced this week is a nonbinding resolution presented by Ocasio-Cortez in the House and Sen. Ed Markey, a Democrat from Massachusetts in the Senate. It is an ambitious plan that over 10 years would, among other things:

  • Swap the country’s energy sources to “clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources”
  • Update infrastructure to make it both more energy efficient and more able to withstand the effects of climate change
  • Reduce pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from transportation, farming, and manufacturing
  • Protect vulnerable ecosystems

It has been endorsed by presidential candidates, including Sens. Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Kirsten Gillibrand, Cory Booker, and Elizabeth Warren.

Ocasio-Cortez said that a fully-fleshed out version of legislation will be released.

In terms of payment, a FAQ for the proposal said it will be paid for the same way that other projects like wars, and the original New Deal were paid for.

“The Federal Reserve can extend credit to power these projects and investments and new public banks can be created to extend credit,” according to the FAQ. “There is also space for the government to take an equity stake in projects to get a return on investment.”

A rough calculation from Bloomberg says the Green New Deal would cost more than $6 trillion dollars.

In terms of his own plan, Schultz did not lay out anything specific, but he did praise Texas for not only being a fossil fuel-producing state but being the top producer of wind energy.

“It’s not an either/or situation,” he said. “We can do both.”

The 70% marginal tax rate on those earning more than $10 million

Schultz called a 70% marginal tax rate “punitive,” during the town hall on Tuesday night when asked about his tax plan, should he be elected president. He did acknowledge that he “should be paying more taxes.”

“And people who make this kind of revenue, and are of means, should pay more taxes,” he continued.

When asked if he had a number in mind that those making more than $10 million should be taxed, he said “I don’t know what the number is.”

Schultz then criticized President Donald Trump’s tax plan, which lowered corporate tax rates from 35% to 21%, saying it “never should have happened.”

“Corporations should not have been given that sweet deal without any incentive to do anything for their employees of their communities they serve — education, training, whatever,” he said.

Ocasio-Cortez floated the idea of a 70% marginal tax rate for those making more than $10 million in January of this year.

Schultz offered few policy details

While he laid out where he stood on issues — from climate change to taxing the wealthy — Schultz was short on policy specifics, even as CNN moderator Poppy Harlow pressed him on this several times.

Ocasio-Cortez also took note in a response on Twitter.

“Reminder that their plan = no plan,” she said. “Why? Because for billionaires, things are already going fine.”

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