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Bill Gates Says 'Extreme' Tax Reform Policies Like AOC’s 70% Marginal Rate Are a 'Misfocus'

Do you agree with Bill Gates?

by Countable | Updated on 2.12.19

Philanthropist and Microsoft founder Bill Gates said in an interview with The Verge that "extreme" tax reform proposals, like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's (D-N.Y.) proposed 70% marginal rate on income earned over $10 million, are "missing the picture" and a "misfocus" that will lead the wealthy to stash their cash overseas.

What he's saying: While he favors the idea of "more progressive" marginal rates, Gates said the wealthiest Americans have a "rounding error" of actual salary, and instead generate their wealth by selling stock and other assets: "In terms of revenue collection, you wouldn’t want to just focus on the ordinary income rate, because people who are wealthy have a rounding error of ordinary income."

Go deeper: Poll: Americans favor higher taxes on the wealthy

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(83)
  • burrkitty
    Voted Disagree
    02/12/2019
    ···

    I bet, since it’s his billionaire wallet in the crosshairs. Perspective, please. From 2017 to 2018 he went from being worth $86 billion to being worth $90 billion. That means in 2017, Gates' net worth increased by $4 billion in one year alone. That averages out to approximately $10,959,000 a day, which is also about $456,625 per hour, $7,610 per minute, and $127 per second. Life is hard, eh? He makes more than double in a minute what I make a month. F that guy and his prattling. If it’s a “rounding error” it won’t matter, will it? If it doesn’t matter why are you worried enough to say anything? Anyone else see what I see here? Self serving noise.

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  • David
    02/12/2019
    ···

    Bill Gates may have a point. It may be necessary to put the 70% tax rate on the top wage earners, but also on unearned income from stocks, bonds, hedge funds, and other sources of income the ultra wealthy currently use. He seems to support progressive taxation, not the regressive system we now have.

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  • Miles
    Voted Agree
    02/12/2019
    ···

    Few realize that high incomers pass the cost of progressive taxes to the lower income levels via price for goods & services. The progressive tax is really a method to tax the entire population with few ever figuring it out. The top 20% pays over 80% of all tax money collected. Don’t give me that “fair share” BS. Relying on a small group for tax money is dangerous.

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  • Ansel
    Voted Disagree
    02/12/2019
    ···

    Adjusting the marginal tax rate is an easy place to begin. Individuals earning millions or tens of millions of dollars annually are not going to be hurt by even a large increase. The wealth gap is more difficult and will need to be handled with more nuance to ensure the retirement savings of average households aren't caught in the crossfire. So let's at least start with the marginal rate. Just because it's not the whole answer doesn't mean we shouldn't make changes.

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  • Don
    Voted Agree
    02/12/2019
    ···

    I am not rich but I have done my homework. I agree with what Bill Gates saying here. Unfortunately the majority of people who want much higher taxes for the wealthy don’t know how the system works well enough to make an educated decision. This will just cause them to move their wealth other places. I don’t believe that it is in our best interest.

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  • Ken
    02/12/2019
    ···

    So the ultra rich might stash their money overseas? You mean nothing will change from current ways for the ultra rich to avoid paying taxes. I would have thought Bill Gates was smarter than that.

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  • oliver-t-huxley
    Voted Disagree
    02/12/2019
    ···

    Bill Gates is extremely off the mark here. The belief that hyper rich individuals like himself should not be fairly taxed 1. Is just a way for him to protect his own unnecessary riches (which will always invariably stagnate on the top level of the economy). 2. Economically idiotic (trickle-down does not work and in economics it is preferable to have a high top earner tax rate) 3. Pushes the tax burden onto the middle & working class 4. Is, in my opinion, traitorous to your country and your people. It is making off with the riches and giving your country the bird on the way out. No amount of unsustainable "philanthropy" can change that fact.

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  • Anne
    Voted Disagree
    02/12/2019
    ···

    Another billionaire honing in on tax rates but doesnt if we get taxes. Also billionnaires are hiding their money overseas currently. We need a law that if billionnaires hide their money, there should be a penalty. I'm tired of this 1% making rules for 99% of the country. Stand up against billionaires plotting and corruption

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  • Hillary
    Voted Disagree
    02/12/2019
    ···

    I disagree with any idea that the ultra wealthy should not pay dramatically more taxes. I see Gates’ point- the bill must be worded so that the ultra rich with their slimy lawyers can’t wriggle our from under paying their fair share.

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  • Steve
    Voted Disagree
    02/12/2019
    ···

    Mr Gates did not cite any statistical data to show that the wealthy would sell their stock and/or move money overseas. As I understand it financial managers for the 1% put funds into tax free investments, municipal bonds and just keep compounding their money tax free. Such a deal! Remember these super rich made their money from inheritances or truck loads of stock they received from starting a company such as Microsoft.

