Bill Gates says some US government tax proposals have gone ‘too far’

  • The commentary follows a recent proposed wealth tax from Senator Elizabeth Warren that called for a 2% annual tax on households and trusts valued at between $50 million and $1 billion. All net worth over $1 billion would be taxed at 3%.
Bill Gates during a conversation at the 2019 New Economy Forum in Beijing, China.(Reuters file photo)
Bill Gates during a conversation at the 2019 New Economy Forum in Beijing, China.(Reuters file photo)
Updated on Mar 20, 2021 06:16 AM IST
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Bloomberg |

Bill Gates is in favor of raising some taxes, but said some proposals seem to have gone too far.

The government “has to do more -- health costs, pandemic recovery, climate investments, foreign aid generosity,” the billionaire said Friday during an “Ask Me Anything” Q&A session on Reddit. “So I have pushed for some higher taxes. I have disagreed with some proposals that seem to go too far.”

The Microsoft Corp. co-founder called taxes an “important” issue but didn’t mention any tax proposals during the exchange.

The commentary follows a recent proposed wealth tax from Senator Elizabeth Warren that called for a 2% annual tax on households and trusts valued at between $50 million and $1 billion. All net worth over $1 billion would be taxed at 3%.

Gates, who is the third wealthiest person in the world according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, also said a higher estate tax can be an effective tool for revenue and avoiding dynastic wealth.

Other topics covered include:

  • Crypto mining:
  • “I have a lot of issues with anonymous money transfer compared to attributed systems where you can dispute and reverse transactions and make sure taxes are paid. The electricity use is just one issue. We do need digital money but without that overhead.”
  • Universal basic income:
  • “Today we provide income to people who are disabled in many countries. The question is, can we afford to do this for everyone. We are getting richer as we innovate but I question if we are rich enough to discourage able people from working. Over time we have been more generous and we will be more generous. The discussion on this is very interesting but it does come down to numbers...”
  • Misinformation, disinformation and fake news:
  • “Some false information is more interesting than the truth so digital channels seem to magnify echo chambers with bad facts. I haven’t seen as much creativity on how we solve this as we need.”
  • Climate denial:
  • “The damage in the past was huge. Now the oil companies have stopped funding these things so I think climate denial will go down. There are issues about how we go about reducing emissions but I hope all young people agree that is a critical goal.”
  • If nothing is done about climate change, “it gets worse over time and natural ecosystems go away. The migration away from the unlivable areas around the equator will be massive. We won’t be able to support a large population if it gets a lot warmer.”
  • On reaching net zero emissions by 2050:
  • “There’s more public support for taking big steps to avoid a climate disaster than ever before. It’s inspiring to see governments and companies around the world set ambitious goals for reducing emissions. The world’s power to invent makes me optimistic.”


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