The Democratic Party establishment seems to have had enough of freshman Congresswoman Alexandria Oscasio-Cortez (D-NY). Now, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is taking swipes at her.
In an interview on a podcast at tech website The Verge, the famous billionaire said that the tax proposals laid out by Ocasio-Cortez — 70% for everyone above $10 million – misses the big picture. According to Gates, there exists a difference between the government running efficient programs and taxing people into oblivion.
“Certainly, the idea of government being more effective in terms of how it runs education or social programs, there’s a lot of opportunity for improvement there,” Gates said in the podcast, according to Fox News. “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.”
He continued: “They have income that just is the value of their stock, which if they don’t sell it, it doesn’t show up as income at all, or if it shows up, it shows over in the capital gains side. So the ability of hedge fund people, various people — they aren’t paying that ordinary income rate.”
“The one thing that never gets much press — the IRS shows the statistics for the top 400 people of the highest income and the rate they pay. Anyway, you should look at that. It’s about a 20 percent rate, so it has nothing to do with the 39.6 marginal ordinary income rate. So it’s a misfocus. If you focus on that, you’re missing the picture.”
The Microsoft co-founder went on to say that the tax plans proposed by the likes of Ocasio-Cortez would have a negative effect by creating tax dodging schemes, causing “income to show up in other countries and things.” Though Gates does propose a “more progressive” tax rate, he thinks it should not stifle income generation.
“We can be more progressive without really threatening income generation — what you have left to decide how to spread around,” Gates said.
The billionaire’s condemnation of Ocasio-Cortez follows several other establishment-oriented Democrtic figures who have begun distancing themselves from her democratic socialism. According to Politico, several Democratic lawmakers have been working to rein her in.
“Some lawmakers with ties to Ocasio-Cortez are hoping to coax her into using her star power to unite Democrats and turn her fire on Republicans,” reports Politico. “Others simultaneously warn Ocasio-Cortez is destined for a lonely, ineffectual career in Congress if she continues to treat her own party as the enemy.”
“Incumbent Democrats are most annoyed by Ocasio-Cortez’s threat to back primary opponents against members of their ranks she deems too moderate,” the report continued. “But their frustration goes beyond that: Democratic leaders are upset that she railed against their new set of House rules on Twitter the first week of the new Congress. Rank and file are peeved that there’s a grassroots movement to try to win her a top committee post they feel she doesn’t deserve.”