Dori: Sorry, Bill Gates, you’re wrong about an income tax
One of the most influential voices in our state, Bill Gates, is calling for an income tax in a blog post.
I am incredulous that Bill Gates, who chooses to give money not by writing checks to the state government, but philanthropically through his foundation, would then turn around and tell us to give our money to government. Gates has done wonderful charitable work with his money, but it has been through his foundation, not through the government.
I admire Gates’ philanthropy and respect it. He has done fantastic things for this world. But two of the things he has always demanded of the organizations to which his foundation donates is efficiency and return on investment. There is nothing more inefficient than government. While people are sleeping in tents on 35-degree nights, government agencies devoted to stopping homelessness spent money on a conference that featured a stripper.
The truth is, I’ve been pushing for a fairer tax system for years. It was nearly two decades ago that my dad and I started calling for an increase in the federal estate tax and for an estate tax in our home state of Washington, which has the most regressive tax system in the country.
Why, Bill Gates, have you vowed to give most of your wealth to private philanthropy, instead of putting in your will that you want 97 percent of your estate given to government? You apparently believe that private philanthropy is better than government, but you want the rest of us to give our hard-earned money to government? If you are so serious about an income tax, then why don’t you, Bill Gates, just write a check today for $5 billion to the Washington State Treasury or the United States Treasury? They will accept it. Take it out of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Bill Gates is worth $110 billion. If the government took half of his wealth, he is still filthy stinking rich beyond any of our wildest dreams for ourselves.
Compare and contrast that to a mom and dad who have both worked really hard their whole lives. Let’s say they’ve denied themselves some indulgences because they wanted to provide for themselves and their families, so they could have something for their kids. They’ve invested, they’ve been diligent, and they’ve worked tirelessly. Over the years, they accumulated $1 million or $2 million. Now you want to take half of that? They go from having their own little piece of the American Dream to wondering why they denied themselves those indulgences for all those years, if the money was just going to government anyway. The $1 million they lose out on is a lot different than the $50 billion Gates would lose.
My wife and I should have the vast majority of control over what happens to our accumulated money when we die. I’d be thrilled to be able to pass something along to my three daughters and son-in-law, whom I love and respect. While I understand its necessity, I do not love and respect government.
And for my last point, government has plenty already. There is record spending in Olympia, record spending in King County, and record spending in Seattle. Where does the money go? It goes to things like conferences with strippers. What problems do they solve? We spend $100 million a year on homelessness, and the problem has just gotten dramatically worse. The homeless-industrial complex is about feathering the nests of the connected bureaucrats around here, not helping get people off the streets.
This is a person I hold in high regard. But the sheer hypocrisy is stunning.
Sorry, Bill Gates — you are wrong on this one.
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