Steyer defends his wealth in 2020 race: 'Should we put a limit on what Beyoncé makes?'

Steyer defends his wealth in 2020 race: 'Should we put a limit on what Beyoncé makes?'
© Greg Nash

Billionaire activist and Democratic presidential hopeful Tom SteyerTom SteyerBloomberg wages war on COVID-19, but will he abandon his war on coal? Overnight Energy: 600K clean energy jobs lost during pandemic, report finds | Democrats target diseases spread by wildlife | Energy Dept. to buy 1M barrels of oil Ocasio-Cortez, Schiff team up to boost youth voter turnout MORE defends his personal wealth in a new wide-ranging interview spanning from impeachment efforts against President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump marks 'very sad milestone' of 100K coronavirus deaths DOJ: George Floyd death investigation a 'top priority' Lifting our voices — and votes MORE to critiques of communism.

“Should we put a limit on what Beyoncé makes? I don’t see why,” Steyer told The Guardian. “I don’t think in the United States of America we should put a ceiling on how far people can go.”

Steyer said technological advances have changed some of the precepts of economic theory.

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“What Karl Marx failed to take into consideration was software — that if you are Michael Jackson or Rihanna or Beyoncé or anyone producing an idea, with software you aren’t just the best singer in your village … you have an ability to reproduce that song infinitely at very low cost around the world,” he added.

But the businessman and philanthropist also praised leaders such as Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBiden will help close out Texas Democrats' virtual convention: report Senate Dems press DOJ over coronavirus safety precautions in juvenile detention centers Gabbard drops defamation lawsuit against Clinton MORE (I-Vt.), a fellow 2020 hopeful, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezRecovery First: The American comeback shouldn't hinge on warmed-over policy agendas Ocasio-Cortez blames 'political power' of police for lack of accountability following George Floyd's death The Hill's Campaign Report: GOP beset by convention drama MORE (D-N.Y.), who both identify as democratic socialists, for advocating that “inequality is absolutely a shame on America."  

“The idea of generational wealth is not one that I subscribe to or believe in,” Steyer said. “Should we have a different tax system? Absolutely. Should resources be shared differently? Absolutely.”

Steyer, who started the hedge fund Farallon Capital Management in 1986 and founded the nonprofit NextGen America, has spent decades advocating for clean air and energy laws, registering young voters and other Democratic policy priorities.  

He defended the money his group Need to Impeach has spent advocating for impeachment efforts against president Trump and his announcement that he would spend $100 million on his presidential campaign, which some Democrats said could be spent on other campaigns down the ballot.

“We’re going to do everything we otherwise would’ve done,” he said.

Steyer, who launched his presidential campaign last week after publicly announcing months ago that he would not run, said he was not trying to do “a smart thing. I’m trying to do the right thing.”

“Part of it was watching that failure of government and just being so frustrated,” he said. “Literally, watching the debates and watching this campaign evolve, I thought, ‘Wow, I can’t sleep.’ "