Bill Gates Embraces "Tax The Robots" Socialist Idiocy: Four Questions For The World's Richest Man

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Michael Shedlock via,

I am unsure who first came up with the idea of taxing robots, but the proposal has been embraced by academia, socialists, and in general, the radical Left.

Today, entrepreneur Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, endorsed the idea.

What does Gates want to do with the money collected? Here’s the answer: Flush it down the toilet.


In a Quartz interview, Bill Gates proposes The robot that takes your job should pay taxes.

Robots are taking human jobs. But Bill Gates believes that governments should tax companies’ use of them, as a way to at least temporarily slow the spread of automation and to fund other types of employment. It’s a striking position from the world’s richest man and a self-described techno-optimist who co-founded Microsoft, one of the leading players in artificial-intelligence technology.


In a recent interview with Quartz, Gates said that a robot tax could finance jobs taking care of elderly people or working with kids in schools, for which needs are unmet and to which humans are particularly well suited. He argues that governments must oversee such programs rather than relying on businesses, in order to redirect the jobs to help people with lower incomes. The idea is not totally theoretical: EU lawmakers considered a proposal to tax robot owners to pay for training for workers who lose their jobs, though on Feb. 16 the legislators ultimately rejected it.


“You ought to be willing to raise the tax level and even slow down the speed” of automation, Gates argues.

Quartz: What do you think of a robot tax? This is the idea that in order to generate funds for training of workers, in areas such as manufacturing, who are displaced by automation, one concrete thing that governments could do is tax the installation of a robot in a factory, for example.

Bill Gates: Certainly there will be taxes that relate to automation. Right now, the human worker who does, say, $50,000 worth of work in a factory, that income is taxed and you get income tax, social security tax, all those things. If a robot comes in to do the same thing, you’d think that we’d tax the robot at a similar level.

Fortune on Robot Tax

Fortune discusses the proposal in Bill Gates Says Robots Should Be Taxed Like Workers.

The idea of what amounts to a tax on efficiency would seem anathema to much conventional economic wisdom. For decades, the dominant line on automation has been that displaced workers shift into more productive roles, in turn growing the total economy.


But that thesis has begun to show cracks—as Gates puts it, “people are saying that the arrival of that robot is a net loss,” demanding greater active engagement with job retraining and other programs that target impacted communities.


While Gates resolutely comes down in favor of government’s role in managing automation’s impacts, he offers two points that should be at least slightly compelling to free marketeers.


First, Gates says, the impact of robotics and artificial intelligence in the next 20 years will be a much more concentrated version of the steady, incremental displacement that was common throughout the 20th century. The market alone won’t be able to deal with the speed of that transition—and, Gates further suggests, much of the potential for putting free labor to better use will be in the public sector.


Second, and probably even more importantly, Gates says automation won’t be allowed to thrive if the public resists it.

Tax on Efficiency

Good grief. It’s hard to know where to begin rebutting such idiocy. But the article does raise an important construct regarding a  tax on efficiency.

Four Questions for Gates

  1. Retain workers to do what?
  2. How will the government, Bill Gates, or anyone else know the correct retraining field?
  3. How will the government or anyone else know the number of people needed?
  4. Who pays the robot tax?

No one can possibly answer the first three questions, accurately. But I can answer the fourth.

Robots will never pay a tax. And if the owners of robots have to pay a tax, they will have to jack up prices accordingly.

What Gates is Saying

  1. Too much efficiency is a bad thing.
  2. Money that buys more goods and services is a bad thing.
  3. The government knows better what to do with your money than you do.

Ultimately, consumers will foot 100% of any robot tax.

More accurately, consumers will foot far more than 100% of any robot tax collection because government bureaucrats will waste at least 50% of the amount collected while putting funds deployed in wrong areas or by overpaying contracts awarded.

Convoluted Thinking

Curiously, Gates argues we need to tax efficiency to the point it’s no longer efficient or the efficiency will die on its own accord because “automation won’t be allowed to thrive if the public resists it.”

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U4 eee aaa's picture

I don't know about taxing robots but should they be a tax writeoff as a business expense? If they pay for themselves then they should pay for themselves

Dilluminati's picture

Build robots to do ill to the elites, cannot hold them accountable.

UndergroundPost's picture

Using Gate's convoluted logic, all computer companies should have been and should be taxed too. Typical hypocritical Leftism.

Looney's picture


Bill Gates is an Oligarch, just like his evil twin Warren Buffett.

