““These multi-billionaires are gonna look and say, ‘I don’t want to invest in the stock market, because as that goes up, I gotta get taxed. So maybe I will instead invest in a ranch or in paintings or things that don’t build jobs and create a stronger economy.’” ”
That was Sen. Mitt Romney sharing one of the reasons that he’s against President Joe Biden’s proposed taxes on billionaires to help pay for the Democrats’ social-spending bill.
The Utah senator and former presidential candidate told Fox News on Monday night that Democrats are “desperate” to pass the social infrastructure package — initially valued at $3.5 trillion, but which may get whittled down to around $1.75 trillion in order to pass.
Read more: What’s in — and not in — Democrats’ big social-spending bill, as billionaire tax gains steam
“They want to get something done for the president because he’s kind of circling the drain with the electorate in the country. And as a result, they’re willing to do almost anything,” Romney said, before arguing that a spending plan in the trillions of dollars is “not popular” with the American people.
“I hope you understand how much a trillion is,” he said. “A trillion seconds ago, Neanderthals walked the Earth. So a trillion is an enormous amount of money. And the Democrats, I think, are adding fuel to a fire, creating more inflation, and it’s hurting the American people.”
But it was his comments suggesting that Biden’s proposed billionaire tax would encourage the wealthy to pull their money out of the stock market that got Twitter abuzz on Tuesday. This led Romney’s name to trend throughout the morning and early afternoon.
On Sunday, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told CNN that the proposal “would impose a tax on unrealized capital gains on liquid assets held by extremely wealthy individuals, billionaires.” Romney argued that taxing people “not when they sell something, but just when they own it and the value goes up” will discourage the wealthy from investing in the stock market.
Watch the clip below:
“Mitt Romney thinks we shouldn’t tax billionaires because that will make them stop creating jobs. Bulls—,” tweeted comedian Steve Hofstetter in response.
But Romney isn’t alone in his skepticism, among the ultra-wealthy. On Tuesday, a couple of billionaires told CNN International Richard Quest that they would back a billionaires’ tax, in theory — just not Biden’s plan.
“Yes, I would support anything into that is going to have the effect of being spent on increasing creating equal opportunity and greater productivity,” said Bridgewater Associates Co-Chairman and Co-CIO Ray Dalio. But he added that “I’m not sure” this is what Biden’s plan does.
Read more: Ray Dalio says he would support a billionaire tax — just not this one
At the same Future Investment Initiative Institute gathering in Saudi Arabia, Blackrock CEO Larry Fink agreed that, “it depends on what you’re spending [a billionaire tax] on.”
So what exactly is a billionaire tax — and how would Biden’s work? Experts break down what you need to know here.