Michael Bloomberg

Michael Bloomberg Wants Public Health Policy Based on 'Science,' Which Would Be a Huge Change for Michael Bloomberg

The Democrats' last drug warrior and America's leading anti-vaper makes insincere paeans to dispassionate analysis while defending his nanny-state illiberalism during the presidential debate.


Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg during Tuesday night's presidential debate in South Carolina twice stressed the importance of basing policy on good "science," while defending his idiosyncratically intrusive approach to public health. It is lamentable, though not at this late stage surprising, that the 78-year-old billionaire continues to not let facts get in the way of his passion for limiting Americans' choices.

Bloomberg, who bragged during his first campaign that he "enjoyed" smoking pot then promptly turned Gotham into the marijuana arrest capital of the world, was asked by CBS News anchor Gayle King about his now-atypical prohibitionist stance, particularly since he has previously (in King's paraphrasing) "called marijuana another addictive drug that we've never done research on."

"Look, the first thing you do is we should not make this a criminal thing if you have a small amount. For dealers, yes, but for the average person, no, and you should expunge the records of those that got caught up in this before," Bloomberg said. Then: "We're not going to take it away from states that have already done it."

As Jacob Sullum has noted in these pages, this position, while better than the one Bloomberg staked out during his three mayoral terms, is fundamentally incoherent, since "as long as producing and distributing cannabis remain illegal, of course, the government will still be 'putting people in jail for marijuana'….If people should not be arrested for marijuana use, as Bloomberg now claims to believe, it is hard to see why people should be arrested merely for facilitating marijuana use."

But what rankles even more than the bad policy is the smug, self-satisfied, pseudo-scientific hubris with which Bloomberg then attempted to sell his continued opposition to legalizing a non-lethal recreational drug enjoyed peaceably by tens of millions of Americans.

"You should listen to the scientists and the doctors. They say go very slowly," he claimed. "They haven't done enough research. And the evidence so far is worrisome. Before we get all our kids, particularly kids in their late teens, boys even more than girls, where this may be damaging their brains. Until we know the science, it's just nonsensical to push ahead."

The worrisome "evidence" Bloomberg is almost certainly alluding to here is a shoddy and near-universally misreported study about pot use on the brain that serious researchers eviscerated on arrival back in 2014. And yet this doesn't begin to do justice to Mayor Mike's incandescent insincerity on the issue of marijuana science.

If indeed scientists "haven't done enough research," the biggest single impediment to that discovery has been a suppressive federal government informed by the same kind of prohibitionism Bloomberg has long practiced publicly, if not quite personally.

Nevertheless, some science has persisted—enough to allow the Food and Drug Administration to approve a synthetic version of THC for nausea way back in 1985, and various spinoffs thereafter. Yet as recently as 2013, the proudly ignorant mayor was calling marijuana's health benefits "one of the great hoaxes of all times," and snorting, "Yeah, right, 'medical,' my foot."

As Sullum noted then, "it is worth highlighting how woefully misinformed this supposedly smart and scientifically sophisticated technocrat is on the subject of marijuana's therapeutic utility….Contrary to what his dismissive tone suggests, Bloomberg has no idea what he's talking about….[His] arrogance is, if anything, more infuriating than his ignorance."

Also cloaked in the holy mantle of managerial lab-coatery Tuesday was Bloomberg's infamous mayoral record as a nanny-state busybody controlling the consumption habits of poor fatties. The good news is that the Democrats' very own trash-talking Manhattan billionaire recognizes that New York City isn't necessarily a model for the rest of the country. The bad news is that he continues to espouse some of the most intrusive philosophies of governance in all American politics.

"I do think it's the government's job to have good science and to explain to people what science says or how to take care of themselves and extend their lives," he said. "We are a country where there are too many people that are obese. We should do something about that."

He later added this non-humble brag: "Before I left, life expectancy in New York City had grown by three years during our 12 years in office, such that when I left, it was three years greater than the national average."

True? New York Times fact-checkers note that the number is actually 2.3 years greater than the national average, and that "research has also suggested that New York's high rate of immigrants may also explain part of the trend: Poor immigrants, in general, tend to be healthier than native-born Americans of similar incomes."

Like his notorious Stop, Question, and Frisk policy, some of Bloomberg's consumption-restrictions were eventually deemed by courts to run afoul of the law.

But the important thing for the pint-sized entrepreneur and those who nod along to his we-respect-science claims is that he is the avatar of technocrats who actually do not.

