Michael Bloomberg Defends Regressive Taxes
The minute Michael Bloomberg announced his presidential bid in November, critics and rivals began scouring the Internet for anything controversial he ever said or did.
One of the first things they found was his opinion on regressive taxes: they benefit the poor by forcing them to make healthier decisions.
A regressive tax is a tax that takes a larger percentage of income from people who earn less. It is the opposite of a progressive tax, which pulls in a larger percentage from people who earn more. In this case, Bloomberg is talking about taxes on sugary drinks and cigarettes:
“That’s the good thing about them because the problem is in people who don’t have a lot of money. And so higher taxes should have a bigger impact on their behavior and how they deal with themselves,” said Bloomberg last year at the International Monetary Fund’s 2018 spring meeting.
“I listen to people saying, ‘Oh, we don’t want to tax the poor.’ Well, we want the poor to live longer so that they can get an education and enjoy life and that’s why you do want to do exactly what a lot of people say you don’t want to do,” he continued. “The question is do you want to pander to those people or do you want them to live longer?”
When Bloomberg was Mayor of New York City, he unsuccessfully tried to ban large-size sodas like 7-Eleven’s Big Gulp. He argued the ban would protect poor people from gaining weight and claimed that not raising taxes on unhealthy behavior would be like using coal just to keep coal miners employed.
“There is just no question. If you raise taxes on full sugary drinks, for example, they will drink less and there is just no question that full sugary drinks are one of the major contributors to obesity and obesity is one of the major contributors to heart disease and cancer and a variety of other things,” said Bloomberg, whose net worth is nearly $55 billion.
Voters in New York City rejected the proposal, saying Bloomberg had no business controlling what they ate or drank. Voters who learned of Bloomberg’s opinion this month on Twitter described him as an “elitist” and “wannabe dictator.”
Author’s Note: I personally agree with Bloomberg on this one, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he reverses his stance on regressive taxes to win votes.
Last month, speaking at an African American church in Brooklyn, Bloomberg apologized for the stop-and-frisk policy he implemented to reduce the murder rate in New York City by 50%.
“I got something important really wrong,” said Bloomberg. “I didn’t understand that back then – the full impact that stops were having on the black and Latino community…I want you to know that I realize back then I was wrong. And I am sorry.”
This apology is out of line with Bloomberg’s reputation as a leader who does what he thinks is right and defends the results. We can expect voters to call him out on his change of heart.
Editor’s note: So Bloomberg apologizes when he is called racist, but not for violating the 4th Amendment. Bloomberg will have a lot to answer for as his policies come to light. Even when he has something right, he will find himself apologizing. And of course, his politically correct constituents will reinforce some his worst policies.
Bloomberg should know from Trump’s experience, that you stick to your principles and double down when necessary. Now that he has started pandering, Bloomberg is toast…