Michael Bloomberg, the 77-year-old former New York mayor has announced his candidacy for President of the United States. His moderate stance and experience in business and government make him a good candidate for Democrats to endorse for their nomination. Personally, in 2016 I backed Donald Trump for the reasons that I believed that his economic policies would bring great success to the US economy and that would knock off onto the British economy. There is no doubt that Trump is a controversial figure yet his economic policies of cutting the red tape and promoting entrepreneurship have done wonders for the US economy. However, despite this, I could find myself backing Michael Bloomberg in 2020.
The first reason that I could find myself backing Bloomberg is due to his ideas on gun control. Guns are without doubt the USA’s biggest problem. In 2017, a staggering 17,000 people were killed by gunfire in the USA. Of course, some of these killings may have been in self-defence or by police, however, there is little doubt that with stricter gun control then this figure would drop dramatically. Bloomberg has an answer to this problem. Bloomberg backs stricter background checks, which would of course reduce the risk of dangerous individuals from being able to buy a gun. Bloomberg in 2014 set up ‘Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety’, a group advocating for stricter background checks, closing gun loopholes and limiting illegal gun trafficking. Bloomberg’s strong policies on guns would not sit well with the NRA who are a sizable force in US politics, Bloomberg would not receive the backing from the NRA for his presidential campaign and may not be able to convince some Republican voters with this policy. Yet, this idea is a step in the right direction. It doesn’t abolish guns, but it does allow for significant restriction which should be able to reduce the number of gun deaths in the USA and would decrease crime rates. His record on crime is excellent. Crime rates dropped 32% while he was mayor of New York. This is the first reason that I could back Bloomberg.
Secondly, Bloomberg’s economic policies. Bloomberg is obviously an incredibly competent businessman; you don’t acquire a $55 billion fortune without having a strong business brain. He proved his competency with economics when he was mayor of New York. In 2007, he turned NYC’s $5 billion deficit into a $4 billion surplus. Bloomberg is a strong advocate of keeping progressive tax rates rather than introduce wealth tax which taxes assets and overall wealth of an individual rather than taxing their income. Elizabeth Warren, the current frontrunner, ha called for a 2% wealth tax for all families who have total assets worth over $50 million. This would mean that a family who have assets of $50 million would have to pay $1 million a year to the government as wealth tax. It is simply unfair for wealth tax to be imposed on those who have worked hard to purchase their assets, only to have to keep having to pay for them after they have been bought. Bearing in mind wealth tax is paid as well as income tax. Bloomberg is also against the idea of higher corporate tax rates he believes that having higher tax rates encourages offshoring of profits, which of course it does as shown consistently when tax rates of over 30% have been implemented.
Finally, Bloomberg is committed to tackle climate change. Bloomberg, like many Democrats has suggested making the US carbon neutral. Yet Bloomberg is more realistic when timeframe, similar the UK has suggested becoming carbon-neutral by 2050. Other Democratic candidates suggesting carbon neutrality in the space of 10 years is not realistic and the economic impacts of such a rapid switch could be enormous. Yet a period of 30 years attempting to become carbon neutral is a realistic timeframe and work for that would start straight away. This policy may also go down favourably with energy companies, in particular with BP and Shell who have set their sights on carbon neutrality in the future but have addressed these issues by taking a steady approach to doing so.
However, I will not completely make out that Bloomberg is a saint. There are still some of his ideas I do disagree with. Firstly, despite arguing for corporate tax rates under 35%, he also has said that the current Republican tax isn’t valid, meaning it would undoubtedly be raised. I cannot agree with Bloomberg here, the proof is in the pudding with the current tax rate. In November alone unemployment dropped by 266,000 in the USA, the Dow Jones stock index reached an all-time high of 28,199.75 and real wages have increased on average as well. The success of Trump’s economic policies is significant and going back on many of his ideas may not be the greatest economic move.
Despite one setback I do think Bloomberg’s candidacy can be a positive one for the USA. The US is obviously in a difficult position currently, many of the population are not pleased with President Trump and an impeachment process is ongoing. Bloomberg’s progressive ideas on gun control, discontent with ideas of wealth tax and lastly sensible ideas on climate support make him a strong candidate in my eyes. Only time will tell if the increasingly left-wing Democratic party will accept his ideas, but if they do, Bloomberg may prove to be a serious competitor to the Republicans.
By T Nurcombe