Most Read

CNBC

Massachusetts Senator and 2020 presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren remains one of the more prominent Democrats in Congress in large part because of her work on consumer protection, economic opportunity and the social safety net.

These all happen to be things largely opposed by billionaires like Ken Langone, who is best known as one of the founders of Home Depot.

For all the money in Langone's pockets—he has an estimated net worth of $5.7 billion—he demonstrated he doesn't understand federal financial programs like Social Security.

Langone asked Warren during a joint appearance on CNBC's Squawk Box:

"How do you rationalize giving me [sic] $3,000 a month check every month with all my wealth?"
"Why don't you people have the courage to address entitlements as to what should no longer be an entitlement? I shouldn't get Social Security."

You can watch their sparring match in the video below:


For the record, Social Security is not an entitlement.

The overwhelming majority of Americans pay into the program and the few exceptions are typically state and local workers covered by pension plans operated at the state or local level. But Langone just couldn't fathom why he continues to receive Social Security checks despite his massive net worth.

And that's where Warren stepped in.

"Social security is… structured as an insurance policy. And you paid in year after year after year."
"It's not somebody's welfare. It's not somebody's charity."
"Surely, you wouldn't want to be the person who would go on national TV and say: 'After a contract has been negotiated, and someone has paid into it for forty years, that the federal government should turn around and say, "Oops, we changed our mind. We're not going to give you the payout that you earned by making those payments all those years".'"

Langone moved on to his next point—why corporations aren't required to pay a minimum tax.

And Warren, who's known for having an answer to everything, had an answer for that.

"Actually, I've proposed something very much like that. It's called a Real Corporate Profits Tax."

Langone sputtered a bit before insisting Home Depot paid its fair share of taxes.

"Take all the corporate taxes paid in America last year as told by the government, what they got in."
"Home Depot paid 1% of all those taxes. One company that didn't exist 42 years ago."

Warren received significant praise after the segment aired.






Langone has a vested interest in making sure he doesn't have to pay a wealth tax and progressive policies don't see the light of day.

Home Depot donated roughly $465,000 to federal lawmakers who supported former President Donald Trump's effort to overturn the election, openly flouting democracy. Additionally, the company donated thousands of dollars to Georgia Republicans who've worked to impose severe voting restrictions.

He's probably not the best person to listen to on matters like the wealth tax—or why Social Security exists.

For many in the United States even at a very politically contentious time, they're thankful to have congressional leaders like Warren who've dedicated their lives to keeping self-serving billionaires like Langone in check.