International News from World: Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates started the last decade worth more than $50 billion and a pledge to donate a big chunk of his fortune to charity.
By the end of it, he’d given billions of dollars to fight poverty and improve health care and education. But his net worth also more than doubled during the period, a result of soaring stock markets and favorable tax policies.
And so, at the end of the decade, the world’s second-richest person said he wants his fellow billionaires to pay much higher taxes.
U.S. lawmakers should close loopholes, raise the estate tax and hike the capital-gains tax so that it equals the rate on labor income, Gates wrote Monday in a year-end blog post. He also called for states and local governments to make their taxes “fairer” and reiterated his support for a state income tax in Washington, where he and his wife Melinda live.
“I’ve been disproportionately rewarded for the work I’ve done — while many others who work just as hard struggle to get by,” he wrote. “That’s why I’m for a tax system in which, if you have more money, you pay a higher percentage in taxes. And I think the rich should pay more than they currently do, and that includes Melinda and me.”
Gates, 64, has a net worth of $113.7 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a ranking of the world’s 500 richest people. In 2010, he and Melinda announced the Giving Pledge with Warren Buffett and asked other billionaires to sign to give away portions of their fortunes. As of May, 204 people from 23 countries agreed to participate.