@ewarren VS @billgates — a Twitter Tax Feud

The direct feud between Warren and Gates began after a crude statement from his New York Times article went viral on Twitter:

“I'm not sure how open-minded [Warren] is — or that she'd even be willing to sit down with somebody who has large amounts of money.”

This comment was in reference to Warren’s “Medicare for All,” a plan which has left Bill Gates no choice but to bitterly comment on the democratic candidate’s healthcare system. But what exactly is “Medicare for All,” and why is Bill Gates throwing a tantrum?

Elizabeth Warren’s massive “Medicare for All” plan has been her main running platform since she announced her presidential candidacy in 2018. The ambitious single-payer healthcare plan would generously give all Americans access to government-funded healthcare. This, of course, requires massive expenditures from the American government, a consequence many economists have used as a platform against Warren. Many fear that her plan will require a massive tax increase.

However, Warren does not intend to impose any new taxes on middle-class families. She intends to make revenue for her healthcare plan through additional taxes on those with an income of seven or more figures; those with net worths between 50 million and 1 billion would receive an additional 2% wealth tax. This tax would help generate funding towards providing the basic right of healthcare to all people. Even so, the feud between Warren and the rich does not begin with those between 7 and 9 figure incomes. Rather, the richest man in the world has been coming after Warren in a heated Twitter feud over—you guessed it—his taxes.

Bill Gates, with a net worth of over 107 billion dollars, unsurprisingly falls into the category of those with “wealth over 10 figures.” To fund her plan, Warren plans to increase the billionaire wealth tax from 3% to 6%, effectively doubling taxes upon billionaires with 10 or more figures of income. This tax impacts such a small minority of the population that it only affects a few people in our nation. These few people make enough money, though, that this generated revenue could provide an additional 20.5 trillion dollars towards funding Warren’s healthcare plan, assisting millions of people who have struggled with the cost of healthcare. Yet, Gates expressed his concern of losing his massive income as a result of Warren’s tax plan in a one-on-one interview with the New York Times, where he stated:

“I’ve paid over $10 billion in taxes, I’ve paid more than anyone in taxes. If I had to pay $20 billion, it’s fine… But when you say I should pay $100 billion, then I'm starting to do a little math over what I have left over.”

Tax-flex: when someone flexes their income by stating how much they have to pay in taxes. Term first coined after Gates’ 2019 interview with the NYT.

Throwing around figures in the tens-of-billions should never be taken lightly, and as such I’m not sure this is an effective argument to use when so few people can relate. Twitter user @kenklippenstein said “imagine having to live off just $7 billion dollars,” referencing Gates’ 2019 net worth. It’s hard to imagine being upset about this scenario, yet Gates seems to value these potential $7 billion dollars at nothing.

Gates should have nothing to worry about, however, since Warren’s tax plan does not even come close to $100 billion. Rather, he would be estimated to spend about $6 billion in taxes with Warren’s 6% tax plan.

As Gates’ comments rippled through everyone’s Twitter feed, Warren (or at least her social media team) quickly jumped to her own defense with her own Tweet response, claiming she’d actually love to have a sit-down with Gates to discuss her wealth plan:

I'm always happy to meet with people, even if we have different views. @BillGates, 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.)

Gates again tried to seem like the good guy by not exactly agreeing to meet up, but by seeming a little interested in hearing more about what Warren has planned for the future:

I greatly respect your commitment to finding ways to address wealth inequality and poverty at home. While we may disagree about some of the ways to get there, we certainly agree we need a lot of smart people committed to finding the path forward.

Perhaps this is the end of the trivial Twitter feud, though I’d love to see some more roasts of Bill Gates in the future. Let’s hope Warren and Gates continue their uneventful Twitter conversation.

Until next week, eat the rich.