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Michael Novogratz: It’s ‘insanity’ that billionaires feel like ‘victims’



Billionaires are “really, really fearful” of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, former Goldman Sachs partner and hedge fund manager Michael Novogratz told Bloomberg’s Amanda L. Gordon in an interview published October 21.

“Ninety-seven percent of the people I know in my world are really, really fearful of her,” Novogratz told Bloomberg. “They don’t like her, they’re worried about her, they think she’s anti-rich … It’s a little carried away.”

“You’re not victims, you’re the richest people in the world,” Novogratz continued in the Bloomberg interview. “How in God’s name do you feel like a victim?”

Read more: The wealth gap took center stage at last night’s debate. Here’s a side-by-side comparison of how Elizabeth Warren’s and Bernie Sanders’ wealth tax plans stack up.

Billionaires’ hard feelings toward Warren aren’t mutual, the senator said at the October 15 presidential debate. “Look, I don’t have a beef with billionaires,” Warren said, according to Bloomberg. “All I’m saying is, ‘You make it to the top, the top 0.1%, then pitch in two cents so every other kid in America has a chance to make it.'”

How Elizabeth Warren’s wealth tax would affect the 1%

Warren’s “Ultra-Millionaire Tax” calls for a 2% annual tax on households with a net worth between $50 million and $1 billion, and a 3% annual tax on households with a net worth over $1 billion.

The idea of a moderate wealth tax has support from ultra-wealthy and ordinary Americans alike: An Insider poll shows that more than half of Americans support Warren’s wealth tax proposal. In June, a group of 18 ultra-wealthy Americans signed an open letter, published in The New York Times, asking presidential candidates to support a moderate wealth tax. And in October, billionaire Marc Benioff, too, published a letter in The Times asking for a higher tax on America’s ultra-wealthy.

A wealth tax would dramatically change the look of money in America. If the United States had implemented a moderate wealth tax in 1982, Jeff Bezos’ fortune would be half what it was in 2018 and Bill Gates would be $61 billion less rich, Business Insider previously reported.

And, while Warren’s wealth tax his stirred up a mix of reactions, the wealth tax proposed by Sen. Bernie Sanders is even more aggressive. Both proposals have been hampered by questions over the effectiveness and the constitutionality of such a tax.

Novogratz, 54, built his fortune as a partner at Goldman Sachs and the co-CIO of Fortress Investment Group, but turned to full-time cryptocurrency investing in 2015, according to Forbes. The magazine estimated in 2018 that his cryptocurrency investments alone are worth between $700 million and $1 billion. Forbes listed Novogratz as a billionaire in 2007 and 2008, but he dropped out of the three-comma club after the value of Fortress shares fell 89% in 2008, at the start of the financial crisis.

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