Michael Bloomberg: Raising Taxes on Poor People Is a ‘Good Thing’

‘The question is do you want to pander to those people?’

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TRANSCRIPT:

BLOOMBERG: “Some people say, well, taxes are regressive, but in this case, yes, they are and 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. 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. 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, if you raise taxes on full sugary drinks, for example, they will drink less and there’s just no question that full sugared 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.’ The truth of the matter is 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.”
LAGARDE: “So it’s regressive, it is good. There are lots of tax experts in the room and fiscal experts, and I’m very pleased that they hear you say that. And they all say the two things in life which are absolutely certain: one is death, the other one is tax. So you use one to defer the other one?”
BLOOMBERG: “That’s correct.”
LAGARDE: “Okay.”
BLOOMBERG: “That’s exactly right. Well said.”

(via Americans for Tax Reform

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