Schultz acknowledged that those with greater wealth, the landed gentry as they used to be called in more civilized times, occasionally accrued too much power. However, that is no reason to refer to them as the number of dollars they personally possess. Per Vice:
He said that people should use the softer “people of wealth” or “people of means” to describe his class, which accounts for just 1 percent of the world’s population but controls more than half of its money.
“The moniker billionaire now has become the catchphrase,” said Schultz, who’s been a lifelong Democrat but is pondering an independent run for president. “I would rephrase that and I would say that ‘people of means’ have been able to leverage their wealth and their interests in ways that are unfair.”
The conversation between billionaire and non-billionaire took place in front of an in-person audience of almost entirely non-billionaires and an online audience of mostly non-billionaires plus a very small number of billionaires. Although it’s unclear how billionaire Schultz’s appearance played with his billionaire peers (people who, much like the Starbucks billionaire, have net worths of at least a billion dollars), non-billionaires were appalled by the billionaire’s apparently sincere belief that the word “billionaire,” when used to describe people who have more than a billion dollars, is offensive to billionaires like himself. Instead, the billionaire said, billionaires like him would prefer that billionaires be referred to as “people of wealth” or “people of means,” phrases which vaguely suggest that billionaires possess great wealth without referring to the actual mind-numbing figure of one billion dollars.
People on Twitter were quick to drag Schultz for his completely tone-deaf statements.
R. Eric Thomas at Elle said maybe we should all take a page out of Schultz's effete book and reframe the way we refer to ourselves as non-billionaires.
At first I was like, I don't know about that one, Chief Executive Officer. But the more I think about it, the more sense it makes. Personally, I hate when my financial advisor called me a "thousandaire who has an outstanding invoice." Please henceforth refer to me as a "person of beans" or a "person of welp." Thank you for your sensitivity.