Bill Gates: My $109 billion net worth shows the economy is not fair
Bill Gates — the second richest person in the world with a current net worth of $108.8 billion, according to Forbes — says his extreme wealth is not fair.
“The distance between top and bottom incomes in the United States is much greater than it was 50 years ago,” Gates wrote in a blog post reflecting on 2019 published Tuesday. (Indeed, American income inequality is at its highest level in decades, according to U.S. Census Bureau’s Gini index.)
“A few people end up with a great deal—I’ve been disproportionately rewarded for the work I’ve done—while many others who work just as hard struggle to get by,” he wrote.
To solve the problem, Gates said the U.S. government should raise taxes that affect the wealthy.
“I’m for a tax system in which, if you have more money, you pay a higher percentage in taxes. I think the rich should pay more than they currently do, and that includes Melinda and me,” Gates wrote, referring to his wife.
Specifically, he said there should be a higher capital gains tax (a tax on money made on investments), which would disproportionately affect the wealthy. None of the richest people in the world have made their fortunes solely through a salaried job, and for that reason Gates believes the government “should shift more of the tax burden onto capital” rather than labor.
“I don’t see any reason to favor wealth over work the way we do today,” he wrote. It’s “the clearest evidence I’ve seen that the system isn’t fair,” he said.
Billionaire tech entrepreneur and investor Mark Cuban has also highlighted how the difference between the investor class and paid labor is a factor in the wealth gap.
“If someone is only going to be paid by the hour...they’re always going to fall behind,” Cuban told Recode Decode in May. “And income distribution is ... [the] disparity is going to get wider and wider.”
While Cuban has called paying taxes “patriotic,” he also suggests founders and owners should distribute stock in the company to employees to bring them into the investor class.
Cuban said he did just that with online streaming service Broadcast.com, which Cuban co-founded and sold to Yahoo in 1999 for almost $6 billion in stock. “Three hundred out of 330 [Broadcast.com] employees became millionaires” at the time of its sale, Cuban previously told CNBC Make It.
Fundamentally, whether through taxes or philanthropy, extraordinary wealth needs to be reinvested in society, according to Gates.
Цікаво, а найбагатші люди України колись виступлять за більше оподаткування себе, і подадуться в філантропію? Чи українська держава недостатньо дала їм можливостей розбагатіти?