By Lowell Ponte
Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, one of America’s richest billionaires, now wants to heavily tax poor people.
Such taxes, says Bloomberg, would be a “good thing” for those already in poverty.
Like most self-righteous leftist Progressives, Michael Bloomberg is paternalistically proposing what economists call “Pigovian” taxes, designed not only to enrich government but also to impose social engineering.
He wants to use taxes as back-door regulation to impose his desired social policies, as proposed by English economist Arthur Pigou, who died in 1959.
If poor people are dying from the health effects of smoking or of drinking sugary soda pop, as Bloomberg believes, then they will be able to buy and consume far less of these harmful products if a heavy tax is added to soda’s and tobacco’s price.
Those poor who divert money from paying rent or buying new shoes for their children will continue to buy such things, but government will have lots more money to treat their health problems.
“Two things in life…are absolutely certain. One is death, the other is tax. So you use one to defer the other,” said Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund before which Bloomberg was discussing his plans to tax the poor.
“That’s correct. That is exactly right. Well said,” responded Bloomberg to the globalist audience that showered him with applause. Progressives want the future to be a socialist paradise controlled not by commoners with a right to vote and as individuals to choose what each wants, but by a superior paternalistic elite that decides what is best for everyone and imposes it on them for their own good.
As Mayor of New York City, Bloomberg had no doubt that his peculiar values were to be imposed. Buying a “Big Gulp” soda pop was prohibited. Cigarettes were taxed so heavily that a criminal underground emerged to provide those hooked on nicotine with a cheaper smoking “fix,” and police were diverted from fighting violent crime to enforce this lucrative tax.
Such “Pigovian” taxes were, of course, regressive; they hurt the poor economically far more than the well-to-do. But as “revenue” measures, such taxes could be put into law far more easily than legislation that would require Mayor Bloomberg to prove his biases were scientifically valid as “sin” taxes. Progressives not long ago were dogmatically telling us that dietary fat was hazardous and should be replaced by sugary carbohydrates; they were wrong then and could be wrong now.
Pigovian taxes have already been used to restrict our use of carbon, CFCs, cigarettes, dietary fat, high fructose corn syrup, soda pop, tobacco, alcohol, and much else. Pigovian subsidies are behind tax breaks in so-called “enterprise zones” in economically-disadvantaged neighborhoods; trouble is, to sustain an enterprise zone, government needs to make the zones around it less-than-optimally-friendly to business and enterprise. And Mayor Bloomberg, a notorious gun-grabber, is more than eager to use sky-high Pigovian taxes to limit the sale and ownership of firearms and ammunition.
Would high Pigovian taxes be a “good thing” for the health of the poor? Taxes are a major cause of stress, anxiety, and fear. So, too, is poverty, which such taxes would greatly increase. And such stresses cause heart attacks, cancer, and a thousand other potentially-deadly health risks.
Michael Bloomberg and his authoritarian taxes aimed at the poor are hazardous to the health of millions of Americans. It is frightening to think that Mayor Bloomberg and his arrogant fellow Progressives believe they are superior to, and entitled to impose their lethal values onto, the rest of us.
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