A Coffee Bean Baron Rushes to Our Rescue

Sam Pizzigati

Sam Pizzigati Editor, Too Much online magazine

Billionaire Howard Schultz, the former CEO of the Starbucks coffee empire, has just announced he’s stepping down as the company’s chairman. Political insiders think that move means that Schultz just may be planning to make a bid for the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nomination. The day after the announcement, in a CNBC interview, Schultz not so subtly hinted that he’d be running to oppose progressive proposals on single-payer health care, job guarantees, and the like. Pronounced the coffee king: “It concerns me that so many voices within the Democratic Party are going so far to the left. I say to myself, how are we going to pay for these things?” Maybe we could start by raising taxes on billionaires like Howard Schultz.

***

Sam Pizzigati edits Too Much, the online weekly on excess and inequality. He is an associate fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C. Last year, he played an active role on the team that generated The Nation magazine special issue on extreme inequality. That issue recently won the 2009 Hillman Prize for magazine journalism. Pizzigati’s latest book, Greed and Good: Understanding and Overcoming the Inequality that Limits Our Lives (Apex Press, 2004), won an “outstanding title” of the year ranking from the American Library Association’s Choice book review journal.

The Real Root of Poverty

The Real Root of Poverty

Union Matters

A Fierce Defender of Truth and Classic Opulence

Sam Pizzigati

Sam Pizzigati Editor, Too Much online magazine

Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös sees himself as the custodian of a hallowed brand — and woe be to anyone who dares dispute Rolls supremacy in the universe of ultra luxury. This past March, Müller-Ötvös lit into an Aston Martin exec who had the temerity of suggesting that the traditional Rolls design amounted to an outmoded “ancient Greece.” An “enraged” Müller-Ötvös, Auto News reported, fumed that Aston Martin had “zero clue” about the ultra rich and then accused other carmakers of stealing Rolls-Royce intellectual property. Last summer, Müller-Ötvös rushed to defend the $650,000 price-tag on one Rolls model after a reporter told him that his son wondered why anyone who could afford to “fly to the moon” would choose to buy a Rolls instead. Rolls patrons, the 58-year-old CEO harrumphed back, hold at least $30 million in personal wealth: “They don’t have to choose. They can fly to the moon as well.”

***

More ...