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

Ken Griffin (Credit: Getty, iStock)
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.

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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