Bloomberg is the country's leading advocate for banning e-cigarettes in the name of public health, despite conclusive proof that vaping is one of the best harm-reduction strategies that smokers can employ short of quitting nicotine altogether. He is also the leading advocate for gun control, in which service he tells campaign whoppers about children killed by gun violence that are just 73 percent off the mark.

Nonetheless, credit where credit's due to the Democratic presidential candidate currently polling in third place nationally after dropping a cool half-billion on his three-month quest: The government should listen more often to scientists and doctors. Then maybe politicians wouldn't campaign on such anti-scientific, freedom-restricting claptrap.

NEXT: Stone Cold Justice

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  1. The commie frontrunner is the only Democrat presidential candidate with even a trace of liberaltarian-Jackalope DNA outside of the lovely congresswoman from the Aloha State.

    1. The Democrat’s soft bigotry of low expectations scores his NRA D- as an Ivy summa cum laude degree in enabling mass minority massacring mayhem.

  2. There is a huge disconnect between actual science and scientism. Bloomberg and his followers subscribe to the latter.

    1. Scientism is a matter of faith for progressives.

      1. I must say that that is just the thing I wanted to say

    2. Fracking, nuclear power, sonograms, GMO foods, keeping human waste off streets, vaccines, all opposed by these “sciencers”

      1. You left our biological sex

    3. Why wouldn’t he? He can buy enough of it.

  3. Yet, despite this stance, Bloomberg was the only one who seemed to have any semblance of a responsible adult on that stage. Not that the bar was very high…

    1. The only thing I can say in favor of the guy is that he probably wouldn’t deliberately run the economy over a cliff. Most of them are searching for cliffs and gunning the engine.

      But why vote for somebody who’d pursue reasonably rational economic policy in a police state? We’re getting reasonable economic policy out of Trump already, without the urge to dictate what size your big gulp can be.

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  5. The problem is we can’t trust the scientists to be objective and push actual scientific truth. We just went through 30 years of food pyramids and anti-fat and salt hysteria pushed by scientists with agendas. I had to grow up with margarine and low-fat milk in the refrigerator because of “science”.

    “Scientists” are pushing their own agendas using a thin veneer of science. For instance the VA just started a pilot program to treat diabetes among veterans with a low carb diet. Cue the “Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a nonprofit research and advocacy organization that advocates for plant-based diets” to attack the VA because we don’t know all the risks of a long term low carb diet. Well we do know both the short term and long term risks of diabetes, and maybe the trade-off about doing a study to measure the long term benefits of a low carb diet is worth it. But here you have a group of vegetarian physicians trying to muddy the scientific water for their own agendas.

    1. We do know the risks and benefits of low carb diets.
      They have been studied for decades.

    2. Food scientists aren’t really scientists. Nor are psychologists. It’s all pseudo-science mumbo-jumbo, with what little actual science there is so buried you’d never find it with a back ho and ground penetrating radar.

    3. The problem is we can’t trust the scientists to be objective and push actual scientific truth.

      There was a time when the truth didn’t need pushing. It was an inherent virtue and people would seek it out whether you told them to or not. Doing otherwise lead individuals and large groups into darkness.

    4. No group is more prone to group think and a herd mentality than “scientists”.

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  7. Mini-Mikey has the personality and pizzazz of a cold, dead, slimy fish. It is that simple. All his money won’t get him elected. Why? He just does not connect to people. His smug elitism is a mega-turnoff.

    1. Then how’d he get elected 3 times against candidates with more personality?

      1. Are you trying to pretend that New York isn’t rife with smug elitism and the appreciation thereof or did you honestly forget?

  8. Thank you for sending me the information about it I learned a lot from it. I appreciate you the detail you went into it. I am grateful for the amount of time and effort you put into this helping us. Your insights and summary are beneficial.

  9. If you want to get the full effect, you really need to watch his TV advertising. Here in Florida we are getting a steady diet. They are well thought out and slickly produced. And have little relationship to reality.

    It should be pretty effective for him. He is able to outdo the media in terms of time spent on his history. Right now he is authoring a history where he is the champion of minorities and women. He is apparently the first person to give black owned businesses a chance. And he’s the first person to have women as “advisors” in his administration. Without Bloomberg, they would never have had a chance!

    For many, this will be their first and only introduction to Bloomberg and his policies. They won’t be coming here for context.

    I don’t watch commercials. We skip them on the DVR. And yet I’ve seen dozens of different Bloomberg ads, multiple times each…. just from having the TV on while I’m making dinner or other such tasks. The ad saturation really is unprecedented.

