- “Everyone in America wants to be rich. Everybody in America wants to succeed,” Zell says, but adds Americans want to earn success.
- “Redistributive policy leads to inequality. It’s just the opposite of what you think,” he argues.
- Zell says wealth disparities exist everywhere, but he believes the U.S. is one of the world’s most equal economies.
Sam Zell, a billionaire businessman and philanthropist, believes the wealth redistribution ideas of far-left Democrats, such as freshman firebrand Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, won’t work because Americans would rather earn success than get handouts.
“Everyone in America wants to be rich. Everybody in America wants to succeed,” Zell told CNBC on Wednesday. “That’s, by the way, what made America great, because everyone wants to move forward. Everybody wants to contribute. Everybody wants a piece of the pie, rather than wants it given to them.”
Looking to narrow the wealth gap in the United States, Ocasio-Cortez — and several candidates vying for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, including Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren — are in favor of taxing the rich more to help pay for services for the greater society.
“Redistributive policy leads to inequality. It’s just the opposite of what you think,” said Zell, who contended that wealth redistribution during the eight years of former President Barack Obama‘s administration held the economy back.
An investor who does business all over the globe, Zell said in a “Squawk Box” interview Wednesday that wealth disparities exist everywhere. But he believes the U.S. is one of the world’s most equal economies.
Zell also bases his worldview on what he learned growing up as of the son of Jewish immigrants who landed in America after fleeing Poland right before the Nazis invaded. He went on to amass a net worth of more than $5 billion. He has said in the past that he’s neither Republican nor Democrat, indicating that he tends to be fiscally conservative and socially liberal.
As a boy in Chicago, Zell recalled asking his father, a jewelry wholesaler and real estate investor, why the poor who outnumber the rich don’t just vote them out of office. He said his father told him, “Everybody in America doesn’t want to do anything that would, ‘screw up his chance,’ to make the next move forward.”
Zell was always entrepreneurial.