Billionaire Howard Schultz Whines It’s ‘Unfair’ to Be Called a Billionaire

The Starbucks founder made the comment to Senator Bernie Sanders during a hearing called “The Need to End Illegal Union Busting at Starbucks.”
Billionaire Howard Schultz Whines It’s ‘Unfair’ to Be Called a Billionaire
Anna Moneymaker
 / Staff via Getty Images

Get ready to hear a tearjerker: Howard Schultz, the founder of Starbucks who is worth some $3.7 billion, thinks it’s really “unfair” to be called a billionaire.

Schultz made the comment while testifying at a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing called “No Company is Above the Law: The Need to End Illegal Union Busting at Starbucks.” 


Schultz, who was CEO of Starbucks until very recently, is alleged to have illegally cracked down on union organizing efforts at stores by workers and the National Labor Relations Board. Starbucks, under his tenure, fired numerous pro-union workers and union organizers, and announced increases in wages and benefits for non-unionized stores that excluded unionized ones.

Senator Bernie Sanders, the committee’s chair, described this pattern of behavior as “the most aggressive and illegal union-busting campaign in the modern history of our country,” which Schultz flatly denied. And finally, during another tense exchange, the billionaire cracked. 

“I grew up in federally subsidized housing. My parents never owned a home. I came from nothing. I thought my entire life was based on the achievement of the American dream," he said. 

"Yes, I have billions of dollars,” he bravely admitted. “I earned it. No one gave it to me. And I’ve shared it constantly with the people of Starbucks. And so anyone who keeps labeling this ‘billionaire’ thing…” Sanders interjected to remind Schultz of the committee’s time limits, but the billionaire kept going. 

“It’s your moniker constantly, it’s unfair,” Schultz said.

There’s not much to say except that it’s amazing to observe that the word “billionaire”—which, to be clear, is a simple statement of fact—is now seen as a slur by the people who actually do possess billions of dollars. We’re in a golden era for thin-skinned elites, it seems, and hey, remember when this guy wanted to be president?