For months now, Leon Cooperman has been very upset. He has complained that Bernie Sanders “doesn’t have a clue” that “capitalism works.” He is so agitated by Elizabeth Warren that he sent the senator a letter in which he complained that she treated him like “an ungrateful child” because she suggested that he pay more taxes. On Monday, he returned to haunt CNBC, where he held back tears at the bleak possibilities of a Warren presidency. When asked why he has said so much about the Democratic primary, he answered, “I care.”
“I don’t need Elizabeth Warren telling me that I’m a deadbeat and that billionaires are deadbeats. The vilification of billionaires makes no sense to me,” he added. The world is a better place, he said, “because of Bill Gates, Michael Bloomberg, David Rubenstein, Bernie Marcus, Ken Langone.” Cooperman’s is a dubious premise. A billionaire’s charity cannot outweigh the reality of obscene wealth; it is necessarily born of injustice. Maybe Cooperman isn’t being honest with us. Does he really feel undervalued and unappreciated, or is he just worried about a wealth tax? Maybe his allergic reaction to Warren and Sanders has more to do with their economic policies. After all, they both want to tax him more. That’s right, friends. If Warren or Sanders became president … well, I can hardly say it … Cooperman might become slightly less than obscenely rich.
Really, I cannot command much sympathy for him. He owns a personal fortune worth over 1 billion dollars. But in the interest of human charity, I will consider broad possibilities. Does he really have reason to weep, or is he just upset about a wealth tax?
Does Leon Cooperman Have to Cry Over Medical Bills?
Health care is very expensive, as we all know. But Cooperman is a billionaire, so we must assume he could afford insulin if he had diabetes. He probably does not have to delay a surgery or a dental procedure or a medical test. If he gets in an accident, God forbid, he might receive a large bill. He could pay it, though, if he felt like it.
If Cooperman ever cried over a medical bill, it was a long time ago. He is only crying over taxes.
Does Leon Cooperman Have to Cry Over Child Care?
Since Cooperman is old, I assume his children are grown. Though he wasn’t born a billionaire, he has been rich for so long that he could afford to have children by the time he became a father. Cooperman does not have to think about which partner stays home because child care costs as much as a second rent bill. Cooperman does not have to berate himself for buying an unnecessary pack of eggplant-Parmesan ravioli at Wegmans because he’d like to be a parent someday and babies are luxury items. Because Cooperman is so rich, he is probably not crying over child care. This means he is just crying over taxes.
Does Leon Cooperman Have to Cry Over Student Loans?
Again, we are talking about a person who has over a billion dollars. He can buy entire universities, plus a few university presidents. He could start a thousand academic centers to train a thousand economists who will whisper, Wormtongue-like, in the ears of a thousand Republicans and thus protect his fortune for generations to come. It is reasonable to assume, then, that he does not have to cry over his student loans, nor do his two children. I’m also sure neither of them had to leave their global-policy lecture half an hour early every week so they could work. Not that I’m resentful!
Cooperman is just crying over taxes.
Does Leon Cooperman Have to Cry Over a Prison Sentence?
In 2016, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission came for our hero, charging him with insider trading. The cheek of it! Nevertheless, Cooperman persisted. His firm, Omega Advisors, settled with the SEC for $4.9 million. This sounds like a lot of money to me, but it was probably not a lot of money to Cooperman or to his firm. By billionaire standards, this is like a parking ticket or something. I don’t know! I do know, however, that members of the New York City Police Department recently Tasered a pair of teenagers for alleged fare beating. When I walked into my subway stop this morning, someone had tied the emergency exit open. Cops stood against the wall behind it, watching us all. I assumed this was some kind of a trap and that if someone had fallen for it, the Tasers would have appeared. All for a subway ride, which costs $2.75 one-way. Cooperman is arguably the bigger economic drain, possibly even a criminal. But when it comes to crime, wealth is a magic eraser. Cooperman does not have to cry in his prison cell over the unpaid court fines that sent him there. No one will Tase Leon Cooperman. He is just crying over taxes.
It must be nice to have so little to cry about. Mr. Cooperman is welcome to send me a letter, too, but only if he pays off my student loans.