Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Bill Gates, Philanthropist, Calls for Higher Taxes

Right before New Years day, Bill Gates issued some perhaps surprising end of the year reflections. Instead of focusing on the achievements he made with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, he called for a need to raise taxes to manage increasing inequality. 

His answer to the following question I think is important even for those, such as Gates, who clearly support charitable organizations as one solution to the world's ills. When considering why he does not just give more in taxes himself, he states: "The answer is that simply leaving it up to people to give more than the government asks for is not a scalable solution." In other words, he takes the position that voluntary organizations are not a solution to societal ills.

He still sees a role for philanthropy as a place for risk taking. He states: "managing high-risk projects that governments can’t take on and corporations won’t—for example, trying out new approaches to eradicating malaria, which is something our foundation is working on. If a government tries an idea for improving global health that fails, someone wasn’t doing their job." 

Philip Hackney

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