Billionaire Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has made no secret that he thinks wealthy Americans should be paying more in taxes – but he’s not so sure a wealth tax would be the best way to go about it.
During an interview with Bloomberg this week, Gates hinted he might support a wealth tax, though he said he doubted the U.S. would implement one.
“I wouldn’t be against a wealth tax,” he said. “Unless you get a lot of nations … dealing with some of the problems – like people leaving the country or how do you do these valuations that can get quite complicated … if society got behind a wealth tax, yes you can raise money that way.”
Gates added that not many countries have a wealth tax because – particularly in Europe – it is easy for wealthy residents to up and move to a new residence.
In fact, wealth taxes have been dropped by a number of countries due in part to how difficult they are to administer, from 12 in 1990 to just 3 today.
A number of 2020 Democrats, including Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, have advocated for a wealth tax, which would target the value of assets owned by rich Americans (or their net worth).
Among those are increasing estate tax rates and raising taxes on capital gains so that they are closer to income tax rates.
“The government is spending more than it takes in, so at some point … somebody is going to pay more in taxes and I do think that should be done in a progressive fashion,” Gates told Bloomberg.
He has indicated he does not support raising the top income tax rate on the wealthy to rates as high as 70 percent, as has been proposed by some Democrats like New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. That, he said, can create tax evasion and disincentives.