Elizabeth Warren Mocks Bill Gates’ Reservations About a Wealth Tax
The latest person to comment on Elizabeth Warren’s idea for a “wealth tax” on billionaires is a billionaire who rarely talks openly about politics. Barron’s reports that Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft and unarguably one of the authors of the computer revolution that has transformed the world, has openly expressed reservations about having his hard-earned money confiscated by the government, speaking at the New York Times DealBook Conference.
“‘I’ve paid over $10 billion in taxes. … I’ve paid more than anyone in taxes, but I’m glad to—if I’d had to pay $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…I’m just kidding.’”
While Gates went on to expressed doubts that Warren would be willing to have an open-minded conversation on the subject, the candidate took to Twitter to differ.
“I’m always happy to meet with people, even if we have different 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.)”
Warren’s wealth tax would extract a 2 percent levy on wealth over $50 million and 1 percent over a billion dollars. It is estimated to hit 75,000 households and would raise about $2.7 trillion over ten years, far short of what is needed to pay for Warren’s Medicare for All scheme, not to mention the Green New Deal.
Warren, by the way, has undermined her attempt at seeming reasonable by mocking Gates’ reservations on the stump. Gates may be correct that he would not be able to make the presidential candidate see reason.
Besides helping to bring about the computer revolution, Gates, through his Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is spending lavishly on promoting health and education, especially in the developing world. He has also invested heavily in several transformative technologies, including safe, affordable nuclear power, which he envisions as not only providing clean energy but as an engine for biochemical technology, including the transformation of coal into useful products. Gates, a political liberal like many of the tech billionaires, is a big believer that climate change is a problem. However, he favors technological solutions like nuclear power.
While Warren believes that she can leverage Gates’ complaints about her wealth tax scheme into support for it, the Washington Examiner cautions that the strategy may backfire. Not everyone hates billionaires as much as Warren does and, as it turns out, Bill Gates is pretty admired by a lot of Americans. The reason for the admiration is Gate’s generous philanthropy.
“Now, Warren could normally counter this criticism with a variation on the line that ‘this is just another greedy billionaire who doesn’t want to pay their fair share.’ But that’s far harder to do with the Microsoft co-founder.
“After all, Gates isn’t an evil banker or real estate tycoon, he’s widely known as one of the world’s leading philanthropists. Seeing as Gates gave at least $28 billion to charity by 2013, and donated nearly $5 billion to charity last year alone, it’s fair to assume he has donated in the region of $50 billion total.”
A YouGov poll listed Bill Gates as the most admired man on the planet. Warren may want to paint wealthy people as bloodsuckers who need to be brought to heel and used as cash cows for the leftwing agenda. However, many billionaires have won admiration for their innovations that have changed the world for the better.
The Examiner notes that far from helping create programs that would provide healthcare for all Americans or create green energy, a wealth tax would put an end to the era of technological innovation that has propelled the United States into an economic superpower.
The argument of private wealth vs. government programs has raged in the United States since the beginning of the so-called progressive movement in the early part of the 20th Century. If Warren or her fellow socialist Bernie Sanders were to become the Democratic presidential nominee in 2020, the debate would become a feature of the campaign. President Donald Trump, another billionaire who has made a lot of money with various investments, may be pleased to have that discussion. Many analysts believe that such a debate would be illuminating to the large numbers of young millennials who favor socialism.