Bill Gates is not happy. Bill Gates does not think he should pay any more in taxes than he already does. Bill Gates has a net worth of $96.5 billion. Bill Gates thinks he should decide the best use for his money via philanthropy. Bill Gates is the poster child for why billionaires should be taxed out of existence.
In my lifetime I have seen Republican tax cut after tax cut. Every single one of those tax cuts was supposed to bring us trickle-down prosperity. Trickle-down has never worked—unless you believe The Onion:
HAZELWOOD, MO—Twenty-six years after Ronald Reagan first set his controversial fiscal policies into motion, the deceased president’s massive tax cuts for the ultrarich at last trickled all the way down to deliver their bounty, in the form of a $10 bonus, to Hazelwood, MO car-wash attendant Frank Kellener.“Back when Reagan was in charge, I didn’t think much of him,” Kellener, 57, said, holding up two five-dollar bills nearly three decades in the making. “But who would have thought that in 2007 I’d have this extra $10 in my pocket? He may not have lived to see it, but I’m sure President Reagan is up in heaven smiling down on me right now.”
We all know the story: In the 1950s, the top tax rate was 90 percent. It dropped to 50 percent under Reagan, and now sits at 37 percent. When the tax rate was higher, we as a nation did things. We put men on the moon and built the interstate highway system. We built schools and parks, and sent our children to college without gaining boatloads of debt. We saw wages and productivity climb at the same rate, until the late ‘70s and early ‘80s—right around the time Reagan cut the top tax rate to 50 percent.
Productivity kept climbing while wages have stayed stagnant. People like Bill Gates amassed fortunes. $96,500,000,000 is a lot of money, yet we still have people in this country who are going bankrupt from medical bills.
Most Americans would not be touched by the upper tax rate going up to 70 percent.
In 2016, the latest year for which government data is available, approximately 16,000 Americans earned more than $10m each. These are not in fact “the 1 per cent” many on the left like to talk about – they are a much smaller slice, fewer than 0.05 per cent of all US households.
After Andrew Carnegie amassed his fortune during the Gilded Age, he decided to live out the rest of his days giving away his considerable fortune.
During his lifetime, Carnegie gave away over $350 million.
Many persons of wealth have contributed to charity, but Carnegie was perhaps the first to state publicly that the rich have a moral obligation to give away their fortunes. In 1889, he wrote The Gospel of Wealth, in which he asserted that all personal wealth beyond that required to supply the needs of one’s family should be regarded as a trust fund to be administered for the benefit of the community.
Bill and Melinda Gates are also practicing philanthropy. However, we should not have to beg the ultra-rich for handouts. We should not have to hope that they pick us, or our charity. Instead of begging for handouts from the ultra-wealthy, we should be leveling the playing field for all of us.
Bill Gates disagrees with the playing field being leveled.
But the Microsoft co-founder said some of the left-wing proposals were “so extreme” it would only push the wealthiest people in the US to hide more of their income from the tax authorities.
The man who unleashed the twin horrors of Windows ME and Windows Vista on the world thinks going back to something we once did would be a horrible idea because it would cause really rich people to cheat on their taxes. An alternative to that would be the ultra-rich could invest in their businesses by raising the wages they pay to their employees, and providing better benefits, thus lowering their tax liability, thus actually spreading the wealth, and rising all boats instead of just their own.
Like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, I believe it is immoral for billionaires to exist in a world where children go hungry. It is immoral for billionaires to exist in a world where people are dying due to a lack of health care.
Everyone has a right to earn a living, and if you are lucky enough to get rich, good on you. But there is no place in this world for excessive wealth, and there is no way anyone one person is ever going to spend $96.5 million dollars—not even during multiple lifetimes.