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Bill Gates Blasts Elizabeth Warren Over Her Wealth Tax
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 06: Andrew Ross Sorkin, Editor at Large, Columnist and Founder, DealBook, The New York Times speaks with Bill Gates, Co-Chair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation onstage at 2019 New York Times Dealbook on November 06, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Cohen/Getty Images for The New York Times)
Photo by Michael Cohen/Getty Images for The New York Times

Microsoft founder Bill Gates had some choice words for Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) at the New York Times DealBook Conference Wednesday, telling the audience that he was undecided on who to vote for in a Warren versus President Donald Trump matchup, and questioned Warren’s habit of degrading wealth.

“I’m all for super-progressive tax systems,” Gates told the audience. “I’ve paid over $10 billion in taxes. I’ve paid more than anyone in taxes. If I 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,” he continued. “You really want the incentive system to be there without threatening that.”

When a country raises its taxes too high, Gates, who has a $100 billion net worth, claimed, “you do risk the capital formation, innovation.”

Gates’ biggest concern seems to be Warren’s habit of villifying wealth and the wealthy, and failing to consider what billionaires like Gates ultimately contribute beyond simply being a font for tax dollars to fund expensive, expansive government programs with questionable effectiveness.

“Maybe I’m just too biased to think that if you create a company that’s super-valuable, that at least some part of that, you should be able to have — a little bit for consumption, and hopefully the balance to do philanthropic things,” Gates added, referencing the hundreds of billions he’s given away to programs fighting malaria in Africa, promoting global equality, promoting population control, and tackling climate change — all priorities of a possible Warren administration.

Gates concluded by questioning Warren’s willingness to listen to opposing points of view, even if they come from figures like Gates, who are clearly left-leaning politically, even to the point of contributing regularly to Democratic politicians. Gates, in comparison to other tech billionaires, is a stingy political donor but the Gates Foundation gives overwhelmingly to Democrats, according to Open Secrets.

“You know, I’m not sure how open-minded she is,” the billionaire philanthropist continued. “Or that she’d even be willing to sit down with somebody who has large amounts of money.”

When asked whether he’d vote for Warren over Trump, Gates was non-commital.

“I’m not going to make political declarations,” he said. “But I do think no matter what policy somebody has in mind, a professional approach is even, as much as I disagree with some of the policy things that are out there, I do think a professional approach to the office is … whoever I decide will have the more professional approach in the current situation probably is the thing that I will weigh the most. And I hope that the more professional candidate is an electable candidate.”

Warren, not one to take a hint from Gates or anyone else, responded to Gates’ concerns by indicating that she’d be happy to help him calculate his tax burden under her plans.

“I’m always happy to meet with people, even if we have different views,” Warren tweeted. “@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.)”

But it’s not immediately clear that she can promise it won’t be $100 billion — or that anyone who regularly pays taxes will have much left over after she gets through with them. She only promises that they’ll get a return on investment from a heavy tax system.

“Yes, billionaires will have to pay a little more, but they will still likely pay less than what they would earn just from putting their assets into an index fund and doing nothing,” Warren wrote in her tax “plan” released last week after complaints surfaced that she would be unable to pay for her massive “Medicare-for-All” program without raising taxes across the board.

Leftists who support Warren had an answer to her “Gates” problem, though: cancel Bill Gates.

Anand Giridharadas, an editor-at-large for TIME magazine spoke for his bretheren.

“Philanthropy is no substitute for taxation and a fairer set of social arrangements,” Giridharadas went on to say.

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