Bill Gates and the Robin Hood Tax


Bill Gates, in a speech this afternoon to the XVIII International AIDS Conference in Vienna, speaking about the slow roll-out of HIV prevention and treatment efforts:

Two decades ago, the skeptics said: “We can’t make drugs to treat a virus.” But you persisted – and now they can. Then the skeptics said: “We can make the drugs, but we can’t make them cheap enough.” But you kept pushing – and now they do. Then the skeptics said: “We can make the drugs cheaply, but we don’t know whether people will stick to the regimen.” But you insisted – and now they know.

Gates gave a presser immediately after the speech, in which he was asked a question about the Robin Hood Tax, a tiny 0.05% tax on currency transactions that would raise at least $700 billion a year to help fund HIV treatments and prevention.

I don’t think that would work – I’ve heard a number of experts from the financial sector say they don’t think that would work. So no, I’m not in favour of the Robin Hood Tax. [1]

Aren’t those the same arguments he just criticised a few minutes before? Is he blind, hypocritical or just dumb?

Note 1. Not a direct quote, but an accurate representation of what Gates said. Sorry I didn’t get it down verbatim.

Photo above: Bill Gates © Paul Kidd 2010 – CC-BY-NC-SA license.

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