Updated Feb 18, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Michael Bloomberg on the issues, in under 500 words

Bloomberg himself.

Michael Bloomberg. Photo: Yana Paskova/Getty Images

Michael Bloomberg is a late entry to the Democratic primary, launching less than three months out from the Iowa caucuses. The billionaire is known for his former role as mayor of New York City from 2002 to 2013 and his current position as CEO of Bloomberg LP.

Key facts

  • Current position: Founder and CEO of Bloomberg LP
  • Age: 77
  • Born: Boston
  • Undergraduate: Johns Hopkins University
  • Graduate: Harvard University MBA
  • Date candidacy announced: Nov. 24, 2019
  • Previous roles: Mayor of New York City (2002–2013)

Key issues

  • Wall Street: Proposed a 0.1% financial transactions tax, merging Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, strengthening banking and lending regulations and creating a Justice Department team to investigate corporate crime.
  • Wealth tax: Has called for more progressive tax policy, but says the wealth tax proposed by Elizabeth Warren goes too far.
  • Climate: Has donated $500 million to an initiative to halt construction of new natural gas-fired power plants and to close all U.S. coal plants by 2030. Has called the Green New Deal unrealistic.
  • Gun control: Supports universal background checks, but does not think confiscating military-style weapons already in circulation would be feasible. Founded and primary financier of Everytown for Gun Safety, which advocates for stricter gun control legislation.
  • Health care: Called for a public option to compete with private insurance, but would not reinstate Obamacare's individual mandate. Wants Medicare to negotiate drug prices.
  • LGBTQ+ issues: Supports same-sex marriage and presided over New York City’s first official same-sex marriage the day it became legal. The Human Rights Campaign also named Bloomberg LP one of the "Best Places to Work for LGBTQ Equality."
  • Immigration: Would rescind President Trump's travel ban, end family separation policies, order the Department of Justice to investigate abuse at ICE and CBP and set the annual refugee resettlement target to 125,000.
  • Housing: Boosted affordable housing programs in New York, building 175,000 units between 2002 and 2013.
  • Veterans: Provided priority job placement and assistance services to veterans and their spouses. Worked with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to combat veteran homelessness.
  • Higher education: Wants to increase Pell Grants to about $13,000, make community college tuition-free, and offer a plan for debt-free college.
  • Criminal justice reform: Unveiled a reform agenda that focuses on reducing the prison population by 50% with a 2030 deadline, and helping reintegrate those who have been jailed.

Key criticisms

  • The Democratic Party has an increasingly unfavorable view of billionaires. Bloomberg has an estimated net worth of $54 billion.
  • While serving as mayor, Bloomberg also implemented the stop-and-frisk policing practice, which disproportionately affected people of color. He defended the policy for years before apologizing in 2019.
  • Bloomberg is facing increased scrutiny for his past crude and sexist comments, his actions toward Muslims in New York after the September 11 attacks and his coddling of China.

1 fun thing:

Go deeper: Everything you need to know about the other 2020 candidates

Go deeper