When it comes to THEIR money, they love capitalism. With everybody else’s money – they are more socialist than… Maduro?  ;-)


BorisTheBlade's picture

He missed the rise of Internet FFS. And how they're gonna be taxed? On the basis of market, residual book or added value they create compared to humans? Or they're gonna come up with Unit of Robotic Labour? Consultants will have a field day with this one.

Upd: Last but not the least, no taxation without representation, they ought to have voting rights.

I for one welcome our new Robotic overlords.

mtl4's picture

Everyone has spoted the irony in his statement because robots only replace physical work and software replaces mental work so therefore using leftist theory MS owes some pretty serious back taxes about now wouldn't you say?

Stainless Steel Rat's picture
Stainless Steel Rat (not verified) mtl4 Feb 20, 2017 11:59 AM

Ok, years ago, a mid-sized company needed a department of skilled accountants, whereas now they can get by with a copy of Quickbooks Pro.  So does everyone who owns a copy now get taxed tens of thousands of dollars?

Creepy Lurker's picture


"Right now, the human worker who does, say, $50,000 worth of work in a factory, that income is taxed and you get income tax, social security tax, all those things. If a robot comes in to do the same thing, you’d think that we’d tax the robot at a similar level."

Does Gates actually believe that manufacturers are going to pay $25,000 p/yr in taxes for each robot? Like that wouldn't be lobbied out of existence the first time it was proposed. (Not that it ever will be.)

American Psycho's picture

If a robot gets taxed, can it also vote?

Stuck on Zero's picture

I'm curious ... should I get a tax refund if I retire my PC?

Notveryamused's picture

Gates is right. If US workers were taxed and Canadians in US weren't, Canadians would take all American jobs as they would work for up to 50% less, same thing with robots. Canadians in that example are not more 'efficient' they just have an unfair tax advantage that is what is currently occurring with robots in regards to tax at least.

The Saint's picture
The Saint (not verified) Notveryamused Feb 20, 2017 2:43 PM

The time to tax robots hasn't arrived - Yet.  But, the time to begin the discussion has arrived.  While it is easy to look to history and say that automation has created jobs instead of destroying them, it does seem that we are on a different path this time.  Automation in the form of robots appear poised to take many more jobs than they create.  The discussion of how society is going to grapple with the robot/AI revolution that is just beginning needs to be a topic of discussion beginning now.

It seems likely that a much shorter work week and more specialized jobs are going to become the norm in the future.  A masive shift in how people are prepared in the education system for careers is going to be necessary.


DocBerg's picture

It boils down to a tension between efficiency (Drucker: "Doing the thing right.") and effectiveness (Drucker:"Doing the right thing.")  Putting human beings our of work is efficient in the short term, but disastrous in the long term.  Where is the money going to come from for all of the unemployment and welfare benefits needed to support demand for goods and services?  I admit that robots are much less annoying than people, at least so far. They don't show up to work drunk or high, and angry from a family argument.  But, the welfare state is already tottering from all the people depending on the system, and dropping the income tax revenue stream through unemployment is not going to help this situation at all.  Working in rust belt municialities severely damaged by automation and NAFTA, opened my eyes to these severe problems.  But, to idealogues, a miracle is always expected to save the day, but those don't seem to happen very much in my humble experience.

DownWithYogaPants's picture

I doubt Gates is really the richest man in the world.  I have the suspicion that there are some trillionaires who have stock in the Fed and BOE.  Who might that be?  They rule from the shadow.  

One thing I will be dollars to donuts": Whoever IS the world's richest man is not allowing the info to be public.

unsafe-space-time's picture

Show me a quality Christian in west and I'll show you a crack whore with teeth. It's so bad in the west that only some of European fags are rioting for the wrong reasons. Feel like converting to islam sometimes.

BuddyEffed's picture

How about we tax wealth inequality instead?

Since the gains in wealth have been focused on the top brackets, with the lower brackets seeing practically nothing, doesn't it make sense to tax those that accrued extraordinary wealth while others had their jobs shipped overseas and replaced by foreign workers?   It is the same rationale as the famous quote about why the robber chose banks to rob.  His response "Because that's where the money is".

Maybe Bill is trying to provide a distraction to those looking to find tax monies.

There isn't much to get from the lower brackets anymore.  A tapping out of that income stream is occurring.

Don't forget to look to the offshored money they want to bring back in country while searching 4 adequate tax funds.

And maybe what's in Vault 7 can be taxed?

