Democratic candidate and Senator, Elizabeth Warren has been a strong advocate of implementing a wealth tax. But she has now met a sceptic in the form of one of the world’s wealthiest men.
Bill Gates, second most wealthy man in the world, with a total net worth of $109 B, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, does not quite agree with Warren. At the New York Times’ Dealbook conference, reported Vox, he said, “I’ve paid over $10 billion in taxes. I’ve paid more than anyone in taxes. If I had to have paid $20 billion, it’s fine. But when you say I should pay $100 billion, then I’m starting to do a little math about what I have left over.” Later he added that he was “just kidding” and that he would love for someone to “find a middle-ground approach”.
Upon being asked if he would meet Warren, Gates said, “I’m not sure how open-minded she is, or that she’d even be willing to sit down with somebody who has large amounts of money.”
Asked to choose between Warren and President Trump for the 2020 Presidential elections, Gates said he’d vote the “more professional” candidate.
Senator Warren responded to his comments via Twitter, writing that she was always happy to meet with people, even if they had differing views. “@BillGates, if we get the chance, I'd love to explain exactly how much you'd pay under my wealth tax. (I promise it's not $100 billion),” she wrote.
Warren and fellow democratic candidate Bernie Sanders have been some of the strongest advocates behind the wealth tax proposal which aims to reduce concentration of wealth with individuals and raise money for expanded federal programs. In the case of Elizabeth Warren the top wealth tax rate that she proposes is 6%. Sanders is yet another step ahead with 8% per year.
Gates adds, “Should rich people pay more in taxes? The answer is yes. For whatever remainder of money that they have left over, I do think philanthropy is a good thing. If you create a company that is super valuable, at least some part of that you should be able to have — a little bit for consumption, and hopefully the balance to do philanthropic things.”
“I choose not to participate in large political donations. There are times it might feel tempting to do so, but I just don’t want to grab that gigantic megaphone” he added.
Gates also offered an apology for meeting with Jeffrey Epstein who was convicted of child abuse. “I made a mistake in judgment that I thought that those discussions would lead, literally, to billions of dollars going to global health. It turned out that was a bad judgment. That was a mirage,” he said.