Home / Headlines / We’re Freeriders: Facebook Co-Founder Chris Hughes, Worth $500 Million, Wants to Pay Higher Taxes
4 min read

We’re Freeriders: Facebook Co-Founder Chris Hughes, Worth $500 Million, Wants to Pay Higher Taxes

Last Updated September 23, 2020 12:25 PM
Jimmy Aki
Last Updated September 23, 2020 12:25 PM

Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes is back advocating for higher taxes for wealthy Americans. This is not the first time  Hughes is calling on the government to take a step  to help low-income Americans trying to make ends meet.

Hughes spoke on CNBC’s “Squawk Box”  saying:

As a member of that 1-percent, 0.1-percent, I can tell you, I can afford a little bit higher taxes, and it would make my life better. The point is clear — my taxes should be higher.

Hughes, who is the author of Fair Shot: Rethinking Inequality and How We Earn has been an advocate for reforming the tax code to rebalance the economy so all American workers can be rewarded for their work. He was a Harvard dorm mate of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and was the social network’s first spokesperson was rewarded with $500 million for three years of work with Facebook.

For three years’ worth of work at Facebook, I ended up with nearly half a billion dollars, which is nothing but a lucky break. That is indicative of fundamental unfairness in our economy. Income inequality in our country has not been this bad since the Great Depression. And even though we’re reading the headlines that unemployment is at 3.9 percent and the stock market is at record highs, what’s actually happening is that the median incomes in our country haven’t budged in nearly 40 years. At the same time stories like mine create an illusion of economic opportunity.

Leave the Rich Alone

While Hughes wants the super wealthy to be taxed more, American economist Arthur Laffer, known for founding the “trickle down” policies for the Reagan administration was against the line of thought that taxing wealthy Americans would create more prosperity for the everyone. Laffer believes that creating wealth taxes and death taxes takes away the incentive, creating a “pull them down” syndrome.

Countering Hughes’ argument, Laffer explained:

When you do wealth taxes and death taxes, it does change the incentive. I have no problem with you sending a check to the government, if that’s what you want to do with your money.

Bill and Warren want More Taxes

Hughes argument echoes that of Bill Gates, the world’s second richest man who believes the current tax code favors the high and mighty in America. Speaking with Fareed Zakaria  on CNN, Gates said the last tax bill introduced into Congress was regressive as it benefited wealthy people compared to those in the middle and low-income bracket.

I’ve paid more taxes, over $10 billion, than anyone else, but the government should require the people in my position to pay significantly higher taxes,”

The world’s third richest man and Chairman of  Berkshire Hathaway Warren Buffet penned an emotional appeal  to the government in the New York Times titled “Stop Coddling the Super-Rich,” where he advocated for a raise on taxes on Americans earning above $1 million.

Two years ago, over 400 American millionaires  and billionaires wrote an open letter to Congress, urging the legislature not to cut taxes on wealthy Americans.

We urge you to oppose any legislation that further exacerbates inequality,” the letter states. “Tax reform should be, at a minimum, revenue neutral — without using gimmicks like dynamic scoring. We are deeply concerned that revenue loss would lead to deep cuts in critical services such as education, Medicare and Medicaid, and would hamper our nation’s ability to restore investments in our people and communities.

Increasing the tax rate on the super wealthy has become a topic of discussion for members of Congress vying for the Presidency. Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren wants to slap an annual 2% wealth tax on households earning over $50 million and 3% on families with assets worth over $1billion, if she’s elected as President. Freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez from New York sparked an outrage when she called for a tax rate as high as 70 percent on the rich.