Why is it that people with tax-exempt billion-dollar foundations can always find another way for everyone else to pay more in tax?
I was driving home from the office listening to the news on the radio when I heard a blurb that seems to say that Bill Gates said the U.S. should be taxing robots as if they were actually employees.
Then these pseudo-employment taxes could fund another bureaucratic job training program.
If Bill Gates has something to say about artificial intelligence and robots, then I think that whatever he says starts off with his getting the up-front presumption he knows what he is talking about.
But does he get the same benefit of the doubt when expressing an opinion about tax, employment, and economic policy?
I don’t think so.
When I later looked into this I found that Bill Gates had given an interview to the website Quartz which writes about business, economics, technology, and related topics. A serious and legitimate information source.
Quartz describes the interview with Mr. Gates as “Robots is taking human jobs. But Bill Gates believes that governments should tax companies’ use of them, as a way to at least temporarily slow the spread of automation and to fund other types of employment.”
I can appreciate how Gates took, as Quartz characterized it, a “striking position from the world’s richest man….”
These off-the-cuff views are regularly given by billionaires, celebrities, and other elitists high in the public eye. They are expecting that people will just say “wow” to whatever they say. They understand that most people cannot comprehend what is said as their brain is centered only on who is saying it.
Specifically, Quartz asked Mr. Gate “What do you think of the robot tax?”
This is the concept that for the government to retrain displaced human workers by robots, the funding will be raised by taxing private industry.
Instead of just saying that imposing more taxes and creating another governmental welfare jobs program is nuts, Mr. Gates went all in to embrace government as the solution.
Apparently, Mr. Gates does not embrace the same view of government that I do. That is, whatever government does, it does badly.
Our economy is always changing and that the installation of labor-saving devices to increase productivity is a normal part of the process.
I think it should be left primarily up to the free-market to deal with it with government involvement only desirable as a safety-net.
Mr. Gates says that private business can’t figure this out and that government is needed to do something about the “inequity” where somehow some people are getting ahead and some people are not.
He claims that “absolutely government’s got a big role to play there…”
As this costs money, Mr. Gates proposes that the government must tax the productive to redistribute money to the less fortunate. Which I take it is in keeping with Mr. Gates idea of equitable redistribution of everyone else’s wealth.
Easy enough to believe in when you are already a very rich person whose fortune is nearly all tax-exempt.
But, without meaning to be disrespectful, Mr. Gates’ belief is incorrect.
The answer to Mr. Gates’s problem funding the retraining of displaced workers by robots is simpler than taxing labor saving robotic devices.
Billionaires like Bill Gates all have massive tax-exempt foundations made possible because of the tremendous excess wealth they don’t need or want.
Why are those private foundations tax-exempt and effectively being subsidized by taxpayers?
Seems straightforward to me that Mr. Gates and others with billion-dollar tax-exempt private foundations should be taxed and that money taxed from the truly rich be redistributed to the less fortunate in need of jobs training.
Denis Kleinfeld is known as a strategic tax and wealth protection lawyer, widely published author and creative teacher.
© 2017 Newsmax Finance. All rights reserved.