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Elizabeth Warren says big business should not worry about her presidency

Bloomberg Washington | Updated on November 14, 2019 Published on November 14, 2019

Democratic presidential candidate Senator Elizabeth Warren. File photo   -  REUTERS

Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren sought to reassure business leaders and investors they have nothing to worry about if she is elected president -- as long as they obey the law.

I believe in markets. Markets with rules that are consistently enforced, she said in an interview in Concord, New Hampshire. If someone has built a business on cheating people, then they should be very worried about a Warren administration, but if that’s not the case, then there’s no reason for them to worry.

Warrens progressive proposals for reducing inequality, including a wealth tax, breaking up big technology and agriculture companies, as well as her $21 trillion plan to replace private health insurance with a government-run system, have raised concerns on Wall Street that her policies would be ruinous and push the U.S. too far to the left.

As she has gained in the polls, she’s come in for criticism from Wall Street executives and billionaires, including JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon, hedge fund billionaire Leon Cooperman and Microsoft Corp. founder Bill Gates.

She attacked Cooperman in a new campaign commercial, and on Wednesday he fired back in a profanity-laced tirade on CNBC

The Massachusetts senator, who has pledged not to take big-donor money to fuel her campaign, said the criticism from Wall Street reminded her of the opposition she faced when she proposed establishing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau after the financial crisis.

A lot of financial institutions were saying in effect, if there’s a cop on the beat, that’s going to destroy my business, Warren said. My answer was: Really? What are you doing that a cop is going to catch you out and make you shut down? Do you not have a business model that works and the cop could glance over your shoulder once in a while and say yeah, thats fine.

Warren is gaining on front-runner Joe Biden in polls with a campaign message that corporate and government wrongdoing have broken American democracy. She’s presented plans to tackle corruption, including increasing oversight of lobbying and imposing restrictions and large fines on some of the largest U.S. corporations.

If you’re running a straight-up honest business, you want a cop on the beat, because you don’t want to have to compete against the cheaters, Warren said. That’s what a Warren administration will be all about.

She has vowed to make the richest Americans bear the cost of her plans through higher taxes, including levies on wealth and financial transactions. In a research note this month, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said her plan to return the corporate tax rate to 26 per cent from 18 per cent would drive down earnings for S&P 500 companies.

On the campaign trail, Warren tells potential voters that while she doesn’t have a beef with billionaires, she wants to ensure that they pay their fare share.

Published on November 14, 2019
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