Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates said the wealthy should pay more as the U.S. continues to grapple with how to rein in its budget deficit.
“There’s no doubt that as you look at balancing budgets to the degree you need more revenue” that lawmakers will need to look to the wealthy “to get a little bit more from them proportionately than you get from people as a whole,” Gates said in an interview with Bloomberg Television before speaking at the Peterson Foundation fiscal summit in Washington today. “I think that’s pretty likely.”
Later, Gates, the world’s second richest man and co- chairman of The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, said the U.S. is compromising its “values” in its approach to reducing federal spending.
The automatic spending cuts, known as sequestration, that took effect earlier this year target discretionary spending programs including education, infrastructure and research, which Gates said he finds worrisome. “The sequester, I don’t think reflects our values,” he said. “There will have to be a discussion about funding the future.”
Separately, former President Bill Clinton, who joined Gates on stage at the event, said the U.S. should give President Barack Obama’s health-care law time to work before proposing major changes as part of debate over the budget deficit.
“We really need about five years to see if the drivers in the health-care law,” he said, “to see if that works.”
Clinton’s wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, is considered a potential candidate for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination. In closing his remarks, Clinton didn’t deny that his wife has political ambitions, saying it’s important not to “get off on to politics too early.”
Hillary Clinton is “having a little fun being a private citizen for the first time in 20 years,” he said.
Democratic and Republican congressional leaders expressed skepticism that Congress is close to reaching a bipartisan agreement on addressing the U.S. debt and budget deficit.