A viral animated video posted to Twitter Tuesday shows Microsoft CEO Bill Gates's astronomical wealth compared with middle-class salaries, the wealth of other considerably rich Americans, and a number of major public services which Gates could easily pay for using just a tiny fraction of his assets.
According to the data cited by the user who created the graphic, Gates—who with a fortune of over $110 billion recently reclaimed his title as the world's richest person—could easily pay to replace all of the damaged water pipes in Flint, Michigan, cover all the medical costs desperate Americans crowd-source in a year using platforms like GoFundMe, and still have nearly $100 billion leftover.
"I struggled to imagine this huge number," @betty__cam wrote of Gates's wealth, "so I animated some bar graphs that put it in proportion with other points of reference. The scale is quite stark."
Bill Gates just surpassed Jeff Bezos as the richest person on Earth, with a net worth of $110 billion.
I struggled to imagine this huge number, so I animated some bar graphs that put it in proportion with other points of reference. The scale is quite stark. pic.twitter.com/uteU9h72fC
— bog witch (@betty__cam) November 19, 2019
As the $55 million needed to repair Flint's water system and the $650 million Americans gather for medical bills on GoFundMe each year appear in the graphic the bar signifying Gates's $110 billion is still too tall to fully fit in the animation.
The user animated the graph two weeks after Gates expressed concern in an interview over a plan from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) to impose a 2% annual wealth tax on wealth over $50 million and a 6% tax on assets over $1 billion.
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"You know, when you say I should pay $100 billion, okay, then I'm starting to do a little math about what I have left over," Gates said. "So you really want the incentive system to be there and you can go a long ways without threatening that."
According to a calculator on Warren's campaign website, with his current assets Gates would be required to pay $6.5 billion in taxes under her Ultra-Millionaires Tax plan.
Other critics on social media have offered other data points showing Gates's wealth compared to most Americans'.
When people defend Bill Gates by pointing out he gave so many billions to charity, just remember that's the equivalent of a normal person giving $0 to charity because even 1% of Gates' wealth is more than any family would ever need to live in extravagant luxury for generations.
— Post-Culture Review (@PostCultRev) November 20, 2019
Income taxes from working class Americans have subsidized Bill Gates (net worth $110 Billion) into the richest man in the universe.
You'd have to save more than a $100K/year for a MILLION years to get there.
So where's that wealth tax?https://t.co/Law75JalHx
— Donna Imam (@donnaimamTX) November 16, 2019
"You'd have to save more than a $100,000 per year for a MILLION years to get there," tweeted Texas congressional candidate Donna Imam last week. "So where's that wealth tax?"