Global Health Justice

June 7, 2022

Is Bill Gates a barrier to fair taxation?

By Steve Gloyd

Fair taxation is fundamental to global health. Taxes provide the necessary resources to finance strategies to improve health, including social determinants of health (education, nutrition, housing, water, sanitation) and health care. Taxes provide resources for the public health infrastructure that is essential to implement and scale up the technologies and programs developed by the Gates Foundation. Taxes are also a mechanism to reduce the unconscionable income and wealth inequality that enormously impacts global health.

As important as it is, fair taxation is not on the agenda of many global health leaders, including Bill Gates and the Gates Foundation.  Not surprisingly, Microsoft and Bill Gates have been reported to have made enormous efforts to (legally) offshore income and wealth to avoid taxes.  As this article in Vox explains, when a modest 2022 reform for fairer taxation was initiated in the State of Washington, where Bill Gates lives, yet he was notably silent, and failed to respond to the initiatives when asked. It seems another example of vocal advocacy for health equity and health care while pushing back on the most important efforts to challenge inequities or finance health care.