Booker challenges Warren’s plan to tax the super-rich

Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker at Democratic debate
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker faced off Wednesday at the Democratic presidential primary debate in Atlanta.
(John Bazemore / Associated Press)

Sen. Cory Booker challenged Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s economic plan, arguing in Wednesday’s Democratic presidential debate that simply increasing taxes on the very rich was not enough.

“We as Democrats need to fight for a just taxation system, but … we Democrats also have to talk about how to grow wealth,” he said. “We have to give more people opportunities to create wealth to grow businesses, to have their American dream.”

Warren had just described her plan to tax extreme wealth to fund a massive expansion of government services that she argued would unite Democrats, Republicans and independents.

Clashes and mockery come at the end of the Democratic debate in Atlanta. Pete Buttigieg and Tulsi Gabbard face attacks and Joe Biden faces laughter.


Warren responded to Booker’s critique by listing the many programs she said her tax increase could fund, including universal child care up to age 5, universal preschool, free college and forgiveness of student debt.

Booker said he agreed with such goals but not with Warren’s approach.

“The tax, the way we’re putting it forward right now, the wealth tax, I’m sorry — it’s cumbersome, it’s been tried,” he said.

“If I am president of the United States … millionaires and billionaires will pay their fair share,” he said. “But, dear God, we’re going to have pathways to prosperity for more Americans.”