KEY POINTS

  • In 2018, Bloomberg defended taxes that target poor people
  • The former mayor argued against raising taxes on wealthy Americans
  • Tackling income inequality is a key part of Bloomberg's presidential platform

Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg who has made income inequality a key issue of his presidential election campaign might find it difficult to explain a newly surfaced video. The two-year-old video is casting doubt on whether the Democratic candidate truly believes inequality should be a priority.

Speaking with Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, at a summit in 2018, Bloomberg asserted that taxing poor people was necessary while doing the same to rich Americans would spell economic disaster.

During the lengthy session, Bloomberg argues that while raising the minimum wage would create problems, increasing taxes for low-income Americans was a “good thing.” His reasoning follows a line of reasoning shared by many conservatives.

“I think income inequality is a very big problem. But the bigger problem is, you can take money from the rich and move it over to the poor. If you do it too much then the rich stop producing and everybody loses,” Bloomberg said.

“The problem is the poor want more than a handout, they want the dignity of a job … the first thing to do is to get rid of some of these impediments to job creation” such as taxes on the rich, Bloomberg added.

He also explained his reasoning behind implementing certain regressive taxes, like the soda tax, while mayor. Bloomberg argued that because poor people have less spending power, taxing certain unhealthy goods can encourage people in this group to make different consumer choices.

“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,” Bloomberg said.

The head of non-profit tax reform group Americans for Tax Fairness Action, Frank Clemente, said the resurfaced remarks from Bloomberg are concerning. Speaking with the Daily Beast, Clemente suggested that the candidate may have been giving “lip service” when promising to raise taxes on the wealthy.

Bloomberg has been plagued by recordings in which he appears to contradict certain platforms and views he claims to hold today. Most recently, the former mayor could be heard defending the use of “stop and frisk” policing in a 2005 audio recording. In it, Bloomberg can be heard stating that although he realizes targeting minorities has its problems, it is necessary to curb violent crime.

Shortly after launching his presidential campaign, Bloomberg publicly apologized for the use of stop and frisk during his time as New York City mayor.

Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg defends a policy by his news organization to steer clear of certain coverage of him: "People have said to me, 'How can you investigate yourself?' And I said, 'I don't think you can' Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg defends a policy by his news organization to steer clear of certain coverage of him: "People have said to me, 'How can you investigate yourself?' And I said, 'I don't think you can'" Photo: GETTY IMAGES / Michael Ciaglo