"Republicans' No-Tax Stand Unsupported By History or Facts" is the headline on a Bloomberg News editorial. Says the editorial, "As always, the Republican leaders justified their intransigence by invoking the demons of job-killing taxes that would suppress the dynamism of overtaxed Americans, hampering growth. This is partisan nonsense." The editorial calls "dubious" the claim that raising taxes in a downturn hinders growth. It insists "revenue increases are required" and helpfully adds, "A large majority of voters would like to see the wealthiest 1 percent raise their hands first."
What a contrast to the approach that the majority owner, namesake, and founder of Bloomberg News, Michael Bloomberg, has taken as mayor of New York. "Mayor Vows No New York City Tax Increase as He Confronts Deficit," was the headline over a Bloomberg News article on January 19, 2011 that somehow managed to avoid accusing Mr. Bloomberg of engaging in intransigence or in partisan nonsense. In March of 2011, with New York State facing a large budget gap, Mr. Bloomberg opposed a proposal by Democrats to extend an income tax increase on individuals with income greater than $1 million a year. "You want to drive businesses out, you raise taxes," he warned. In April of 2011, when the national economy seemed to be doing roughly how it is right now, maybe even a bit stronger, Mayor Bloomberg was asked by Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday, "Specifically -- because you say eventually you have got to grow your way out of this -- would you raise taxes on the wealthy?" Mr. Bloomberg replied, "Today, no, because I just think this economy nationwide is at a point where it really could go either way." It sure sounded like he was buying into the claim his editorial writer now calls "dubious," that raising taxes in a downturn hinders growth, or at least threatens to.
Now, one can argue that it's easier for a business or a rich taxpayer to leave New York State or New York City than it is to leave America, or one can argue that New York City and New York State are already relatively high-tax jurisdictions while the United States is relatively low tax (though the latter claim is somewhat suspect, depending on what one is comparing it to). But for an editorial column that claims to express "values embodied by Mike Bloomberg, the founder of Bloomberg LP," to go around touting tax increases on the rich to close the deficit at a time when the mayor himself is unwilling to endorse that approach at either the city, state, or national level is just weird. Either the mayor is using his own money to commission and distribute editorials that disagree with his own views, or as mayor he's pursuing and expressing policies that disagree with what he really believes. Either alternative is something less than a consistent or principled approach.