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.
“We have a free-rider problem. The top 1-percent — and even more specifically the top 0.1-percent, those with household wealth above $50 million — aren’t paying their fair share,” said Hughes.
Hughes’ argument echoes that of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who officially launched her 2020 Democratic presidential campaign on Saturday. The Massachusetts Democrat wants to impose an annual wealth tax of 2 percent on households with assets over $50 million and 3 percent on households with assets over $1 billion. Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a freshman socialist firebrand from New York, wants to slap a 70 percent marginal tax rate on income above $10 million.
“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,” Hughes said in a “Squawk Box” interview. “The point is clear — my taxes should be higher.”
Hughes, a Harvard dormmate of co-founder and Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg, was the early spokesperson for the social network. Hughes said he made about $500 million for three years of work. He left Facebook in 2007 to work on Barack Obama’s presidential campaign.
In 2016, Hughes co-founded the Economic Security Project, an effort to explore how to provide financial security for all Americans through cash transfers. Appearing on CNBC in 2018, he said workers who make less than $50,000 per year should get a government stipend of $500 per month — paid for by raising taxes on the top 1-percent.