CNBC Anchor Decries Billionaires as 'Tone Deaf' Jim Cramer interviews NASCAR drivers during the taping of CNBC's "Mad Money" on May 23, 2008. (Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images)
By Nick Koutsobinas | Wednesday, 23 June 2021 06:13 PM
CNBC's Jim Cramer on Wednesday called on members of the billionaire class in the United States to be more vocal in their support of reforms to the nation's tax code in order to stave off more liberal legislative policies from Washington politicians.
"This administration doesn't like you, so come up with something proactively that makes it so you are not being taxed in the way [Sen.] Elizabeth Warren wants you to," Cramer stated on CNBC, referring to the Massachusetts Democrat who, alongside Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, has proposed a wealth tax on billionaires.
"But … I think they're very tone deaf," Cramer added. "I think that billionaires just kind of feel like, 'Well, listen, we're oligarchs, and we get to do what we want.'"
But Cramer believes that attitude is misguided, notably under President Joe Biden, who has called for higher taxes on wealthy Americans but has not backed proposals on an annual tax on total wealth.
"I think we're in an era where they don't seem to realize that the pitchforks are coming. This administration is certainly not pro-capitalist, it's pro-labor — much more, I think, than the Obama administration," Cramer stated. "A lot of the billionaires should be a little more on guard about what's going to happen in Washington."
"Elizabeth Warren is going to win this if the billionaires try to fight it too much," Cramer added.
Cramer's rant comes on the heels of Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett's announcement Wednesday that he's donating $4.1 billion worth of his Berkshire Hathaway shares to five foundations.
In a letter accompanying the move, Buffett acknowledged that philanthropy had become a "hot topic" and said he deems it to be "fitting" that charitable donations be looked at by Congress, "particularly in respect to donors who get 'imaginative.'"
Though Cramer did not detail any specific tax reforms billionaires should embrace, he did mention that lawmakers should "have to examine" strategies where ultra-wealthy people pledge their stock holdings as collateral to take out a personal loan "to be able to create income even though they're not selling the stock."
"Maybe you think it's too blunt," Cramer added, "but I've had it. We can't let this go on anymore in a democracy."