Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates rejected the idea of voluntarily donating to the U.S. Treasury after calling for the U.S. government to raise taxes on the wealthy.
“When I say the government needs to raise more money, some people ask why Melinda and I don’t voluntarily pay more in taxes than the law requires,” Gates, the second-richest person in the world, wrote in a recent blog post. “The answer is that simply leaving it up to people to give more than the government asks for is not a scalable solution. People pay taxes as an obligation of law and citizenship, not out of charity. Additional voluntary giving will never raise enough money for everything the government needs to do.”
In June, PJM had asked Gates if he plans to voluntarily donate to the federal government in the absence of tax increases but he did not respond to the question.
Gates argued that “Americans in the top one percent can afford to pay a lot more before they stop going to work or creating jobs.” He referred to the creation of Microsoft to support his position on taxes.
“In the 1970s, when Paul Allen and I were starting Microsoft, marginal tax rates were almost twice the top rate today. It didn’t hurt our incentive to build a great company,” he said.
Gates called for increasing the capital gains tax, “probably to the same level as taxes on labor” as well as raising the estate or “death” tax.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), a Democratic presidential candidate, has called for the implementation of a “wealth tax.” Gates explained that he supports “taxing large fortunes that have been held for a long time,” perhaps “ten years or more.”
“Very wealthy people often have large investments they’ve held for long periods, and if those investments aren’t sold or traded, the money is never taxed. That doesn’t make sense,” Gates said.