Chris Hughes, co-founder of Facebook and an advocate for wealth equality, told CNBC on Monday that he and other ultrawealthy Americans should be paying higher taxes to help make life better for everyone in society.
However, economist Art Laffer, father of the “trickle down” policies of the Ronald Reagan presidency, disagreed with Hughes’ premise that taxing the wealthy further would lead to more prosperity for lower-income Americans. “When you do wealth taxes and death taxes, it does change the incentive.”
The government should pursue policies that raise folks up, “not pull other people down,” said Laffer, co-author of “Trumponomics,” which similarly to “Reaganomics” espouses that tax cuts on individuals and corporations spur investment and a stronger economy and job market, which benefits lower-income workers more than the rich.
Appearing in the same CNBC interview as Hughes, Laffer also took a shot at the Facebook co-founder, saying if he wants to pay more taxes, just pay them. “I have no problem with you sending a check to the government, if that’s what you want to do with your money,” Laffer told Hughes, who responded by smiling. “We should have a low rate broad-based flat tax and then Warren Buffett would pay what he deserves,” Laffer added.
In saying he should pay higher taxes, Hughes sounded like Buffett. The billionaire investor has long called for wealthier Americans to pay higher tax rates, pointing out over the years during Democratic and Republican administrations that he pays a lower rate than his office employees because most of his income comes from capital gains.