Speaking at the New York Times DealBook conference on Wednesday, Bill Gates balked at Warren’s tax policies. “I’ve paid over $10bn in taxes. I’ve paid more than anyone in taxes,” he said. “If I had to pay $20bn, it’s fine.” “But when you say I should pay $100bn, then I’m starting to do a little math over what I have leftover.”
Warren, who has proposed a 6% tax on wealth over 10 figures, reassured Gates that he wouldn’t have to pay $100bn, and offered to meet with him to explain.
I'm always happy to meet with people, even if we have different views. @BillGates, if we get the chance, I'd love to explain exactly how much you'd pay under my wealth tax. (I promise it's not $100 billion.) https://t.co/m6G20hDNaV
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) November 7, 2019
At the conference, Gates had said, “I’m not sure how open-minded she is – or that she’d even be willing to sit down with somebody who has large amounts of money.”
Warren responded: “I’m always happy to meet with people, even if we have different views.”
Despite being a vocal critic of Donald Trump, Gates also wouldn’t commit to supporting Warren in a hypothetical race between her and Trump: “I’m not going to make political declarations. But I do think no matter what policy somebody has in mind … whoever I decide will have the more professional approach in the current situation, probably is the thing I will weigh the most. And I hope that the more professional candidate is an electable candidate.”
Critics pointed out that the Microsoft founder and philanthropist would still remain extremely wealthy under Warren’s plan.
If Elizabeth Warren passed her extra 6 percent wealth tax on fortunes over $1 billion and Bill Gates never gained a single dollar again from any of his investments, he'd still be a billionaire 60 years from now https://t.co/rcAZCLthkx
— Lee Fang (@lhfang) November 6, 2019
And even if he were to pay that much, he’d still have some money left over.
Even if someone was asking Bill Gates to pay 100 billion in taxes (they're not), he'd have 6 billion left over https://t.co/jnslbzT1Sv
— Steadman™ (@AsteadWesley) November 6, 2019
This isn’t the first time Warren has contended with disgruntled billionaires. Last week, the billionaire money manager Leon Cooperman exchanged tense words with Warren on Twitter and sent her a letter criticizing her “vilification of the rich”.
“Leon can and should pitch in more,” she responded, “so that every kid has the same opportunities he did to succeed”.