Nov. 8, 2019
Senator Elizabeth Warren has devoted plenty of her time on the 2020 presidential campaign trail promising to raise taxes on billionaires. For some reason, many billionaires do not care for this idea.
Earlier this week, Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates said at a New York Times DealBook conference that he’s already paid $10 billion in taxes and that if “had to have paid $20 billion, it’s fine. But when you say I should pay $100 billion, then I’m starting to do a little math about what I have left over.”
Gates added that he was “just kidding.” But Gates is hardly the only billionaire who has questioned or had far worse things to say about Elizabeth Warren’s wealth tax. In a teary-eyed appearance on CNBC this week, hedge fund manager (and billionaire) Leon Cooperman said that he doesn’t “need Elizabeth Warren telling me that I’m a deadbeat and that billionaires are deadbeats.” Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire entrepreneur, former mayor of New York City, and possible 2020 presidential candidate, has said that Elizabeth Warren’s wealth tax “probably is unconstitutional.”
But in addition to her outspoken campaign to increase taxes on the rich, Senator Warren has distinguished herself from the other candidates vying to be the Democratic nominee for president via her social media savvy. In response to Gates’ comments, Warren tweeted “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.)”
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
In an effort to avoid further confusion and make life “easier” for the ultra-rich, the Warren campaign has unveiled an online Calculator For The Billionaires.
Warren’s wealth tax calculator comes preloaded with options to see how much Michael Bloomberg, Bill Gates, and Leon Cooperman would pay in taxes under her plan. You can also see how much billionaires like Jeff Bezos, Charles Koch, and Jamie Dimon would pay in taxes under Elizabeth Warren’s plan.
For the record, the calculator estimates that if Elizabeth Warren’s billionaire tax went into effect, Bill Gates would pay $6.379 billion in taxes next year, while the world’s richest man Jeff Bezos would pay slightly more, $6.697 billion.
Bill Gates’ and Jeff Bezos’s net worth are currently estimated at $109 billion and $112 billion, respectively. So they theoretically would still be worth over $100 billion each even after accounting for Elizabeth Warren’s wealth tax.
Meanwhile, Michael Bloomberg would owe $3.079 billion under Warren’s tax plan, while Cooperman would have to cough up a mere $151 million.
You don’t worry too much about them, though, because the website points out that “you’ll still be extraordinarily rich! And if history is any guide, if you do nothing other than invest your wealth in the stock market, it’s likely that your wealth will continue to grow.”
The Warren campaign released its amusing online calculator the same week that CNBC reports there are now “2,101 billionaires globally – up almost 40% from five years ago.” The report then clarified that in that “five-year period, their combined wealth grew by more than a third (34.5%) to reach a total of $8.5 trillion. The report covers the years 2013 to 2018.”
It is unclear how all of these new billionaires feel about Elizabeth Warren’s tax plans.