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Perhaps the starkest cost of the coronavirus pandemic and its resulting quarantines, restrictions and limitations can be measured in human interaction. The handshakes, hugs, life milestones, shared drinks and experiences lost, postponed or cancelled outright: Weddings held bemasked in front of just a handful of proximate family members. Bidding farewell to loved ones over Zoom, if at all, and then marking their passing in funerals conducted over the same. Fortieth birthdays come and gone without a celebration. A year or more of baseball games, concerts, playdates, actual dates, vacations, school gone or disfigured beyond recognition.

And still, it is not until now, more than 13 months after I hastily pulled my bags off a plane in Philadelphia to avoid being stranded abroad, that I feel true loss, since this event, if it happens at all, will not occur face-to-face but via videoconference, and either way I and other fans of the work of these two titans would not be allowed in the room to witness it, anyway.

Warren, in a letter to Cooperman first obtained by CNBC, called on the financier to attend a hearing being organized and led by the Finance Committee’s Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Growth subcommittee, which she chairs…. Warren told Cooperman in the letter she is interested in giving the longtime Wall Street executive “an opportunity to discuss my Ultra-Millionaire Tax Act, which would level the economic playing field and narrow the racial wealth gap by asking the wealthiest 100,000 households in America, or the top 0.05%, to pay their fair share.”

The only consolation is that the battle will probably not come to pass, as Cooperman—who prefers to throw his barbs in open letters and before friendly interviewers rather than partake in face-to-face rhetorical fisticuffs—seems to be belatedly taking Thornton’s longstanding advice by refusing to engage.

Cooperman, in a response given to CNBC, acknowledged he received the message and said that he is considering Warren’s invitation. The senator requested that Cooperman confirm his attendance by Thursday…. “I’m trying to determine whether she’s being objective or whether she’s just trying to promote her own agenda,” Cooperman told CNBC in a statement. “I’m a bit suspicious given how she never responded to the letter I sent her before.”

Uh, Leon: Were you being objective or just trying to promote your own agenda (an apparently common one among the hedge-fund set: by all means raise taxes, just not mine) in that letter? They don’t seem contradictory to me, just an excuse to avoid getting Stumpfed on national TV.

Still, please make this happen, no matter the restrictions. I know that two days before the hearing is Cooperman’s birthday, but the day after is mine, and I really need this.

Elizabeth Warren invites billionaire critic Leon Cooperman to testify at Senate hearing on taxes [CNBC]

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