- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates said the latest progressive tax plans are “so extreme” and focused on the wrong tax elements.

In an interview with The Verge published Tuesday, the Microsoft co-founder said is a “misfocus” to emphasize reforms to the marginal income rate, since the highest earners have much of their wealth in stock.

“In terms of revenue collection, you wouldn’t want to just focus on the ordinary income rate, because people who are wealthy have a rounding error of ordinary income,” he said. “If you focus on that, you’re missing the picture.”

Mr. Gates noted that the U.S. tax system can be more progressive by focusing on estate and capital taxes. He warned that the plans recently touted by politicians are “so extreme” that they create an incentive for the wealthy to shelter their income.

“We can be more progressive without really threatening income generation — what you have left to decide how to spread around,” he said.

Progressive tax plans that hike rates for the economy’s top earners have caught much attention as proposals have been rolled out by the likes of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and presidential hopeful Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez created a flurry of economic debate when she floated a 60-70 percent marginal tax rate for those that make more than $10 million. Her plan gained endorsement from presidential candidate Julian Castro.

Ms. Warren pitched an “ultra-millionaire tax” that would impose a two percent tax annually on the wealthy elite with net worths greater than $50 million.

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