While the tax system in the United States is progressive — which means, generally, that the more money you make, the more money you pay in income taxes — "it's not progressive enough," Bill Gates said during a conversation with his wife Melinda and hundreds of high school students in New York City on Tuesday.
He and his wife run the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and are worth more than $90 billion.
"There's no doubt that what we want government to do in terms of better education and better health care means that we need to collect more in taxes," he said, "and there's no doubt that as we raise taxes, we can have most of that additional money come from those who are better off."
Gates underlined this idea Tuesday night on an appearance on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" on CBS when he was asked what he would say to those who argue that perhaps billionaires shouldn't even be "a thing" because they represent a failure of capitalism.
"I think you can make the tax system take a much higher portion from people with great wealth," he said, adding, "These great fortunes were not made from ordinary income, so you probably have to look to the capital gains rate and the estate tax if you want to create more equity there."