Bloomberg: Tax the Middle Class!

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Nov. 22 2011 9:43 AM

Bloomberg: Tax the Middle Class!

When Mike Bloomberg talks about Washington, we all start assuming he's up for a presidential bid. Bloomberg waded into the supercommittee failure yesterday at the same time that his adviser Kevin Sheekey was saying "Mike Bloomberg has the ability to be the best parts of Bill Clinton, Rupert Murdoch, and Bill Gates all rolled up into one." (To be fair, when Kevin Sheekey orders a sandwich, he says "turkey, cheese, Mike Bloomberg should be president, hold the mayo.") Bloomberg went on CNN to bang on, and he touched the hard-to-reach sweet spot of the Washington deficit scold.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

All the president has to do is make one simple declaratory statement and all of this will come together. And that statement is, he should say, I am going to veto any extension of any of the Bush-era tax cuts, not just those for the wealthy, but for everybody, because it's everybody's problem.
And most of the money that you need to close the deficit is in the average middle class person, not with the wealthy. The wealthy pay a very -- maybe a disproportionate percentage of their income in taxes. Some people say maybe it should be worse.
But the total amount of taxes that the wealthy pay do not go anywhere remotely toward solving the problem.
Everybody is part of the solution. Everybody gets benefits from government. And I think everybody should pay.

Maybe Bloomberg and Sheekey are pointing to a post-mayoral role, the politician/billionnaire who calls for everybody to sacrifice -- Pete Peterson 2.0. But when Bloomberg talks about this, the punditocracy thinks of the coming lull between the GOP primary and the party conventions, when there'll be talk of a third party campaign. And, hey, the NBC/WSJ poll gives Bloomberg 13 percent support in a three-way presidential race -- Barack Obama gets a 9-point overall lead. Bloomberg makes it easier for Obama to win!

I don't buy it. National polls are fun and somewhat meaningless. A Bloomberg campaign would be fighting for electoral votes in 50 states. Where's he likely to get the most support? There are portions of the country that agree with Bloomberg's straight-talk liberalism, and portions of the country that have been ope to third party candidates. Surprise: These are the places Democrats count on to win elections. Go back and look at the 1992 map. Ross Perot ran on a program of raising taxes and cutting spending to close the deficit. Nationally, he got an average of 19 percent, but he was strongest in the Northeast and the Pacific Northwest, and in deep red plains states -- 24 percent in Washington/Oregon, 30 percent in Maine, 22 percent in Connecticut, 26 percent in Wyoming and Montana. Make the Perot candidate anti-gun and pro-gay marriage, and he's weaker in those red states while appealing to liberals in the blue states. He starts off strong in the New York metroplex, where Barack Obama has been showing unusual weakness. No, the Bloomberg flirtation is a bigger threat to Democrats than it is to the GOP.

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics



The World’s Politest Protesters

The Occupy Central demonstrators are courteous. That’s actually what makes them so dangerous.

The Religious Right Is Not Happy With Republicans  

The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 4:58 PM The Religious Right Is Not Happy With Republicans  

The Feds Have Declared War on Encryption—and the New Privacy Measures From Apple and Google

The One Fact About Ebola That Should Calm You

It spreads slowly.

These “Dark” Lego Masterpieces Are Delightful and Evocative


Operation Backbone

How White Boy Rick, a legendary Detroit cocaine dealer, helped the FBI uncover brazen police corruption.


Talking White

Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.

Activists Are Trying to Save an Iranian Woman Sentenced to Death for Killing Her Alleged Rapist

Piper Kerman on Why She Dressed Like a Hitchcock Heroine for Her Prison Sentencing

  News & Politics
Oct. 1 2014 7:26 PM Talking White Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.
Oct. 1 2014 2:16 PM Wall Street Tackles Chat Services, Shies Away From Diversity Issues 
Oct. 1 2014 6:02 PM Facebook Relaxes Its “Real Name” Policy; Drag Queens Celebrate
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 5:11 PM Celebrity Feminist Identification Has Reached Peak Meaninglessness
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 9:39 PM Tom Cruise Dies Over and Over Again in This Edge of Tomorrow Supercut
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 6:59 PM EU’s Next Digital Commissioner Thinks Keeping Nude Celeb Photos in the Cloud Is “Stupid”
  Health & Science
Oct. 1 2014 4:03 PM Does the Earth Really Have a “Hum”? Yes, but probably not the one you’re thinking.
Sports Nut
Oct. 1 2014 5:19 PM Bunt-a-Palooza! How bad was the Kansas City Royals’ bunt-all-the-time strategy in the American League wild-card game?