Former New York mayor and billionaire Michael Bloomberg says higher taxes on poor people are good, because they allow decision-makers to have more control and save the poor from their own unwise decisions.
That’s the gist of comments he made recently during the International Monetary Fund’s spring meeting.
He was discussing taxes with Christine Lagarde, the IMF’s managing director.
“Some people say, well, taxes are regressive. But in this case, yes they are. That’s the good thing about them because the problem is in people that don’t have a lot of money,” Bloomberg said.
“And so, higher taxes should have a bigger impact on their behavior and how they deal with themselves. So, 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.”
A commentary at Americans for Tax Reform,” describing Bloomberg as the “nanny-state-imposing left-wing billionaire,” pointed out that for years he has “personally funded and promoted all sorts of regressive taxes and regulations in an attempt to push people around.”
“He uses the coercive power of the government to force people to live their lives as he sees fit,” the commentary said.
“He refers to low income individuals as ‘those people’ and then takes a shot at coal miners and the U.S. military. He clearly reveals his arrogant, bullying worldview. The entire thing is bad.”
Some of Bloomberg’s comments:
Bloomberg continued: “The question is do you want to pander to those people? Or do you want to get them to live longer? There’s just no question. If you raise taxes on full sugary drinks, for example, they will drink less and there’s just no question that full sugar 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. So, it’s like saying, ‘I don’t want to stop using coal because coal miners will go out of work, will lose their jobs.’ We have a lot of soldiers in the United States in the U.S. Army, but we don’t want to go start a war just to give them something to do and that’s exactly what you’re saying when you say ‘well, let’s keep coal killing people because we don’t want coal miners to lose their jobs.'”
Americans for Tax Reform said that for years, Bloomberg “has sat atop an Ivory Tower with a massive checkbook, judging the appropriateness of raising prices on low-income consumers.”
“He has no concept for the difficult choices consumers make on a daily basis and despite claiming he cares about things like public health, he’s actually championed taxes and policies that harm it,” ATR said.
“For one, he’s committed $20 million in the last year alone to demonizing people who decide to quit smoking cigarettes. Many are able to quit thanks to the help of tobacco-free alternatives like vapor products. But Bloomberg is a major funder of organizations like the Campaign for Tobacco-free Kids, an organization that pushes prohibition of vapor products, despite the growing international consensus that they are at least 95 percent less harmful than cigarettes. His money is being used to harm public health by reducing the choices consumers have who are trying to improve their personal health in switching to lower risk alternatives.”
ATR also pointed out that Bloomberg “bankrolls” campaigns to boost the cost of everyday groceries.
“Soda taxes don’t work; they are regressive, unpopular across the political spectrum, and they result in low income people having less income in their pockets. The outcome is lower economic mobility simply because billionaire Bloomberg has no fundamental understanding of what it means to live paycheck to paycheck. So while he entertains the world’s wealthiest, his money is being used to make it harder for Americans to afford energy bills, mortgages, and everyday products.”