/The Margin: 25 bathrooms? Former Clinton labor secretary says Bezos’s mansion helps make case for soaking the rich

The Margin: 25 bathrooms? Former Clinton labor secretary says Bezos’s mansion helps make case for soaking the rich


Robert Reich, who served as labor secretary in the Clinton administration, was honored by Time magazine as one of the 10 most effective cabinet secretaries of the 20th century. He’s a Rhodes scholar, a best-selling author, a documentarian and a professor of public policy at the University of California at Berkeley.

What he’s not, apparently, is a fan of billionaires clinging tightly to their riches:

That Reich jab at the Amazon

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billionaire and world’s richest man Jeff Bezos went viral this week, picking up 126,000 likes in just a couple of days. It also blew up on Reddit, where Reich was mostly applauded for his take on the wealth tax.

There were some exceptions, however.

“How about this: Jeff Bezos should fire everyone and replace them with machines. The unemployed can then look for other employers, start a business venture of their own or eat dirt,” a Reddit user identified as Prethor wrote. “It’s easy to be an entitled a—hole, it’s not so easy to create a multibillion-dollar company. Or even a small company.”

On Twitter

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 , the responses often extolled a catch phrase of Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign:

Warren, in a effort that Reich is clearly supportive of, has been floating a plan to tax billionaires 6 cents on every dollar of net worth above $1 billion to fund her health-care overhaul.

“If Medicare for All can be financed without any new taxes on the middle class, and instead by asking giant corporations, the wealthy, and the well-connected to pay their fair share, that’s exactly what we should do,” she said.

Meanwhile, as Warren has continued to climb the polls amid a widening of the divide between the rich and poor, there’s a bull market in billionaire bashing.

In a piece written for the Outline, Tom Whyman captured some of the resentment. “Every billionaire is thus more than a simple failure of policy,” he wrote. “Every billionaire is evidence of a basic glitch in the fabric of the moral universe.”

From the MarketWatch archives (August 2018): A 10-step plan for turning a democracy into a dictatorship, from Robert Reich

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