Not content to destroy good coffee and wreck thousands of small businesses around the world, Star Bucks founder and billionaire "visionary" Howard Schultz now wants to give America another four years of Donald Trump.
Schultz has waded into American politics with the grace of a 400lb ballerina, declaring his interest in becoming the President of the United States as an independent -- a move that would almost guarantee president Trump's re-election in 2020.
Schultz, a lifelong Democrat, believes "both sides" of the political isle are equally to blame for the toxic culture in DC and the almost complete disintegration of bi-partisanship.
“I look at both parties, we see extremes on both sides,” Schultz told "60 Minutes" correspondent Scott Pelley. “We are sitting today with approximately $21.5 trillion of debt, which is a reckless example ― not only of Republicans, but of Democrats as well ― as a reckless failure of their constitutional responsibility.”
Not only this, Schultz believes the Democrats promise to give Americans affordable healthcare is as irresponsible as Donald Trump's promise to build a concrete wall to keep out Mexicans.
“Every American deserves the right to have access to quality health care,” Schultz said. “But what the Democrats are proposing is something that is as false as the wall ― and that is free health care for all, which the country cannot afford.”
There are a few points worth making here. The first is the sheer arrogance of Schultz, who has never run for office or worked in government in his life. Schultz appears to believe that because he is a billionaire, he deserves to be taken seriously as a presidential candidate. It should now be abundantly clear that having made ludicrous sums of money in the private sector through a form of predatory capitalism does not qualify you for the Presidency of the United States.
Presidents make decisions that effect the lives of hundreds of millions of people, have the power to radically change geo-political power dynamics, and are responsible for leading the country in times of war. Rolling out new Frappaccino flavors and directing completely unqualified baristas to start embarrassing conversations with customers about race are not transferable skills.
Secondly, Schultz's argument that "both sides" are to blame for the current political predicament is not just idiotic, but ridiculously offensive given the past two years. Perhaps he thinks the Republican Party's total submission to a sexual predator, racist, xenophobe who has trashed the office he holds and embarrassed the nation in front of the entire global community is akin to wanting to tax billionaires fairly. Perhaps he thinks a president calling other nations "shitholes" is akin to the Democrats calling for increased financial regulation. Perhaps he sees Trump's demonization of minorities, women and the LGBT community as an equivalent to the Democrats fight to prevent the privatization of social security. Or perhaps Schultz is just a narcissistic billionaire who sees an opportunity to create the ultimate legacy for himself because, well, he can afford it.
Let us be perfectly clear about this: both sides are not the same. One side denies climate change, women's reproductive rights, a social safety net, and the need for gun control. The other believes in women's rights, protecting the environment, ensuring poor people can eat, and stopping gun massacres. One side supports a quasi-fascist president who hires criminals and may well be an asset of a hostile foreign nation, and the other supports intelligent, highly qualified politicians who surround themselves with the best and the brightest.
Thirdly, the notion that America can't afford to give its citizens free healthcare is simply untrue. Americans spend more money on health care than every other industrialized nation on earth and get less for it. If Great Britain spends significantly less money and gives everyone free health care, then logically it must be possible for the US to do the same. What Schultz really means to say is that he is not prepared to pay more tax on his fortune to pay for it. Furthermore, the Democrats are not uniform in their pledge to give everyone free health care, so he is literally making this up.
Schultz has zero chance of becoming President, and if he doesn't understand this he is either stupid or willfully ignorant. He may well have good intentions and want to see his country do well, but by running for President as an independent in 2020, he would likely siphon off centrist voters in crucial states who would otherwise vote Democrat. This would undoubtedly swing the election for Trump and plunge the nation even deeper into the abyss.
America cannot afford to cater to the whims of bored billionaires any more. The country needs serious candidates who can beat Donald Trump and end the nightmare in Washington as soon as possible. Howard Schultz seems like a nice enough chap who could do a lot of good with his money. If he wants to spend his fortune on a personal vanity project that could potentially destroy the country, his legacy will go up in flames. So please, Howard, and every other bored billionaire convinced they could be President, go away and leave the business of government to those who take it seriously.