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Who’s afraid of Elizabeth Warren?

ImpactAlpha, Sept. 12 – Big banks, if you believe CNBC’s Jim Cramer and his Mad Money crew. In a snippet of video that went a bit viral, Cramer said bank execs are “fearful of her winning” before adding, “She’s gotta be stopped” (though in Cramer’s rambling style he may have said he was not hearing banks say that).

Meanwhile, in The Wall Street Journal, former Texas Sen. Phil Gramm and Mike Solon railed against Warren’s brand of “accountable capitalism” as an “assault on retiree wealth.”

On the eve of tonight’s debate in Houston among Democratic presidential contenders, some pundits said attacks on Warren as an anti-Wall Street crusader are helpful fodder for her campaign’s future advertising. (Warren herself re-tweeted the Cramer clip, adding cheekily, “I’m Elizabeth Warren and I endorse this message.”)

But what if Warren’s policies are actually pro-business? Consider

  • Nearly 200 CEOs just embraced stakeholder capitalism. Warren’s Accountable Capitalism Act in many ways aligns with the Business Roundtable statement pledging respect for employees, customers, suppliers and communities in addition to shareholders. The new conventional wisdom is that such an approach can generate higher living standards, and long-term economic growth. It may be tough for even Republicans to argue for a return to shareholder primacy.
  • Billionaires for higher taxes. In a letter to all of the candidates in June, 19 billionaires called for higher taxes, declaring, “America has a moral, ethical and economic responsibility to tax our wealth more.” Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Jamie Dimon and Ray Dalio have all called for higher taxes on the richest of the rich. A paper by two French economists found that if Warren’s wealth tax plan had been in place since 1982, Jeff Bezos would have paid an additional $73 billion in taxes – and still be left with $87 billion. 
  • Climate shocks. Some automakers, utilities and even oil and gas companies support regulations on automobile fuel standards, methane emissions and other environmental policies. ExxonMobil supports the Paris climate agreement. Jim Cramer followed up with his TV quips with a tweet that tried to clarify: “The Chinese have more to fear from Warren than Trump because Warren knows the Chinese are the world’s worst polluters and the planet must be a stakeholder!”

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