Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, who has a net worth over $100 billion, has slammed the tax policies of Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren, saying her proposals could hurt building innovative companies in the U.S.
Speaking at the New York Times DealBook Conference in a wide-ranging interview, Gates said if taxes are raised too much, “you do risk the capital formation, innovation” seen in the country. Gates, who notes that he is a “primary beneficiary” of the tax system, added that he is “all for super-progressive tax systems,” but would become extraordinarily concerned if the system was drastically altered.
“I’ve paid over $10 billion in taxes, I’ve paid more than anyone in taxes,” he continued. “If I’d had to have paid $20 billion in taxes – fine. But, when you say I should pay $100 billion, ‘OK, I’m starting to do a little math about what I have left over,'” Gates jokingly said during the interview.
Gates said he does not agree with Warren’s stance that billionaires should not exist at all in the U.S. “Maybe I’m just too biased to think that if you create a company that’s super-valuable, that at least some part of that, you should be able to have – a little bit for consumption, and hopefully the balance to do philanthropic things,” Gates continued.
The 64-year-old Gates said he had not spoken to Warren about her proposals, but added he is unsure if she would be willing to meet with him. “You know, I’m not sure how open-minded she is,” the billionaire philanthropist continued. “Or that she’d even be willing to sit down with somebody who has large amounts of money.”
He also refused to say whether he would vote for Warren, should she win the Democratic presidential primary, or if he favors President Trump in the 2020 presidential election. “I’m not gonna, you know, make political declarations,” he said.
“I hope the more professional candidate is an electable candidate,” he added.
Following his comments, Warren tweeted that she would be willing to meet with Gates and attempted to reassure him he would not pay $100 billion in taxes.
“I’m always happy to meet with people, even if we have different views,” she tweeted. “[Bill Gates], 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.)”
Fox News’ Danielle Wallace, Paul Steinhauser and Adam Shaw, as well as Fox Business’ Megan Henney and Brittany De Lea contributed to this report.