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Elizabeth Warren schools a billionaire on why he receives Social Security: 'It's not charity'

In a conversation with Home Depot founder Ken Langone, the Senator deconstructed all the issues with the current system of taxation in the United States.

Elizabeth Warren schools a billionaire on why he receives Social Security: 'It's not charity'
Image Source: IRS Commissioner Rettig Testifies To Senate On 2022 Budget. WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 08. (Photo by Evelyn Hockstein-Pool/Getty Images)

Late last week, Senator Elizabeth Warren engaged in a conversation with Ken Langone, an American billionaire and the founder of the home improvement company Home Depot. During the discussion, the businessman asked Warren why he received Social Security benefits. He argued that, as a billionaire, he should not be entitled to a payout from the government. In response, the Senator explained how measures of social security work. She also shared details about Real Corporate Profits Tax, a proposed minimum tax on corporations. The exchange has since gone viral, with dozens of social media users praising Warren for her well-explained response to Langone.



"I have an easy one for you and you are gonna be shocked. I am bringing it up, from a fat cat, Wall Street guy," Langone began. "How do you rationalize giving me [sic] $3,000 a month check every month with all my wealth? Why don't you people have the courage to address entitlements as to what should no longer be an entitlement? I shouldn't get Social Security." In addition to this check, he shared that his wife receives another check for $1,000. He affirmed, "Take it away from me! Have the courage to do it. Do it."



In response, Warren described how the system of Social Security works in the United States. She answered, "Social Security is structured as an insurance policy, and you paid in year after year after year. Part of the contract was that if you would pay in, you would get this kind of return back in." The Senator argued that this system of insurance was an agreement that every employee in the country who is eligible for Social Security and pays in, would receive a return. "It is not somebody's welfare," she firmly reiterated to the business owner. "It is not somebody's charity."



However, Warren addressed more than just Langone's concerns about Social Security. Dissecting the state of taxation as a whole, she illustrated the need for a wealth tax that applies to all, particularly those at the very top of the class hierarchy, as well as a minimum corporation tax. "Let's look at someone like Jeff Bezos, who is worth a bazillion dollars," she exemplified. "He has not paid taxes on all of that wealth. In fact, Bezos [has for] many years not paid anything in taxes or has paid about one percent. Why? Because his income is very, very small. But he continues to grow his wealth through all of his Amazon stock." The senator criticized the country's existing tax infrastructure for not capturing those at the very top while making middle and working-class folks pay. In this context, she argued that a wealth tax would be an opportunity to make those at the top contribute towards society too.



Finally, she touched upon the benefits of a minimum corporations tax. Warren discussed how her proposed Real Corporate Profits Tax, if instituted, would make corporations that generate more than $100 million in profit pay up. "Those corporations should have to pay a tax on what they report," she said. "Not on what happens after they have done a zillion loopholes... That would be another way that we could pay for universal childcare and roads and bridges." Social media users deeply appreciated the Senator's response to Langone. Imani Gandy, a Senior Editor at the Rewire News Group, posted on Twitter, "This clip of Elizabeth Warren politely dog walking Ken Langone will make your skin clear up and it just might cure covid, I don't know." Another social media user added, "I could watch Senator Elizabeth Warren smackdown Home Depot [founder] Ken Langone all day long." Evidently, Warren's explanation was a slam dunk.


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