Tax cuts alone won’t answer U.S. economic needs, Bloomberg says

Tax cuts alone won’t answer U.S. economic needs, Bloomberg says


JUDY WOODRUFF: And now a tough assessment
about the impact of this bill. It’s part of our continuing coverage of this
major legislation. Michael Bloomberg is a former mayor of New
York City and, of course, a billionaire investor and business owner. He wrote an opinion column this weekend calling
it a trillion-dollar blunder. I spoke with him a short time ago. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, welcome. The Republicans and President Trump say this
tax bill is going to make historic changes to a system that is way out of whack. You are a successful businessperson. Why do you think it’s not going to work? MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (I), Former Mayor of New
York: Well, I think it will make an historic change to our system. Unfortunately, it’s all in the wrong direction. What this bill is going to do is create a
$1.5 trillion, #1.7 trillion deficit over the next 10 years. And that means we’re not going to have money
to do for infrastructure what the president was calling for today. We’re not going to have any money to improve
our school systems, which are falling apart. We’re not going to do any of these things. And it exacerbates the income inequality problem
at the same time. It’s really hard to see how you could call
this bill reform. It has no reforms in it whatsoever. So, if you had tax breaks before, basically,
you still have them. You’re just going to have a lower tax rate
for some people, mainly for the very wealthy, and those people are just going to have a
bigger percentage of the pie. JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, just yesterday, Treasury
Secretary Mnuchin said that this is a bill that’s going to lead to massive economic growth. He said as high as 6 percent in some quarters,
and he said it’s going to lead to wage increases, average wage increases of $4,500 a year. MICHAEL BLOOMBERG: Well, number one, if the
treasury secretary really believes that, everybody is holding with bated breath, waiting with
bated breath for him to give us the report that he said he had 100 people in Treasury
working on. What he did is, he came — one piece of paper,
one page, and it just said, all is going to be good. But the truth of the matter is, we have never
had growth for a long period of time like that. And in the past, when we have reduced taxes,
it has not gone to increase wages or really to stimulate economic activity. If you think about it, without a tax increase,
the stock market in the last year is up 25 percent, 27 percent. I don’t know what stimulation you can get
beyond that. JUDY WOODRUFF: You have said — you agree
that the corporate tax rate is too high. You run a global business. Do you think this is going to lead businesses
to bring jobs back to the United States? MICHAEL BLOOMBERG: I think there is a reason
to reduce corporate taxes. We are much higher than everybody else. And to be competitive, you have to do that. But doing things that will stimulate economic
activity is very different than just cutting taxes. We need to take money and invest it in things
like infrastructure, not reduce our ability to go and invest in infrastructure. This is a political bill, Judy, that was designed
because the president of the United States made a campaign promise, wants to fulfill
that campaign promise. And Congress has gone ahead and passed a bill
in the dead of night, if you will, where nobody has read this bill, nobody knows what’s in
it. The Congress is going to vote for this bill
without having done any due diligence, without having consulted any experts. It is about as irresponsible a way to create
policy and laws as anybody could possibly think of. JUDY WOODRUFF: You also mentioned, Mayor Bloomberg,
education, that the burden is going to fall heaviest here on the cities with the poorest
students. How so? MICHAEL BLOOMBERG: Well, we have a group of
people in this country who are poor and don’t seem to be able to work their ways out of
poverty. And one of the real reasons for that is they
don’t get a good education. We put teachers in the classroom who can’t
— in many cases shouldn’t be there, can’t — aren’t qualified, unfortunately. And we should spend money to take those teachers
and give them the help they need to become better teachers, so they can help these people
get an education. And if you get an education, then you can
work yourself out of poverty. By taking the away the state and local deductions
in the big states, where they have more of the people with — who, unfortunately, have
been mired in poverty for a long time, we’re taking away their ability to give the poor
people of this country what they need to work themselves out of this spiral, the succession
of generation after generation that remains poor. We keep talking about helping them, and we’re
not helping them, and this is going to make it harder to do that. JUDY WOODRUFF: One other thing this bill does
is to do away with the individual mandate under Obamacare, health insurance, that people
are required to purchase health insurance. What effect do you think that’s going to have
on premiums? MICHAEL BLOOMBERG: Well, somebody’s got to
pay. That’s the dirty little secret here is, medical
costs keep going up, and we’re unwilling to do anything about the costs, like negotiating
with pharmaceutical companies for lower prices, which other countries do. But, regardless, whatever the cost of medicine
is, we want to have everybody covered. We have made a decision in this country we’re
not going to let anybody die in the streets. If you need hospital care, medical care, the
government will pay for it, either through an insurance program, like Obamacare, or direct
subsidies from the taxpayers to hospitals and doctors that have to provide that care. And to take away the mandate is really saying,
the only people who are going to pay are those who need health care. And the way health care works is, everybody
pays, so it reduces the cost so that people that need health care can afford it, because,
otherwise, they could never afford it on their own. That’s what an insurance plan is. Everybody pays in, some people benefit. Why would you pay into that? Because it might be you some day that needs
the benefit. JUDY WOODRUFF: Final question. You have been critical of President Trump
since before he was elected. What grade would you give him after 11 months
in office? MICHAEL BLOOMBERG: Well, I think the president
has to learn the job, and he’s still doing that. He’s doing it slower than I would have thought. He has to build a team, and he’s really not
done that. And now it’s harder for him to attract good
people. But the bottom line is, this president, as
all presidents, need a team, and let them make decisions. You have got to hire people and give them
authority to go along with responsibility. And you have got to hire people who are experts
in each facet of government, rather than people who just happen to agree with your political
point of views. And he’s not separated out the politics from
the knowledge that we need. And to sit there and say to CDC, the Centers
for Disease Control, you can’t use certain words, or we can’t talk about climate change,
we can’t talk about certain things that are politically not what the president believes
in, but you can’t manage science. We’re almost going back to the Dark Ages of
saying what science is, what things they can look at, and what their conclusions have to
be from a political point of view, regardless of whether the scenes gets there. Now, the president has to understand that
he’s the president of all the people and that his political views, he has a right to those
— and there is nothing wrong with him trying to push those — he was elected by 63-odd
million people. But certain things, you just have to do based
on the facts and have experts, nonpolitical experts, do it. JUDY WOODRUFF: Former New York City Mayor
Michael Bloomberg, we thank you. MICHAEL BLOOMBERG: Judy, thank you for having
me.

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