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Bill Gates ends decade pushing for higher taxes on the rich
[NEW YORK] Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, the world's second-richest person, said he wants his fellow billionaires to pay much higher taxes.
US lawmakers should close loopholes, raise the estate tax and hike the capital-gains tax so that it equals the rate on labour income, Mr Gates wrote on Monday in a year-end blog post. He also called for states and local governments to make their taxes "fairer" and reiterated his support for a state income tax in Washington, where he lives.
"I've been disproportionately rewarded for the work I've done - while many others who work just as hard struggle to get by," he wrote. "That's why I'm for a tax system in which, if you have more money, you pay a higher percentage in taxes. And I think the rich should pay more than they currently do, and that includes Melinda and me."
Mr Gates, 64, has a net worth of US$113.7 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a ranking of the world's 500 richest people. His fortune has doubled in the past decade.
At an event in November, Mr Gates expressed reservations about the wealth tax proposed by presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. In his blog post, Mr Gates said he won't take a position on the various proposals being debated during the campaign.
"But I believe we can make our system fairer without sacrificing the incentive to innovate," he said. "Americans in the top 1 per cent can afford to pay a lot more before they stop going to work or creating jobs. In the 1970s, when Paul Allen and I were starting Microsoft, marginal tax rates were almost twice the top rate today. It didn't hurt our incentive to build a great company."