Bloomberg: “The question is do you want to pander to those people?”

Bloomberg: “Taxes or life? Which do you want to do? Take your poison.”

Nanny-state-imposing left-wing billionaire Michael Bloomberg is now on video admitting how much he likes to raise taxes on poor people, calling such tax hikes a “good thing.” For years, Bloomberg 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.

So here is Bloomberg on stage with another global mandarin, Christine Lagarde of the International Monetary Fund. 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, but we’ve bolded a few of the most obnoxious sentences [click here for video]:

Michael Bloomberg: “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. 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? 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 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.

Christine Lagarde: “So its 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 that 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. That is exactly right. Well said.” [Applause]

To get the full effect of his arrogance, watch the video. For years, billionaire 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.

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 for adults, despite the growing international consensus that they are at least 95% 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.

Bloomberg also bankrolls the effort to raise the cost of everyday groceries in places like Chicago, New Mexico, Philadelphia, and Washington through higher beverage taxes. 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. 

Bloomberg’s statements drip with contempt for those of lesser means than he and his fellow billionaires. Lagarde praising Bloomberg for championing a soda tax because it prevents poor and middle income households from being able to afford soda pop sounds like satire, but in this case it’s all too real.

Bloomberg’s policy agenda isn’t just bad policy, it has also proven to be terrible politics. Take Santa Fe, which is a left-leaing city where more than 70% of voters cast their vote for Hillary Clinton in 2016. Last year voters there resoundingly rejected — with nearly two-thirds of the vote — the same type of soda tax that Bloomberg is pushing all over the country. It’s worth noting that the Santa Fe soda tax ballot measure received its highest level of support in the most affluent areas of Santa Fe — where people closer to Bloomberg’s considerable means and sophisticated tastes live — whereas voters living in lower-income and predominantly Hispanic neighborhoods overwhelmingly voted against this regressive tax.

Bloomberg’s soda tax on Chicago residents was so reviled that it was overwhelmingly repealed.

Bloomberg’s remarks were made on April 19, 2018 at the IMF’s Spring Meeting.

[See also: List of Tax Reform Good News]