Despite the fact that politicians like U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and presidential candidates U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) have made it a point to call out ultra-wealthy Americans, not everyone agrees with their philosophies.
Billionaire Mark Cuban implied that had they been as successful as him, they might not have as much to say about the ultra-wealthy. He remarked that AOC’s criticism of capitalism is “headline porn” and noted the fact she started a business, a now-defunct publisher called Brook Avenue Press.
“Bernie Sanders has a book business, you know, Elizabeth Warren buys and sells houses — or did,” Cuban said. “If they would have had the level of success that I and others have had, I don’t think they’d be complaining as much.”
He is likely referring to how Warren previously “bought or helped finance two dozen properties in Oklahoma,” according to the Boston Globe. Sanders, meanwhile, profited from his best-selling book “Our Revolution.”
Cuban made the remarks to Editor-in-Chief Andy Serwer in an episode of “Influencers with Andy Serwer,” a weekly interview series with leaders in business, politics, and entertainment.
‘The greatest cost to business is...’
Cuban has had a relatively successful career — according to Forbes, his net worth is $4.1 billion. The billionaire owns the Dallas Mavericks basketball team and is a startup investor, having poured money into over 120 tech startups and invested in hundreds of ventures while hosting “Shark Tank.” And, in an interview with the New York Daily News, he revealed he hasn’t ruled out a 2020 presidential run yet, either.
As a means for ensuring there is less wealth inequality, AOC proposed a 70% tax on those who earn more than $10 million, while Warren has suggested a 2% wealth tax on individuals who possess a net worth over $50 million and 3% tax on those over $1 billion. In both of those circumstances, that would entail Cuban paying significantly higher taxes.
And while he has not vocalized a specific plan at tackling this issue, self-proclaimed socialist Bernie Sanders hasn’t been shy about his opinions: In a speech at the George Washington University on June 12, he singled out President Trump, Wall Street, fossil fuels, and Amazon (AMZN).
In his speech, Sanders said, “While President Trump and his fellow oligarchs attack us for our support of democratic socialism, they don’t really oppose all forms of socialism.” He quoted Martin Luther King Jr. by charging the U.S. “has socialism for the rich, rugged individualism for the poor.”
Despite what Cuban sees as a lack of understanding from people like Sanders and Warren, “that doesn’t mean that there’s not an income inequality problem,” he said. “There is. And it’s something we have to deal with. I tell other business people that the greatest cost to business is social disruption.”
“If people are rebelling and burning things and aren’t satisfied with their lives and they’re [incentivized] to do horrific things, that’s the greatest cost of business,” Cuban said. “And that costs us more. Now the question becomes, how do we deal with it?”
Adriana is an associate editor for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @adrianambells.