Michael Bloomberg thinks that rich Americans, himself included, should pay more in taxes — he just doesn’t believe that a wealth levy, supported by 2020 rivals Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, will work.
During a campaign event in Phoenix, one of the first since he announced his late bid to capture the Democratic presidential nomination, Bloomberg vowed to support “taxing wealthy people like me,” but insisted that a tax on wealth “just doesn’t work.”
Sen. Warren has called for just two tax brackets on the extremely rich: 2 percent for assets over $50 million and 6 percent over $1 billion. Sen. Sanders, meanwhile, unveiled a more gradual plan, ranging from 1 percent on couples worth more than $32 million to 8 percent on $10 billion. Under Warren’s proposal, Bloomberg would be required to pay $3.16 billion in taxes, according to her campaign.
Bloomberg has not yet offered his own tax plan, but said one would be forthcoming, according to Bloomberg News. However, the 77-year-old billionaire said he supported President Trump’s reduction of the corporate tax rate to 21 percent from 35 percent in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, though he criticized the measure’s reductions for the wealthiest Americans as “uncalled for.”
As mayor of New York City, Bloomberg said he raised taxes to help fund municipal services and still survived politically.
“I raised taxes, and it turned out very well,” Bloomberg said. “In the end, people weren’t happy about a tax increase, but two years later, I did get re-elected by a large amount.”
Warren made a rare attack on Bloomberg this week for launching his campaign with a $37 million ad blitz, accusing him of trying to buy the presidential election.
“Bloomberg is making a bet on democracy in 2020,” the Massachusetts senator said. “He’s saying he doesn’t need people, he only needs bags and bags of money. I think Michael Bloomberg is wrong, and that’s what we need to prove in this election.”
Bloomberg spent at least $37 million for two weeks of television ads, a preview of how his vast personal fortune could become a major factor in the Democratic presidential race. The scope of Bloomberg’s ad buy is staggering, more than all of his potential rivals (besides billionaire Tom Steyer) have spent on ads all year, according to The New York Times.
“His view is he doesn’t need people who knock on doors,” Warren said. “He doesn't need to go out and campaign with people. He doesn't need volunteers. If you go out and knock on 1,000 doors, we’ll just spend another $37 million to flood the airways. And that's how he plans to buy a nomination in the Democratic Party.”
With his money — he’s the world’s eighth richest person, worth an estimated $52 billion, according to Forbes — and name recognition, Bloomberg is emerging as a disruptor to the Democratic primary, toppling former Vice President Joe Biden as the favored candidate among moderates while sharpening the divide between the progressive candidates like Warren and Sanders.