Senator Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat from Massachusetts, waves after speaking at American University in Washington, D.C., U.S. (Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)

Warren Faults ‘Capitalism Without Rules’ in Pushing Wealth Tax

(Bloomberg) -- Democratic presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren said "capitalism without rules is theft" and defended her wealth-tax proposal as a way to raise revenue and bolster opportunity for ordinary Americans.

Warren Faults ‘Capitalism Without Rules’ in Pushing Wealth Tax

“I believe in capitalism. I see the wealth that can be produced, but let’s be really clear," the Massachusetts senator said Wednesday in an interview with Bloomberg TV. "Encouraging companies to build their business models on cheating people — that’s not capitalism.”

She said she supports “capitalism with serious rules, and that means rules where everybody gets a chance to play.”

Warren, who announced her exploratory committee for a 2020 presidential bid, pushed back on criticisms of her wealth tax proposal -- a 2 percent tax on household assets in excess of $50 million and a 3 percent tax on fortunes above $1 billion.

Skeptics have said the wealthy could hide assets overseas or shield their true value to escape the levy. Warren said the IRS would closely scrutinize high earners who would likely be subject to the tax.

"We get it. Rich people come with their own independent armies of lawyers to try to figure out how to game the system," she said. "We will have a much stepped-up audit schedule for these folks."

Warren also said she sees many paths for achieving the goal of Medicare for all, including but not limited to a single-payer health care system.

“We know where we’re aiming, and that is every American has health care at a price they can afford,” she said. “There are multiple bills on the floor in the United States Senate. I’ve signed on to Medicare for all. I’ve signed on to another one that gives an option for buying into Medicaid.”

Asked if she sees a role for private insurance companies, Warren said her goals are to defend the Affordable Care Act, hold insurers and drug companies accountable so they don’t “scam people,” and find a way to achieve universal coverage.

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