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  • Glowurm
    Voted Disagree
    02/12/2019
    ···

    Fuck you, Bill Gates! When we had a 70% tax rate for the wealthy, the average person was able to make a decent salary. The banks gave us 10%, or more, interest on our savings accounts. We were able to see our money grow. Hell, on a 10,000.00 savings account, these days, the $3.00 maintenance fee far exceeds the interest received. So, you are losing money, not increasing it. So why save? Unbelievable! We had little, or no, National debt. Then, we were able to save and get ahead. Now we work two or more jobs and yet we can barely hold our heads above water. These people have no idea what we go through. They are clueless. When the middle class seizes to exist, so will they! Things need to change and SOON. If they aren’t already, tax havens overseas should be illegal with jail and extreme fines for those found guilty. I call bull on that!

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  • BadWxDude
    Voted Disagree
    02/12/2019
    ···

    I don’t care what the super rich feel about taxes. We the People matter, you do not.

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  • Lowe
    Voted Disagree
    02/12/2019
    ···

    You know how you fix that problem, Bill? You tax the money that people of your financial status place in overseas accounts. You could also close the tax loopholes that you and your ilk enjoy. I mean, here we are dying and going bankrupt from lack of healthcare and you’re whining about taxes that you’re probably going to avoid anyway. We’re definitely focused on the right things. If we weren’t, billionaires like you wouldn’t be flapping their squawk boxes.

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  • Naushad
    Voted Agree
    02/12/2019
    ···

    I have lived in the socialist country. As human beings we are different and trying to make us all equal doesn’t work. You can’t redistribute the wealth and think it will be an economic equalizer.

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  • IllWill
    Voted Disagree
    02/12/2019
    ···

    Of course Bill Gates would be against something that affects him personally. What him and many other wealthy people always seem to omit when they talk about tax rates is that the top marginal tax rate in the U.S. was above 70% from the 1940s to the early 1980s when Reagan gave them a huge tax cut. During most of those years, our economy was running just great and wealthy people like him never made a big deal about it.

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  • doingmypart
    Voted Disagree
    02/12/2019
    ···

    I agree 100% with burrkitty! Love the math, gives excessive wealth a new perspective.

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  • I.Got.an.Idea...
    Voted Disagree
    02/12/2019
    ···

    We have 100’s of years of historical documents that demonstrate that when the United States had higher tax rates for the wealthy, the wealthy , the middle class and the poor did most ch better, economically and personally. It is also proven in other societies with progressive tax rates. The “Trickle-Down” theory has been proven to NOT work. The recent tax breaks for the wealthy is a “Trickle-Down” tactic and is proving to harm the middle class and the poor, economically and personally.

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  • Arlene
    Voted Agree
    02/12/2019
    ···

    Gates is right. Majority of the wealthy income is NOT income. It’s stocks etc. So he’s correct that increasing income tax on the rich won’t do squat. However, if the income from investments can be INCREMENTALLY raised, say 2% per year, up to a max of 45% tax on income over 10 million, that would bring in cash and not send investments to tax havens overseas.

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  • SneakyPete
    Voted Agree
    02/12/2019
    ···

    I’M IN FULL AGREEMENT MWITH BILL GATES COMMENTS. “Philanthropist and Microsoft founder Bill Gates said in an interview with The Verge that "extreme" tax reform proposals, like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's (D-N.Y.) proposed 70% marginal rate on income earned over $10 million, are "missing the picture" and a "misfocus" that will lead the wealthy to stash their cash overseas.” What he's saying: While he favors the idea of "more progressive" marginal rates, Gates said the wealthiest Americans have a "rounding error" of actual salary, and instead generate their wealth by selling stock and other assets: "In terms of revenue collection, you wouldn’t want to just focus on the ordinary income rate, because people who are wealthy have a rounding error of ordinary income." SneakyPete........ 👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻. 2*12*19.........

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  • Dave
    Voted Disagree
    02/12/2019
    ···

    Philanthropist and Microsoft founder Bill Gates one of 26 billionaire that own more then half of the wealth of the world. They spend their time lobbying and Fighting against being taxed and paying their share. They donated every little to nonprofits that supported their interests. Nonprofits don’t build infrastructure, rebuild communities or states. Most billionaires wouldn’t be Caught dead with the average American or Let alone the poor. In the 60’s the tax on the wealth was 90%. We had the biggest advance in the US and extended into the 70’s. That is what made America great being fair. Some would say it redistribution of wealth and yes it is, no different then shifting the cost of the burden to the middle class. This is trickle up. There is no reason for billionaires! People will say they work for it, but it off the backs of others low wages around the world. They already hide their money around the world! A teacher making 40,000 pay 25% of her income in taxes a billionaire at best pay 15 %, most have loopholes and Off shore account to hide their money and that will never change! They fight against unions, government taxes and higher wages / minimum wages!

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