Ex-Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer on paying more taxes and billionaire bashing

'Shouldn't engage in this crazy vilification'

Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has become the latest billionaire to wade into the debate about taxing the wealthy, joining his colleague Bill Gates.

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"My attitude about this is I've been very fortunate," Ballmer said Thursday on FOX Business' "Your World with Neil Cavuto." "If the will of the people is that I should pay more, I will pay more. I certainly know that there are things I believe in that might require much more."

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Ballmer and Gates are among wealthy Americans targeted by progressive presidential candidates such as 2020 hopeful Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who continues to court controversy with her proposed wealth tax.

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Last week, Gates expressed doubts when asked about Warren's wealth tax, and on Thursday, Ballmer's fellow billionaire and NBA team owner Mark Cuban told FOX Business' Maria Bartiromo that Warren is "demonizing" the rich and is "taking a page from Donald Trump’s winning playbook" in her attempt at a populist appeal.

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Ballmer, who owns the NBA's Los Angeles Clippers, said he is "offended when candidates of all types" smear anyone.

"Vilification of other people is not valuable, whether it's done by Ds or Rs, whether it's done to the more affluent or the less affluent," he said. "If we're going to have a constructive dialog grounded in the facts, we probably shouldn't engage in this crazy vilification."

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Ballmer is also the founder of USAFacts, a nonpartisan, nonprofit "data-driven portrait of the American population, our government’s finances, and government’s impact on society," according to its website. Its mission is to educate Americans on the facts around timely issues. A new poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and USAFacts covered views on tax policy.

Another issue Ballmer is passionate about is a balanced budget.

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"We have a problem," he said. "I do believe in balancing our budget. We'll have a deficit of about $1 trillion on a total tax base that's only about $4.5 trillion, closer to $5 trillion. Now, you stop and think about that. That's a huge amount of money."