    1. It’s on my phone too.
      Not sure if it’s just Florida, but they’re inescapable

      1. Inescapable like portraits of third world dictators are everywhere, which I’m sure is how Mike sees himself.

      2. It’s all over Texas as well. Lot of signs, tons of ads. Very slick.

        But nobody is waiting 2 hours in line to hear Bloomberg speak, like people are doing for Bernie.

        1. How many of the people waiting to see Bernie are hoping someone asks him a question about how a socialist owns 3 homes and then Bernie goes into apoplexy and collapses?

  10. To underscore my point about people not knowing anything about Bloomberg and getting their information from the commercials, I heard two news reports during my commute this morning. 2 different talk radio stations had the same question – why would Amy Klobuchar say that Bloomberg told a pregnant female employee to “kill it?”

    These are morning news talk shows. That’s all they do – talk about political news. Neither had ever heard of that allegation. Both thought Klobuchar sounded like a nut and just made it up – having no evidence. They had no idea that the woman in question is the one who told us about the incident.

    These are among the most informed people on political news. They follow it for a living. And they didn’t know about that story.

    So, as you are assuming that voters know about Mayor Big Gulp, Stop and Frisk, Straw Bans and all of the nanny state problems Bloomberg has – remember those two morning news talk crews. If they don’t know about it, don’t expect your neighbors who are heading to the polls to know about it.

    But they’ll know that Bloomberg is the champion of criminal justice reform. He even reduced the incarceration of black men by 75%. That’s what his commercials are telling them, so that’s what they’ll know.

    1. Let me underscore your underscore further. I knew of it. In fact, I know a helluva lot more than these people. A lot of it is right there on the Internet through a simple search. It’s inexcusable to not know anything ESPECIALLY if that’s, you know, your damn job.

      Here’s the kicked. I’m from CANADA. I seem to be way more engaged and informed than dumbass Americans. And don’t get me going with Canadians who are even further up their own asses.

      A few years back I was listening to Howard Stern (I figured let me give it one last stab because he got to tame and PC for my taste). He was talking about Bloomberg and how great he was for business and couldn’t understand all the hate about him – or something to that effect.

      Stop & Frisk was already controversial when he said that as was his war on salt. He spoke as if these things didn’t matter. There’s no excuse to not do your jobs as a journalist and go look back at Bloomberg like you do Trump. There’s no shortage of articles on Trump’s alleged racism while he was a businessman in publications like The Atlantic. So when will they scrutinize the tyrannical billionaire with a God-Napoleon complex, eh?

      I changed the channel and never went back. It sounded so sophomoric.

      1. There’s no excuse to not do your jobs as a journalist and go look back at Bloomberg like you do Trump.

        Trump? Everyone. Dude starts a charity in Iowa and within 48 hours two modestly racist Tweets he made over a decade ago as a teen have crippled the charity.

    2. Massive TV and internet ad buys will only get you so far and don’t have much traction with younger voters before it becomes a turn-off. I’m not that young anymore but got so sick and tired of seeing Bloomberg’s ads on FB that I blocked them-first time I have blocked any ad.

  11. When Little Mike says ‘science’ he says means the ‘fucking science he loves in his mind’.

  12. Notice how science goes right out the window when you bring up guns for Bloomberg. Then it’s “THINK OF TEH CHILDREN”

  13. His most recent radio ads in CA have him ‘saving America’, which is modest compared to that crony POS Steyer: He’s ‘saving the world!’

    1. Where can I get me some Bloomberg Underoos?

      1. Bloomberg Underoos

        For women, for trans-equality, for the future of America… Bloomberg Bloomers.

  14. “we should not make this a criminal thing if you have a small amount. For dealers, yes, but for the average person, no”

    “For instance, if you have enough to fit in a Big Gulp cup, you’re obviously a dealer.”

  15. “merely for facilitating marijuana use.”

    If you actually think that’s all dealers do, then you’re not very creative.

    1. But that’s all they’ve done if you’re just arresting them for dealing. The act of dealing, by itself, is literally just facilitating marijuana use.

      Yes, lots of them are involved in other criminal activities. No one is saying they shouldn’t be arrested for those things.

      1. No one is saying they shouldn’t be arrested for those things.

        NB: Mikey thinks they should be arrested for other legal things.

  16. Democrats love science as long as it is performed by people who engage in right-think. People like Margret Sanger, Ancel Keys, and Micheal Mann.

  17. “I do think it’s the government’s job to have good science and to explain to people what science says or how to take care of themselves and extend their lives,”

    Translation: We shouldn’t allow “those people” to be free if they’re not going to make the decisions we want them to.

    Bloomberg is evil.

  18. Science.

    No greater huckster than a politician who talks about science this way.

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