Outgoing Starbucks Chairman Howard Schultz rips Democrats for veering too far left: 'How are we going to pay for these things?'

Key Points
  • The outgoing Starbucks chairman, who is leaving the door open to run for president, says Democrats are proposing too many expensive policies.
  • Schultz ripped the notions of single-payer health coverage and government-backed full employment.
  • "How are we going to pay for these things?" he asked.
Howard Schultz rips Democrats for veering too far left
Howard Schultz rips Democrats for veering too far left

Many leaders in the Democratic Party are veering too far left and overpromising government programs that are not fiscally possible, Howard Schultz told CNBC on Tuesday.

Without naming names, Schultz said in a "Squawk Box" interview: "It concerns me that so many voices within the Democratic Party are going so far to the left. I say to myself, 'How are we going to pay for these things,' in terms of things like single payer [and] people espousing the fact that the government is going to give everyone a job. I don't think that's realistic."

"I think we got to get away from these falsehoods and start talking about the truth and not false promises" said Schultz, whose Monday announcement that he's stepping down as executive chairman of Starbucks is driving speculation that he may run for president in the 2020 election.

During the 2016 race for the Democratic presidential nomination against Hillary Clinton, Sen. Bernie Sanders, who described himself as a Democratic socialist, supported a single-payer "Medicare for all" policy on health care and other policies that his critics had said would be impossible to pay for.

"I think the greatest threat domestically to the country is this $21 trillion debt hanging over the cloud of America and future generations," Schultz said. "The only way we're going to get out of that is we've got to grow the economy, in my view, 4 percent or greater. And then we have to go after entitlements."

Watch CNBC's exclusive interview with Starbucks' Howard Schultz
Watch CNBC's exclusive interview with Starbucks' Howard Schultz

President Donald Trump has made economic growth of more than 3 percent the goal post for success of his economic polices such as tax reform and cutting business regulations, and economic agenda aspirations including getting rid of Obamacare and bringing what he calls a level playing field on trade to the global marketplace.

Schultz, a frequent critic of Trump who also served two stints as CEO of Starbucks, is credited as a pioneer in creating an atmosphere of corporate social responsibility. He has sought to balance the need for public companies to make profits against policies that benefit the well-being of society as a whole.

Corporate social responsibility has recently become a hot topic in boardrooms around the nation after BlackRock chief Larry Fink in January sent a letter to the CEOs of the world's largest public companies, calling for them to help improve society or risk losing support from BlackRock, the world's largest investment company with more than $6 trillion in assets under management.

In CNBC's interview Tuesday, Schultz, who supported Clinton in the 2016 election, addressed his future beyond Starbucks.

"There's a lot of things I can do as a private citizen other than run for the presidency of the United States," he said. "Let's just see what happens."