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Philanthropist and co-founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates, is pictured in Paris.
Kamil Zihnioglu/AP
Finance & Innovation

Bill Gates: ‘I Need to Pay Higher Taxes’

This past weekend, Bill Gates called for a tax hike — for people like himself. 

The billionaire philanthropist, who already plans to donate the majority of his wealth to charity, told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria that, “the government should require people in my position to pay significantly higher taxes.” 

“I need to pay higher taxes,” Gates said.

Gates went on to speak about the tax bill, passed in December by Congress, which he says will benefit the rich at the expense of the poor and exacerbate inequality. 

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“It was not a progressive tax bill, it was a regressive tax bill,” Gates said. “People who are wealthier tended to get dramatically more benefits than the middle class and those who are poor.” 

The bill, which was passed by a Republican majority in the House and Senate, is now supported by just over half of Americans (51%), up from 37% of Americans who supported it when it was first passed in December, the New York Times reports

Read More: The Tax Bill Will Make Inequality Far Worse in the US, UN Expert Says

Gates said that increasing taxes on the rich would allow for a stronger safety net, and has in the past shown support for the so-called “Buffett Rule,” which would increase taxes on the wealthy to pay for social services that benefit middle- and low-income individuals.

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While Gates did not specify what the government revenue from raising taxes on the wealthy would go toward, other experts have noted in the past that small increases in taxes on the wealthiest Americans could allow federal and state governments to expand social programs: providing free college tuition, funding universal kindergarten programs, and improving conditions on major highways, for example. 

But the tax bill, Gates said, “runs counter to the general trend you would like to see where the safety net is getting stronger and those at the top are paying higher taxes.”

Although it’s true that a majority of Americans can expect to see lower taxes in 2018, the majority of the long-term benefits would go to the richest 5% of people, according to research from the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. 

“On average, in 2027, taxes would change little for lower-and middle-income groups and decrease for higher-income groups,” the authors of the study wrote

This could worsen income inequality, which is already at its highest level ever in the United States, experts say.

Read More: Bill Gates Wants to Tax Robots So We Can All Have Better Lives

The billionaire has done his part in trying to stem the gap between the richest and the poorest, not only in the United States, where, he says, he’s paid $10 billion more in taxes than any other individual, but around the world. 

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The Gates Foundation, a partner of Global Citizen, has doled out more than $40 billion in grants since 2006, supporting projects related to health, education, and sanitation, among other things, in developing countries. 

Global Citizen campaigns on the Global Goals for Sustainable Development, and eliminating extreme poverty by 2030 is goal number one. Doing this requires reducing not just poverty, but rampant global inequality, as well. You can join us and take action here