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Bill Gates isn’t sure how ‘open-minded’ Elizabeth Warren is

Andrew Ross Sorkin (left) spoke with Bill Gates at 2019 New York Times Dealbook on Wednesday in New York City.
Andrew Ross Sorkin (left) spoke with Bill Gates at 2019 New York Times Dealbook on Wednesday in New York City. Michael Cohen/ Getty Images for The New York Times

Microsoft founder Bill Gates, one of the richest men in the world with a net worth over $100 billion, thinks wealth taxes like Elizabeth Warren’s go too far. But he hasn’t spoken with her about it.

“I don’t know how open-minded she is or if she’d even be willing to sit down with somebody who has large amounts of money,” Gates said Wednesday at the 2019 New York Times Dealbook Conference.

Warren’s wealth tax proposes targeting 2 percent of all assets of more than $50 million, and 3 percent of assets of more than $1 billion.

“I’ve paid over $10 billion in taxes. I’ve paid more than anyone in taxes. If I 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 said, adding later that he was “just kidding.”

Gates has previously supported an increase in the capital gains tax, the rate at which money made through investments is taxed, and a higher estate tax, which is implemented when a millionaire or billionaire dies and money is passed onto their heirs. But he said Wednesday that too high of a tax could put American innovation at risk.


“I’d love for somebody to find a middle-ground approach,” he said.

Warren tweeted Wednesday night that she would meet with Gates to explain her wealth tax.

“I’m always happy to meet with people, even if we have different views...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.)” she tweeted.

When Dealbook Conference moderator Andrew Ross Sorkin pressed Gates on whether he would vote for Warren if she were the Democratic candidate opposite President Trump on the November 2020 ballot, Gates said he would choose the more “professional” candidate.


“I hope the more professional candidate is an electable candidate,” he said.

Abbi Matheson can be reached at abbi.matheson@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter at @AbbiMatheson