Billionaires at art museum party frame Democrats’ tax plans as losing propositions

Hedge fund executive Ken Griffin and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross criticize tax-the-rich ideas at Norton Museum of Art event

Feb.February 09, 2019 12:00 PM

Ken Griffin (Credit: Getty, iStock)

Billionaires attending a party at an art museum in West Palm Beach criticized proposals by Democrats to increase the federal taxes of the wealthiest Americans.

For example, Senator Bernie Sanders has proposed a 77 percent tax rate on the value of estates that exceeds $1 billion, and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has proposed a top tax rate of 70 percent on income of $10 million or more.

“They’re going to eat themselves alive,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told Bloomberg News during the Feb. 2 party at the Norton Museum of Art, which officially reopened today following a renovation-and-expansion project.

Billionaire and hedge fund executive Ken Griffin told Bloomberg that tax-the-rich proposals by Democrats “are so antithetical for what’s good for growth in our country, they’ll go nowhere.”

Griffin said improving public elementary schools and high schools is a better approach to addressing economic inequality than “trying to destroy the wealth creators in our society” through tax hikes, Bloomberg reported.

But he also said the amount of discussion about Democratic tax proposals among guests at the museum party was “literally zero.”

Griffin, a native of Boca Raton, donated $20 million of the cost of renovating and expanding the Norton Museum of Art, which totaled more than $100 million. His gift made Griffin the largest donor in the history of the museum.

Griffin, a part-time resident of Palm Beach, said the town has attracted acquaintances from his professional and social circles in northern cities.

“It’s a great, eclectic mix that brings my Chicago and Northeast bases together in one place much more than any other place I could be,” he told Bloomberg. “That’s what Palm Beach is.” [Bloomberg]Mike Seemuth

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