Elizabeth Warren on Bloomberg 2020: 'I guess he figured it was cheaper than paying a two-cent wealth tax'

During a campaign rally in Brooklyn with former presidential candidate Julian Castro, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) took the time to talk about her proposed Ultra-Millionaire Tax that she says would help give back to America’s middle class. 

“It is time for a wealth tax in America,” Warren said to a packed room of supporters. 

She acknowledged the backlash that her wealth tax has received, particularly from billionaires who would be forced to pay it. One billionaire, in particular, is former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who recently announced his candidacy after months of speculation and voicing his displeasure at the notion of the Ultra-Millionaire Tax, stating it’s “probably unconstitutional.”

“You may have heard: there are some billionaires that have taken exception to this — go on TV and cry,” Warren said, mocking tears. “Other billionaires have been moved to run for president. I guess he figured it was cheaper than paying a $0.02 wealth tax.” 

‘All we’re saying is if you make it big...’

The crying that Warren is likely referring to was billionaire Leon Cooperman’s emotional interview on CNBC, where he teared up as he talked about feeling targeted by Warren’s wealth tax, back in November 2019. Soon after the interview, the Warren campaign unveiled “billionaire tears” mugs

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Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., attends a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing in Dirksen Building titled 'Foreign Cyber Threats to the United States,' featuring testimony by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and others, January 5, 2016.

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Senate Armed Services Committee members (L-R) Sen. Martin Heinrich (D - NM), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI) talk during a hearing in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill January 5, 2017 in Washington, DC. The intelligence chiefs testified to the committee about cyber threats to the United States and fielded questions about effects of Russian government hacking on the 2016 presidential election.

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Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-AZ) (L) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) arrive for a hearing with the Director of National Intelligence and National Security Agency chief in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill January 5, 2017 in Washington, DC. The intelligence chiefs testified to the committee about cyber threats to the United States and fielded questions about effects of Russian government hacking on the 2016 presidential election.

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Democratic Nominee for President of the United States former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, accompanied by Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), speaks to and meets New England voters during a rally at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire on Monday October 24, 2016.

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Mark Wahlberg, Former Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis, Boston Police Commissioner Billy Evans, Former Boston Red Sox player David Ortiz, Dun 'Danny' Meng, Jessica Downes, Patrick Downes, Senator Elizabeth Warren, director Peter Berg and Harvard Law professor Bruce Mann pose on the red carpet at the 'Patriots Day' screening at the Boch Center Wang Theatre on December 14, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts.

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Democratic Nominee for President of the United States former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, accompanied by Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), speaks to and meets New England voters during a rally at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire on Monday October 24, 2016.

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Former Red Sox player David Ortiz talks with Senator Elizabeth Warren at the 'Patriots Day' screening at the Boch Center Wang Theatre on December 14, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts.

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Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Senator Elizabeth Warren hold a rally at St. Anselm College in Manchester, NH on Oct. 24, 2016.

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U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren speaks at a Manchester 'New Hampshire Together' Canvass Launch event in Manchester, NH on Sept. 24, 2016.

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Senior United States Senator from Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren speaks onstage at EMILY's List Breaking Through 2016 at the Democratic National Convention at Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts on July 27, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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US Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts, holds up copies of Wells Fargo earnings call transcripts as she questions John Stumpf, chairman and CEO of Wells Fargo, as he testifies about the unauthorized opening of accounts by Wells Fargo during a Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, September 20, 2016.

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Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) along with members of the Democratic Women of the Senate acknowledge the crowd on the fourth day of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center, July 28, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton received the number of votes needed to secure the party's nomination. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Philadelphia, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Democratic National Convention kicked off July 25.

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Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) delivers remarks on the first day of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center, July 25, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Philadelphia, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Democratic National Convention kicked off July 25.

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Representative Joseph P. Kennedy III welcomes Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren on stage on Day 1 of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, July 25, 2016.

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Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton accompanied by Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) speaks to and meets Ohio voters during a rally at the Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal in Cincinnati, Ohio on Monday, June 27, 2016.

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The Late Show with Stephen Colbert airing live, Thursday July 21, 2016 in New York. With guest Elizabeth Warren .

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Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) arrives in the Capitol for the on Tuesday, June 28, 2016.

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U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) (R) meets with Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland (L), chief judge of the D.C. Circuit Court, April 14, 2016 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Garland continued to place visits to Senate members after he was nominated by President Barack Obama to succeed the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

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Senator Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat from Massachusetts, listens as Janet Yellen, chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve, testifies during a Senate Banking Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, June 21, 2016. Yellen offered a subtle change to her outlook from less than a week ago, saying she and her colleagues were on watch for whether, rather than when, the U.S. economy would show clear signs of improvement.

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Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., greets guests during a rally on the east lawn of the Capitol to urge Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to hold a vote on the 'Seniors and Veterans Emergency Benefits Act,' March 9, 2016. The legislation would provide a one time payment to seniors, veterans and other SSI recipients who will not get a cost-of-living adjustment this year.

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Senators Bob Corker (L) and Elizabeth Warren (R) speak before a Senate Banking Committee on the semiannual monetary report to Congress hearing in Washington, USA on February 11, 2016.

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Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), talks with Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) in the House chamber prior to President Obama's State of the Union speech on Capitol Hill in Washington, February 12, 2013.

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Under Warren’s wealth tax, Bloomberg would pay $3.163 billion, while Cooperman would pay $151 million, according to her website’s Calculator for the Billionaires

“Here’s the argument from these guys: ‘We got out there and we worked hard. We earned this money. This is what a market economy is all about,’” Warren said. “And here’s my answer to that: You worked hard. You had a great idea. You hit the big moment, and you made it big. Good for you! I’m glad to hear it.”

She continued: “But understand this: You built a great fortune here in America, I guarantee you built at least in part using workers all of us helped pay to educate,” Warren said. “All we’re saying is if you make it big, I mean really big, I mean top 1/10th of 1% big, pitch in $0.02 so everybody else gets a chance at this.” 

Warren’s proposed ultra-millionaire tax would place an annual 2% tax on every dollar a household has above $50 million, which would increase to 6% for households with more than $1 billion. Warren has stated that the revenue generated from this tax would go towards other programs of hers, including Medicare for All, universal childcare, and expanded Social Security.

Although a majority of Americans are in favor of some kind of wealth tax, Warren’s proposal has still been met with criticism from several wealthy individuals — including Microsoft (MSFT) founder Bill Gates, JPMorgan Chase (JPM) CEO Jamie Dimon, and ex-Goldman Sachs (GS) CEO Lloyd Blankfein

Adriana is an associate editor for Yahoo Finance. She can be reached at adriana@yahoofinance.com. Follow her on Twitter @adrianambells.

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