BorisTheBlade's picture

Now that you said this.  Subtle jab at google's driverless cars maybe? 

mtl4's picture

Using their logic just about anythng that facilitates life beyond the Amish would be considered taxable.........sounds like marxism honestly if you ask me.

BorisTheBlade's picture

Socialism,  yes,  derives its basis from 'protecting'  labour right over capital. That also got me thinking how you define robot, if 'machine following predefined program', then a lot of existing machinery will fall under this definition, after all coffee machine replaces in a way barista and ATM a banking clerk. 

TwelveOhOne's picture

I almost never interact with a human when I fill my car with petrol.

NumberNone's picture

It's absurd. Robots replace humans. Robots produce products. Humans have no money to buy products. Robots get laid off.

peddling-fiction's picture

Lots of people going full retard.

The hive mind showing its retartedness.

Lots of busy bees.

Wang Dang SP's picture

We just need one robot.  Put it in charge of all the government agencies, with a thumb up it ass.

Dormouse's picture

There are some people who decry this man a genius! They must be dunces too.

NoDebt's picture

Doormouse- near as I can tell the only thing he was a "genius" at was stealing other people's ideas and crushing patents/copyrights.

Which means, this "tax the robots" idea probably isn't his.  Makes you wonder who let this one slip to 'ol Bill, what the real agenda is and who's pushing it from the shadows.  


slammin_dude's picture

Wasn't really was his Dad and their inbred Harvard circles who were lawyers....

When will people wake up and realize that Gates, Buffet, fuckberg and 99% of their ilk didn't really do shit, they were CHOSEN by people behind the scenes and are nothing but frontmen for the real power....therre were no "rags to riches" except a few, the rest were set on the path like many of their bretheren and they stuck, others didn't....pretty simple

Steaming_Wookie_Doo's picture

Ah the irony. Mr Gates also thinks that Common Core, Obamacare and vaccine trials on brown and black folks across the world are great too. Common Core style "learning" is all about standardized curriculum and testing, rendering a teacher merely into a test proctor. Obamacare too is an effort at centralizing and "streamlining" care (and perhaps the odd deathpanel, er, patient care guidelines). The last stronghold of local income is teaching and healthcare. When those are streamlined away, there goes another couple Trillion dollars out of what's left of the middle class. Then they will gladly accept the State's monthly guaranteed income and be grateful. Yech.

BTW Bill, the assassin robots sent for you won't have Windows installed...

StychoKiller's picture

It's my understanding that the Gates Foundation has been kicked out of India once India found out they were being used as vaccine Guinea Pigs by the Gates Foundation and the jackwagon Pharmaceutical Co.s behind it.

FatTony7915726's picture

Bill Gates has wealth because he stole Microsoft from the real creator & not because he has brains.  He rode on the coat tails of another person.

Mustafa Kemal's picture

Bill Gates is part of what created this mess.

Morever, for those that did science and wanted to get away from your secretaries domination, you learned LATEX so you could write mathematical formulas well. But the Microsoft beaurocrats declared it illegal and one had to proceed in WORD. In a word, death.

Remember that scene in Alien 1 where Sigourney is woken up out of a deep sleep by the computer? When scientists at Los Alamos National Lab saw that we instantly agreed "well that is not microsoft!" You have to reboot MS every day.

Indeed, this is going to get interesting. It is difficult to sabotage the trucking industry because you may end up physically hurting a human, but when those trucks become driverless, that barrier will be removed and the possible counterattacks will increase in both number and type.  Every time they make me interact with a robot might be a time where I do something to hurt that robot, something I would never do to a human, even a snowflake. I have no compassion for robots. It is not required as a Buddhist.

Now  he has the solution of "taxing efficiency'  The irony is that Gates computer revolution has not brought efficiency, but a dreary slow capture of your time and energy. Oh, what is the right keystroke to do this thing that used to be so simple?

Efficiency should not be taxed. But inhumanity should. In that case Gates owes alot, alot of back taxes.

detached.amusement's picture

Some of us remember Billy Boy selling out to the NSA and giving them their own root key certificates to all windows OSes beginning with win98 SE (why do you think 'second edition updates' were oh so important?)

Antifaschistische's picture

Theres a little problem...robots dont have bank accounts and they dont get a w2. The only object that ever pays a tax, is a human

ToSoft4Truth's picture

Nah, you got it wrong.  Bill Gates is a self-made college dropout. 


Warren Buffet too...  Heck, Warren still lives in the house he bought for $31,500.  I bet your house cost more than $31,500.  See how you squander resources Vs folks like Warren. 

