Sen. Elizabeth Warren returns to Cedar Rapids for a town hall on Saturday

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Cedar Rapids Town Hall with Elizabeth Warren

Taft Middle School, 5200 E Ave NW — Saturday, Nov. 16 at 6:30 p.m.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren entering a campaign rally at the IMU River Amphitheater, Sept. 19, 2019. — Zak Neumann/Little Village

Sen. Elizabeth Warren brings her 2020 presidential campaign to Cedar Rapids on Saturday for a town hall at Taft Middle School. The Massachusetts Democrat’s return to eastern Iowa comes after a couple of weeks during which billionaires have been publicly complaining about her policy proposals. The senator’s plan for a wealth tax of 2 percent on personal fortunes worth more than $50 million has been a particular focus of billionaire ire.

According to Warren, a wealth tax of 2 cents on every dollar of a person’s wealth over $50 million would produce enough revenue to provide universal child care for children from birth to age 5, create universal pre-K for 3- and 4-year-olds (with professional-level wages for childcare and pre-K workers), and support free tuition at public colleges and universities for every undergraduate, as well as the canceling of student loan debts for approximately 95 percent of people currently trying to pay off those loans.

“I believe in a progressive income tax and the rich paying more,” Leon Cooperman, a billionaire and CEO of the investment firm Omega Advisors, said about Warren’s tax plans. “But this is the fucking American dream she is shitting on.”

Cooperman’s remarks were reported in a Politico story titled, “Corporate America freaks out over Elizabeth Warren.”

Warren’s wealth tax has been part of her platform since she launched her campaign in January, but it’s only since she become a front-runner in the polls that potential payers of the wealth tax have become vocal.

Politico also quoted a statement billionaire Michael Novogratz gave to Bloomberg, “Ninety-seven percent of the people I know in my world are really, really fearful of her. It’s a little carried away.”

Patricia Hogan of the New York Times estimated how Warren’s wealth tax would have impacted 10 well-known billionaires — from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to Jim Walton, a member of the family that owns Walmart — if the tax had been in place since 1982. All 10 would remain billionaires, although their fortunes would be smaller.

“Warren Buffett, a billionaire since 1990, would have amassed $10.4 billion rather than $88.3 billion. Mark Zuckerberg, who became a billionaire at 23 in 2008, would have $32.5 billion instead of $61 billion,” Hogan explained.

At least one billionaire is doing more than just complaining.

Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York City whose personal wealth is estimated to be $53 billion, is taking steps to launch a campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination. Although Bloomberg has made no announcement yet, he has filed the paperwork needed to appear on the ballot in the Democratic primaries in Alabama and Arkansas (the two states with the earliest filing deadlines).

Bloomberg is reportedly interested in running to prevent either Warren or Sen. Bernie Sanders from winning the Democratic nomination, because he considers their positions too extreme.

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Warren’s town hall at Taft Middle School is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. It is free and open to the public, but space is limited, so anyone interested in attending should RSVP online.

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