(Verge) Bill Gates thinks taxes can be higher.
Speaking on The Vergecast this week, Gates said that while marginal tax rates in the United States can be “more progressive” — higher, in other words — there are now some politicians who are “so extreme” that their proposals would lead to wealthy people hiding income and stashing it offshore. That’s a clear reference to new members of Congress like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), who had just suggested a new top tax rate of 70 percent in the week before Gates sat for this interview.
Gates also said that the world’s wealthiest people only have a “rounding error” worth of actual income compared to their wealth — they don’t have a lot of salary, but instead sell stocks and other assets to raise cash, which isn’t taxed as income anyway. The top 400 earners in the US are only paying something like a 20 percent tax rate, he pointed out. “It has nothing to do with the 39.6 percent marginal ordinary income rate. So it’s a misfocus. If you focus on that, you’re missing the picture.”
Advertisement - story continues below