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Billionaire Michael Novogratz: Rich Worried About Warren Should 'Lighten Up'

Billionaire Michael Novogratz: Rich Worried About Warren Should 'Lighten Up'
(Steve Pope/Getty)

Sunday, 20 October 2019 07:26 AM

Billionaire Michael Novogratz has a message for his rich friends: Stop worrying so much about Elizabeth Warren.

“You’re not victims, you’re the richest people in the world,” said Novogratz, the former Goldman Sachs partner who’s now investing in cryptocurrency as founder of Galaxy Investment Partners. “How in God’s name do you feel like a victim?”

Warren has been gaining momentum in a huge field of candidates for the Democratic nomination, with plans for a wealth tax and tougher regulation. She’s made a point of courting grassroots donations instead of the bundled ones that the rich traditionally give. Her stance has some Wall Street folks scared, particularly those in private equity, which she has recently slammed.

“Ninety-seven percent of the people I know in my world are really, really fearful of her,” Novogratz, 54, said in an interview at a benefit for Hudson River Park Friends, of which he’s chairman. “They don’t like her, they’re worried about her, they think she’s anti-rich,” Novogratz said of the senator from Massachusetts. “It’s a little carried away.”

(The event honored actress Lucy Liu, chef David Chang and Michael R. Bloomberg, founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP.)

‘Redistribute More’

For Novogratz, plans to take from the rich to give to those who are struggling make sense.

“The way the country is functioning today, the bottom 60% aren’t doing well,” said Novogratz, who has supported Democrats in the past. “She’s speaking to that group. She wants to redistribute. Bernie’s a socialist, Elizabeth says she’s a capitalist, she just wants to redistribute more. And I think we’re going to have more redistribution.”

Novogratz said he paid attention to Warren, 70, when she started her White House run at the urging of another former Goldman Sachs partner, Gary Gensler.

“The first seven things out of her mouth were divisive and anti-rich,” he said. “And I called him and I was like, ‘Dude, you can’t heal the country by telling them all rich people cheated. LeBron James didn’t cheat. He was just really good at basketball. Maybe the markets don’t work the way they should, that’s a fair argument, but don’t say they cheated.’ So I got really angry about that.'

Pete Buttigieg

Novogratz said he’d rather have a more centrist Democrat as the candidate, but hasn’t yet found someone he thinks can win, even though he likes Pete Buttigieg.

“I thought he did an awesome job in the debate,” Novogratz said of the 37-year-old South Bend, Indiana, mayor. “I went down to Atlanta, I met him. When I met him one-on-one I liked him. I had a group of criminal justice advocates, they liked him. But when I walked into the room, he didn’t have presidential energy. Even Trump, whom I really, really despise, when he walks into a room, it lights up. Every ounce of the room focuses on him.”

As for Warren: “I’m hoping she pivots. She’s such a good politician. She’s so smart. She’s witty.”

And with her taking the lead, he thinks his friends should re-evaluate her. “It’s insanity -- insanity that they feel like victims: ‘They’re going to come and get us.’ No! You’re going to get taxed a little more. Lighten up!”

© Copyright 2019 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.

   
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Billionaire Michael Novogratz has a message for his rich friends: Stop worrying so much about Elizabeth Warren."You're not victims, you're the richest people in the world," said Novogratz, the former Goldman Sachs partner who's now investing in cryptocurrency as founder of...
billionaire, michael novogratz, rich, warren
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2019-26-20
Sunday, 20 October 2019 07:26 AM
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