- Billionaire Leon Cooperman has rejected Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s invitation to testify on a wealth tax.
- In a response viewed by Insider, Cooperman said the invitation is “self-serving and disingenuous.”
- Warren said she gave him a response to make a case instead of “just complaining on TV.”
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s invitation to testify at a Senate Finance subcommittee has been rejected by one of her outspoken critics, billionaire Leon Cooperman.
On Monday, Warren invited Cooperman to testify at her hearing, called “Creating Opportunity Through a Fairer Tax System.”
“This hearing is an opportunity to share your views on how to strengthen the nation’s tax system to address economic inequality, raise revenues to fund critical pro-growth investments in families and communities, and bolster our long-term fiscal and economic outlooks,” Warren wrote in her invitation to Cooperman, which was viewed by Insider.
She gave him until Thursday, April 22 to respond; it seems as though he got back to her early, according to CNBC, which first reported on the invitation and Cooperman’s response.
Cooperman has turned down the invitation. In a response viewed by Insider, he wrote: “I find Senator Warren’s invitation self-serving and disingenuous.”
He also noted his continued support for a progressive income tax, and said that Congress should also look into eliminating some tax loopholes.
Cooperman added: “Most importantly, Congress should start examining in earnest how to fund progressive programs through revenue-neutral proposals that would cull bureaucratic waste rather than add further to administrative bloat – again, essential but boring, so not something of interest to most progressive politicians like Senator Warren.”
The two have a long history of vigorous back-and-forth on the wealth tax, a key proposal of Warren’s that she’s continually advocated for – and which Cooperman has continually derided. Their dialogue has included everything from a tweet from Warren asking Cooperman to “pitch in a bit more,” a five-page letter by Cooperman in response, and the inclusion of Cooperman’s position in one of Warren’s presidential campaign ads.
After Warren introduced her Ultra-Millionaire Tax Act, which would enact additional taxes on households with net worths $50 million and above, Cooperman went on CNBC to decry it, saying the rich would simply hide their assets.
In her invitation, Warren wrote: “The opportunity will allow you to fully air your views, not merely in front of the financial news audience where you often express them, but before the entirety of the American people.”
Warren wants a wealth tax to help tackle inequality
Warren has called for a wealth tax as one measure to help address inequality, which has grown during the pandemic. An analysis from economists Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman found that Warren’s proposed tax could raise at least $3 trillion over the next 10 years; according to one study, it would have brought in $114 billion from billionaires alone in 2020.
A wealth tax is also a popular measure among voters, with a recent poll from Hill-HarrisX finding that the majority of respondents see a wealth tax as a way to address inequality.
“Instead of just complaining on TV, I invited Leon Cooperman to come to the Senate to make his case for why billionaires like him shouldn’t pay a wealth tax,” Warren said in a tweet after Cooperman declined her invitation. “We should have a public discussion on our rigged tax system. I’ll still use the hearing to do that.”
As for Cooperman? He may have declined the invitation, but “I will, however, be sure to tune in for the show.”