Twitter posters bashed billionaire and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg on Wednesday for comments made last year about taxing the poor to discourage them from smoking, consuming sugary drinks, or other activities that could endanger their lives.
"People say, 'taxes are regressive,'" Bloomberg said during an April 2018 interview at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington. His comments were posted Wednesday on Twitter.
At the time, Bloomberg was the World Health Organization's ambassador for noncommunicable diseases — and he explained how his Bloomberg Philanthropies charity contributed to efforts to prevent such ailments.
Bloomberg, as New York City's mayor, was infamously known for proposing a ban on jumbo sugary drinks, which was later struck down by a New York State appellate court, and he later pumped $18 million into two successful California ballot initiatives on taxing heavily sweetened beverages.
"But in this case, yes they are," Bloomberg told the IMF session about taxes. "That's the good thing about them, because the problem is in people that don't have a lot of money.
"Higher taxes should have a bigger impact on their behavior and how they deal with themselves.
"I listen to people say, 'Oh, we don't want to tax the poor," he continued.
"Well, we want the poor to live longer, so that they can get an education and enjoy life.
"That's why you do want to do 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?" Bloomberg said.
He applied similar analogies to coal miners and to U.S. Army servicemembers.
"But the comparison is a life or a job — or taxes or life," Bloomberg concluded. "Which do you want to do? Take your poison."
While Bloomberg's comments received some applause from the D.C. crowd — and nearly 500 Twitter "likes" Wednesday — other posters were not so kind.
"Bc we all need @MikeBloomberg to micromanage our lives," tweeted Jennifer Bragg. "Is this still the land of liberty??"
"Raise taxes to control behavior," Peasant H said. "No thanks, Mikie, I can look out for myself."
"Make the poor poorer, make the middle class poorer," JoEllen tweeted, "because elites like Bloomberg truly believe they are superior to the rest of us and we were just put on Earth to serve them."
Christina Champ simply tweeted, "scary."
But one tweeter, Steven, posted, "He ain't wrong."
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