25 bathrooms? Former Clinton labor secretary says Bezos’s mansion helps make case for soaking the rich

Published: Nov 9, 2019 9:12 a.m. ET

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Robert Reich, who served as labor secretary in the Clinton administration, was honored by Time magazine as one of the 10 most effective cabinet secretaries of the 20th century. He’s a Rhodes scholar, a best-selling author, a documentarian and a professor of public policy at the University of California at Berkeley.

What he’s not, apparently, is a fan of billionaires clinging tightly to their riches:

That Reich jab at the Amazon AMZN, +0.01% billionaire and world’s richest man went viral this week, picking up 126,000 likes in just a couple of days. It also blew up on Reddit, where Reich was mostly applauded for his take on the wealth tax.

There were some exceptions, however.

“How about this: Jeff Bezos should fire everyone and replace them with machines. The unemployed can then look for other employers, start a business venture of their own or eat dirt,” a Reddit user identified as Prethor wrote in response to the tweet. “It’s easy to be an entitled a—hole, it’s not so easy to create a multibillion-dollar company. Or even a small company.”

On Twitter TWTR, -0.17%  , the feedback often extolled a catch phrase of Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign:

Warren, in a effort that Reich clearly supports, has been floating a plan the includes taxing billionaires 6 cents on every dollar of net worth above $1 billion to fund her health-care overhaul.

“If Medicare for All can be financed without any new taxes on the middle class, and instead by asking giant corporations, the wealthy, and the well-connected to pay their fair share, that’s exactly what we should do,” she said.

Meanwhile, as Warren has continued to climb the polls amid a widening of the divide between the rich and poor, there’s a bull market in billionaire bashing.

In a piece on the Outline, Tom Whyman captured the resentment. “Every billionaire is thus more than a simple failure of policy,” he wrote. “Every billionaire is evidence of a basic glitch in the fabric of the moral universe.”

From the MarketWatch archives (August 2018): A 10-step plan for turning a democracy into a dictatorship, from Robert Reich

Shawn Langlois is an editor and writer for MarketWatch in Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter @slangwise.

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