Jesse Ventura Says There Should Be No Billionaires, Calls for 'Maximum Wage'

Former wrestling star Jesse Ventura has lashed out at the financial pillars of American society, insisting capitalism was an increasingly flawed system when compared to socialism and calling for the introduction of a maximum annual wage.

Over a decade on from the financial crisis that brought the world's economy to its knees, the sharp divide between the haves and the have nots has again been brought to the fore by the coronavirus pandemic, which has disproportionately hit those with a low disposable income harder than the wealthy.

While billionaires lost large chunks of their fortune as the stock market collapsed in the early stages of the pandemic, they have long since recouped their losses.

Ventura, who served as the 38th governor of Minnesota between 1999 and 2003 after pulling off a major upset in the gubernatorial election by defeating both the Democratic and Republican nominees, insisted the financial system had to be overhauled to prevent people from amassing such enormous wealth.

"There shouldn't be one billionaire," he said while speaking on Russian news channel RT.

"There shouldn't be one person worth a billion dollars. And I know that's shocking to hearing it come from me, but the older I get the more flaws I see in capitalism, and the more good things I see in socialism. "

Jesse Ventura's epic rant against billionaires:

"There shouldn't be ONE billionaire... The older I get, the more flaws I see in capitalism, and the more good things I see in socialism."

-@GovJVentura pic.twitter.com/Sdst8uUJH2

— The Vanguard (@vanguard_pod) January 31, 2021

Last week, a report published by Oxfam, one of the U.K.'s leading charity organizations, found the world's 10 richest men have seen their fortunes increase by a combined half a trillion dollars since the COVID-19 outbreak began.

The wealth of billionaires worldwide, meanwhile, increased by a combined $3.9 trillion between March 18 and December 31 last year.

Meanwhile, according to Washington, D.C.-based think tank Institute for Policy Studies, the richest 660 people in the U.S. have pocketed a "windfall of wealth" worth a combined $1.1 trillion since the pandemic began.

The Billionaire Bonanza 2020 report, which was published last week, found that since the World Health Organization classified the coronavirus outbreak as a global pandemic in March 2020, the combined wealth of America's 660 billionaires has rocketed by 39 percent. The number of billionaires also rose over the period, with 46 new additions to the list.

"Billionaires are reaping unseemly windfalls of wealth during the pandemic," said Chuck Collins, the director of the IPS' Program on Inequality and the co-author of the report said.

"They benefit from having their competitors shut down or controlling technologies and services we are all dependent on in this unprecedented time. We should tax these windfall gains to pay for recovery."

While Ventura did not single out any billionaires, pictures of Tesla founder Elon Musk and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates appeared as background during his interview. Last month, Musk surpassed Amazon founder Jeff Bezos as the richest person in the world, as his net worth surpassed the $185 billion mark.

Ventura, however, claimed billionaires weren't deserving of their fortunes as they never held a physically demanding job.

"What can one do to earn a billion dollars?[...] You are telling me than these billionaires who are now doubling their money, doubling their wealth, that they have worked harder physically than someone spending eight to ten hours a day on a jackhammer? They earn their money by pushing pencils," the 69-year-old, who served in the Vietnam War, said.

An WWE Hall of Fame inductee in 2004, Ventura then called for the introduction of a maximum wage, insisting annual earnings should be capped at $12 million a year.

"There should not be a billionaire and I'm going on record to state this. Everybody talks about a minimum wage, I say it's time for a maximum wage—how about $12 million a year, $1 million a month?"

Jesse Ventura
Former pro wrestler Jesse Ventura while speaking about his book "They Killed Our President" October 4, 2013 in Washington, DC. Ventura, who served as governor of Minnesota from 1999 to 2003, has lashed out at billionaires. Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty