Bill Gates happy to pay more tax - but jokes US$100 billion more is a bit steep
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has become the latest billionaire to criticise US presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren for her signature wealth tax.
In an appearance at the New York Times DealBook Conference, Gates said he had paid US$10 billion (NZ$15.7 billion) in taxes and wouldn't have minded paying twice that, but joked that, "When you say I should pay US$100b then I'm starting to do a little math about what I have left over."
Gates supports higher estate taxes and "super progressive tax systems," but questioned whether Warren's 6 per cent tax on assets of the wealthy would prove counterproductive.
"I do think if you tax too much, you do risk the capital formation'' and innovation, as well as imperiling the US "as the desirable place to do innovative companies," he said.
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He said he had not spoken to Warren about her tax plans. "I'm not sure how open-minded she is," he said, or that she'd want to talk to "somebody who has large amounts of money.".
Warren's tax would apply to households worth US$50 million or more, and would pay for a bevy of progressive proposals including her US$21 trillion Medicare For All plan.
Two other billionaires, JP Morgan Chase & Co chief executive Jamie Dimon and investor Leon Cooperman, have criticised Warren's wealth tax.
She responded to both via Twitter, saying they should be willing to pay more in taxes to help others achieve the American Dream.