Bill Gates debates Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez 'tax the rich' policy

His dad’s book, Showing Up for Life, was required reading in one of my grad courses.

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"… wealthy people hiding income and stashing it offshore. " OK then - how about a 110% tax on “hidden” money?


The same goes for property taxes in a poor real estate market, sales taxes or VAT when spending is slow and estate taxes when evil people just refuse to die.

You’re right. It is complicated and requires plenty thought and a multi-pronged approach. From changing rates to how we handle and enforce proper payment of existing tax. It will also require reform over time. But avoiding discussion about and implementation of tax reform that effects higher incomes and more wealthy people because the system is too complicated and unfair make no sense.

Also, tweets and slogans get politicians having to speak up and form their own public facing opinions. As tiring and unproductive as they feel people have to move to meet them. Just like the discussion we’re having now.


extremely high taxes can actually remove the incentive to work, etc.

If you’re making more than $10 million a year in income, I actually WANT you to do less work. Take a break and let other people in to spread the money around.

There is an old anecdote about Ronald Reagan where he would complain about passing up acting jobs after he’d hit the top bracket because he was giving away so much money that it didn’t make it worth it. Good! That’s actually great! That means that more actors are getting work, spreading the money around and employing more people. Rather than being another million given to a guy who can use it to buy his fourth house or his third wife. It’s not like he was living in poverty - the whole point of the story is that he had so much income he was in the top tax bracket.


Did Gates acknowledge that Warren and Sanders already have proposed wealth and estate taxes?


That may already be part of her proposal, for all I know. I know Warren has suggested the same thing. Are you sure AOC isn’t already on board?

Oh also, there will be no more cows.

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You can’t get much more basic than a wall. Apparently, that’s what this administration wants us to pour our tax dollars into. The rest of our country’s problems are nothing compared to thwarting the invaders from the south. /s

(eta) Joking aside, I feel like you bring up good points.

One of…

(insert guillotine.gif)

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I read an article saying AOC’s reasoning behind ultra high taxes on income is to help solve pay inequality, not generate more tax revenue.The argument was if the board of mega corp x knows that paying the CEO 10 million a year is going to be taxed at 70%, they would have reason to pay the peons who actually do all the work a more. They would probably just find a bonus tax loophole to pay the CEO but whatever. I don’t know the legitimacy of the argument.

But yes. As long as people are starving and making a horrible minimum wage while CEOs are grossly wealthy and making XXX% the average employee wage. Tax them to high hell on income and wealth. Socialist societies are the happiest in the world.


Waitaminute, reasonableness and agreement in non-animated-gif form, here in Boing Boing?!? We’re on to you, pod-person. . . .


To characterize this idea as “so extreme” is… telling. Gates is correct in the need to tax capitol gains and wealth, but these aren’t concepts in opposition to anything AOC has said, and have been proposed by that “extreme,” explicitly capitalist Elizabeth warren. Not like they’re mutually exclusive.

So his critique is cute… it stikes me as fairly gross billionaire mansplaining. Pretty sure these “extremists” are well aware of how wealth is generated and maintained. If raising marginal income rates won’t change much for these rich guys, then what’s the problem? The fact is, he is very confident that taxes on capital gains won’t go up, nor estate taxes, so he can smugly suggest them without consequence.

It’s true that any attempt to redistribute wealth will be hard. It’s complicated and will require a multi-faceted approach to contain capital flight and avoidance schemes. Whatever redistribution plan is proposed will be met with significant opposition by the ruling class.


What crap! Don’t tax them because they are good at avoiding taxes? I mean, please try a little harder than that or don’t bother to post. The only thing worse than shitposting is lazy shitposting.


It’s why I support removing capital gains tax and put all assets in the income category for tax purposes since it is income. Just because they don’t draw a salary doesn’t imply it’s not income from proceeds of labor or other methods of earning one’s daily bread. They’re identical in effect so ditch the distinction I say.


I’d be OK with a judge having the authority to put tax-dodging individuals and corporations on an official Unamerican Americans List. So that when some rich fucks say “fuck this, I’m leaving!” then their destination country can easily look them up and say, “Uhm, no thanks. We’d expect you to pay taxes in our country. I hear North Korea and Pakistan are looking for some foreign investment, though!”

Also, confiscate passport and seize assets. I mean, the cops do it already.

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Gates uses Linux? The old NT kernel was Xenix, does that count? :thinking:


These are legitimate points. Maybe those who replied with snark would understand more clearly if “remove the incentive to work” was put as “remove the incentive to have taxable events.”

Rich people have resources that allow them to massage income and assets in amazing ways. If our tax code says “X is taxable,” then there is someone out there figuring out how to report less of X on a client’s tax return. A good tax code overhaul will be smart about side effects like pushing income and assets off the tax return.

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Not really, no. Compared to the current situation, if the increased tax revenue fluctuates, that’s still vastly superior to more stable, but massively less, tax revenue.

Simple is better. Make all incoming money and goods income. In your example, if “X is taxable” then set value of X to all income, regardless of source.

If nothing else, increasing the tax rates makes it much, much harder to hide the income. “Mr. Richface, you listed you income last year as $222,000 and net worth of $555,000. Could you explain how you can afford a brand new Gulfstream Citation?”


That’s the thing I honed in on. If raising the marginal tax rate is so ineffective then what’s the harm of doing it? It would be better to raise the rate, have it not work out as well as expected and have Bill point and say he was right, than just give up because, well, Bill said it wouldn’t work so why bother.


I’m mostly on your side. The problem and it’s always the problem, things that affect the wealthy hit the normal harder. I believe capital gains taxes are set the way they are for retirees. So if we taxed capital gains the same way we taxed earned revenue then a whole lot of pensioners would be eating cat food. I had a thought of splitting up capital gains tax rates based on age, but then an industrious lawyer would claim that was ageism.


For a start, let’s scrape off all the welfare for the rich, drop those tax breaks and loopholes so that they’re paying the same rate as everyone else.

Win that fight, and go on from there.


Please review how both retirement income and marginal tax rates work and try again.