Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-n.y., center, listens as President, Donald Trump delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Billionaire philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates appeared on The “Late Show” and were asked about the rhetoric and the policy proposals that are circulating among the American left.
“Late Show” host Stephen Colbert questioned the couple if they have heard the chatter about how billionaires “should not exist,” in particular, the progressive darling Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY.
“We have,” Melinda responded.
“What would you say to people who say that billionaires shouldn’t exist?” Colbert asked.
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“Well, we might be biased,” the Microsoft founder joked. “I think that the tax system has a much larger share of people with great wealth.”
“Seventy percent?” Colbert chimed in, which led to cheers from the audience.
“That is ordinary income. These great fortunes were not made through ordinary income. So you probably have to look at the capital gains rate and the estate tax if you want more power you have,” Gates elaborated. “So I think that is a great debate. I think if you go as far as to say that there is a total upper limit, which may be more minuses than pluses, but I might have a distorted view of this.”
When asked how the high tax burden on the rich work in other countries that they have visited, Ports wife expressed “is not necessarily good.”
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“In fact, there are many times when you are in France, where they will say: ‘Gosh, we wish we could have Bill Gates. We want to be as a lively tech sector, but the taxes are made in such a way that it doesn’t actually encourage good growth,” Melinda Gates elaborated. “So we believe in a tax system that taxes the wealthy more than low-income people, that’s for sure.”
“More than what currently is in charge?” Colbert asked.
“Yes, absolutely”, she replied.
“We have lobbied in favor of increasing the estate tax,” the Microsoft executive said. “That can be increased quite a bit. It is used to 55%.”
“We are of the opinion that to whom much is given, much is expected. And that means that you need to have a fair tax system that taxes the rich more than the low/middle income and you have a vibrant philanthropic sector. Philanthropy can never make up for the taxes, but is that the catalytic wedge, where we can try things, we can the innovations that you do not want your government using taxpayers ‘ money, but then it is the government that scales up to things like health care or education,” Mrs Gates added.