Billionaire philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates appeared on "The Late Show" and were asked about the rhetoric and political proposals that have been circulating among the American left.
The "Late Show" host, Stephen Colbert, questioned the couple if they heard the conversation about how "billionaires should not exist", particularly by the progressive representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY.
"We have," replied Melinda Gates.
"What would you say to people who say that billionaires should not exist?" Colbert asked.
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"Well, we could be biased," the founder of Microsoft joked. "I think you can make the tax system take a much larger share of people with great wealth."
"Seventy percent?" Colbert interjected, prompting cheers in his audience.
"That's ordinary income, these large fortunes were not made through ordinary income, so you probably have to look at the capital gains rate and the wealth tax if you want to create more capital there," Gates explained. "So I think it's a great debate. I think if you say that there is a total upper limit that may have more negative than positive points, but I can have a distorted view of this. "
When asked how high tax rates work on the rich in other countries they have visited, Gates' wife said "not necessarily so well."
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"In fact, there have been many times when you are in France where they say, 'Wow, we wish we could have a Bill Gates.' We wish we could have such a vibrant technology sector, but taxes have been made there in such a way that do not stimulate good growth, "said Melinda Gates," So we believe in a good tax system that should tax the rich more than the low-income people. "
"More than what is currently being taxed?" Colbert asked.
"Yes, absolutely," she replied.
"We have been lobbying in favor of increasing the estate tax," said the Microsoft executive. "That could be increased a bit, it used to be 55%."
"We believe that to those who are given a lot, they expect a lot. And that means you need to have a fair tax system that imposes taxes on the rich rather than the middle and low incomes, and you need to have a dynamic philanthropic sector. Philanthropy can never compensate taxes, but it is that catalytic wedge where we can prove things, we can make innovations that you would not want your government to do with the tax dollars, but then it has to be the government that increases things like Health or education, "added Ms. Gates.