Billionaire and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg claimed that raising taxes on low-income individuals is actually beneficial for them.
Speaking on a discussion panel for The International Monetary Fund with IMF Chief Chrisine Lagarde, Bloomberg said a regressive tax — which takes a larger percentage of income from low-income earners than from high-income earners — is a “good thing” for the poor.
“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, and so higher taxes should have a bigger impact on their behavior and how they deal with themselves,” the former mayor said.
“I listen to people saying, ‘We don’t want to tax the poor.’ Well we want the poor to live longer, so they can get an education and enjoy life. That’s why you do want to do exactly what a lot of people say you don’t want to do,” he continued.
Bloomberg specifically mentioned a tax on soda, something he has advocated for years.
“The question is do you want to pander to those people? Or do you want to get them to live longer? And there’s just no question,” the billionaire continued.
“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.”
Bloomberg then compared the U.S. military with coal miners.
“It’s like saying I don’t want to stop using coal because coal miners will lose their jobs,” he began.
“We have a lot of soldiers in the United States in the US 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. The truth of the matter is that there aren’t very many coal miners left anyways and we can find other things for them to do.”
“But the comparison is: a life or a job. Or, taxes or life? Which do you want to do? Take your poison,” Bloomberg said finally.
At the conclusion of Bloombergs remarks, IMF Chief Lagarde said, “Experts all say the two things in life that are absolutely certain — the one is death, the other is tax. So you use one to defer the other one.”
“That’s correct,” Bloomberg replied. “That is exactly right. Well said.”
Watch his comments below:
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