Warren goes after Schultz: Billionaires think the government works great 'the way it is'

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenFive takeaways from first Democratic debate lineup Five takeaways from first Democratic debate lineup Black Economic Alliance official says African-American voters will 'determine who sits in the White House' MORE (D-Mass.) on Tuesday took on Howard Schultz, the billionaire founder of Starbucks who is publicly considering an independent run for the presidency.

"Look this is the problem — billionaires think that this government works just great the way it is. But it’s not working for anybody else,” Warren, who formed a 2020 presidential exploratory committee this month, told Hill.TV.

Earlier in the day, NPR aired an interview in which the former Starbucks CEO criticized Warren's proposed 2 percent annual tax on Americans whose net worth exceeds $50 billion, saying it's "ridiculous" and Warren knows it's "not ever going to be passed."

"I think what [Schultz] particularly seemed to object to was a wealth tax on billionaires," Warren said.

“How about instead of leaving all that money with the billionaires, we take just 2 percent of it and move it over? … How about instead of saying that they all get to walk away without paying those taxes — we say that what this government is about is saying everybody pays a fair share and then we make the investments in building — not just for the children of billionaires but for everyone's children,” she continued.

The Massachusetts Democrat said "that’s enough money to make a real investment in child care for every kid across this country — to make a real investment in bringing down student loans for everyone across this country.”

Some in the Democratic Party worry an independent bid could help reelect President TrumpDonald John TrumpDC board rejects Trump Hotel effort to dismiss complaint seeking removal of liquor license on basis of Trump's 'character' DC board rejects Trump Hotel effort to dismiss complaint seeking removal of liquor license on basis of Trump's 'character' Mexico's immigration chief resigns amid US pressure over migrants MORE by dividing the party in a three-way race. Warren wouldn’t weigh in on Schultz’s potential impact on a three way race, however.

"I think you need a pundit for that one,” Warren said. "Because I really don't know.”

— Molly K. Hooper