Chris Dakota's picture
Chris Dakota (not verified) Looney Feb 20, 2017 1:08 PM

This lie is to cover for "how will you run the gov with robots"

The plan is no people, just the elites and the robots do most of the work.

No government is needed at this point, its total lock down.

I had a dream that I met Soros at Macy's and he was so small, like 5 ft tall.

I was looking into his eyes thinking "I could do it right now with my bare hands"

I said to him "you are ill" he says "yes I am."

Then I say "I am going to destroy you with my energy for what you have done" and he runs away from me.

So I wake up and it hits me BAM!

Jerry Brown the homo Jesuit (most likely pedo too) wants the dam to fail, he and his band of enviro terrorists want all of the dams to fail and re-wild the rivers. He starved the farmers of water because no farming is needed when there are robots. Just elite organic boutique farms.

But people have to go. Those people up there are pro Trump, they hate him so he wants them dead.

There is 2 million people in the path of that dam. They are getting no news, they are on twitter and fb begging for information.

They got one hour to evacuate and that we saw was not enough, like it was a dry run.

Jerry is UN Agenda 21 all the way, they want those conservatives off the land (think Bundy ranch) "by any means necessary."

So you say "why the illegals?"

Because the illegals are WMD's to get them off the land, and it's working, so the government can grab it.

Jerry Browns chart is so afflicted right today, he is being exposed starting with me right now.

I am answering the question today everyone has had. "Why let illegals in when you don't have water? Why ignore the infrastructure and spend $25 billion on illegals." And in Europe "why bring in wild muslims and put them on welfare when robots are coming, you don't need more workers?"

after  whites are gone they will just kill the stupid invaders.

BabaLooey's picture

Fuck You Bill.

Windows is shit. Has been shit. And you cornered the market in shit.

Patch Fuck youself, Mister Stealer

Antifaschistische's picture

"corner the market"  that's legacy lingo.  The reality is "hire an army of lawyers to a) destroy competition and b) land grab (or steal) every good idea out there with your army of patent lawyers and destroy your competitors through financial/legal attrition"

by the way....drone's are taking some business previously given to helicopter owners or other flyover photo services.  So, we don't have to pay $2,000 per/hour any more for flyover photo services.  GOOD!!!   I'll spend the money elsewhere.  This is NOT "hurting" the economy.  What I don't give to a helicopter pilot WILL go to someone else.  I'm tired of these morons thinking that money I SAVE somehow gets dropped into a fictitious economic shreader.

LeftandRightareWrong's picture

How many techies lately have kicked-off a political campaign with provocative statements and proclamations.  If Trump can be POTUS, then any billionaire can.

freedogger's picture

How do you define what a robot is?

Cynicles's picture

Build robots to do ill to the elites

There was a movie about that: Terminator. 

sgt_doom's picture

Bill Gates shipped all those jobs overseas --- were they tax???

And imported all those foreign visa replacement workers --- were they equitably taxed??

Bill Gates had an unscheduled employee layoff on 09/12/01, to take advantage of the attacks of 9/11, laying off 1,000 locals.

Didn't the Zika virus appear at those geographical locations where Gates-financed Oxitec let loose their genetically engineered mosquitoes?

Sonny Brakes's picture

The same bankers that finance the mortgages on our homes also finance the robots that will ultimately force most working people out of the wage economy. It's a lot like when rats resort to eating their young when faced with famine. Remember, that these same banks stuck its customers with the cost of replacing their tellers with ATMs.

detached.amusement's picture

Its how you move the middle class into the serf class, and simultaneously make the upper middle class thoroughly unable to get big enough to challenge the current crop of fascists that have usurped the top of the sane pile.

LeftandRightareWrong's picture

Taxes on labor are lost in many ways due to globalization and immigration policies.

Off-the-books work, off-shoring, wage suppression ...

LeftandRightareWrong's picture

Robots.  Identity politics again.  A new protected group.

U4 eee aaa's picture

Will AC/DC robots have special status?

Dilluminati's picture

The rich people always forget to pay their taxes and always come up with a failed scheme that never works.

Look at the EU, Look at Greece.

Look at Fukushima, all the profits to the 1% and they pollute an entire ocean and then no money for cleanup.

Look at the crumbling infrastructure.

I think a progressive tax on the ultra wealthy along with corporate tax cuts is what we need in America.

We want the jobs and not the elites, they should get the guilotine for past crimes

booboo's picture

Humans are so 20th century.

Best regards