Mike Bloomberg talks Trump, and explains why he didn't run for president

Kelsey Kats, producer for CNBC's "Squawk Box"
Key Points
  • "If you have three credible candidates, nobody is going to get 50 percent," Bloomberg says.
  • "And if no one gets 50 percent it goes to the House of Representatives to pick a president," he says.
  • "In my case, the House would have picked Donald Trump, and my obit would have been about only one thing: He's the guy that gave us Donald Trump."
Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaks at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, July 27, 2016.
Lucy Nicholson | Reuters

The prospect of a Mike Bloomberg presidency has baited constituents for over a decade.

The 75-year-old former Big Apple mayor recently opened up about his decision to not mount a campaign against President Donald Trump, and his thoughts on positive change in America.

"I thought long and hard about running. If you have three credible candidates, nobody is going to get 50 percent…and if no one gets 50 percent it goes to the House of Representatives to pick a president," Bloomberg said Thursday at the Jefferies 2017 Global Healthcare Conference.

"In my case, the House would have picked Donald Trump, and my obit would have been about only one thing: he's the guy that gave us Donald Trump."

Bloomberg lamented the heavy media coverage Trump received during the campaign, enabling him to avoid spending heavily on ads.

"The New York Times did everything they could to elect Donald Trump…they don't think of it that way...they put Trump's name on the right hand column with his picture above the fold every single day…so did CNN. It was all Trump all the time back when he needed publicity."

The quantity and speed of information in the digital age has paradoxically obstructed our ability to comprehend and make even more informed decisions – as the most sophisticated and complex issues are being distilled in 140 characters, he said.

"It's not just the government, running a company today is much harder, running a family today is much harder, because everything is available to everybody all the time," Bloomberg said.

"The world is changing and politics is certainly struggling to catch up," he joked with the audience, "You see how hard it is to get Congress to pass one bill…the repeal of Obamacare. It's phenomenally unpopular. Seventy-80 percent of the people hate Obamacare and approximately 80 or 90 percent of the people love the Affordable Care Act."

He views health care through the lens of other "social programs" in which taxpayers are obliged to pay in to a system that promotes communal benefits like defense or education. Health care is a system he believes warrants everybody's contribution, because as a society, we have already established that no one will be denied care when their life is at risk.

"The simplest way is to have single payer," he said. "All the working people pay taxes, and you have to spread the burden over everybody. You have to insure a lot of people who don't need insurance because you have to use those monies to pay for health care for those people who do need it. It's going to get more lopsided with time, because the costs keep going up. The politics of single payer do not work at the moment, but maybe someday people will look at it differently."

The conversation focused on the costly paradox of health care: Technological innovation, in most industries is helping to decrease operational costs; however, technology isn't making health care any cheaper.

"We haven't solved the basic problem…that medicine is going to get more costly," Bloomberg said. "In every other industry technology reduces costs, but I don't know if it's reducing health-care costs or employment."

During much of Bloomberg's tenure, he helped create and retain hundreds of thousands of jobs in New York City. He repeated his message to Washington: "You've got to create jobs, the people at the bottom of the income ladder want the dignity of a job."

One method of attempting to bring the working poor out of poverty has been raising the minimum wage. Bloomberg believes that tax and transfer policies have arguably done more to redistribute wealth in the country than minimum wage policy measures.

"Minimum wage is one of the dumber ideas we have ever had," he said. "We should reduce the earned income tax credit requirements, because if we want to do something everybody should [be] participating, not just the few small companies that hire fewer people."

He said the cost of a higher minimum wage to employers will likely be much greater than the burden to the government to finance earned income tax credit expansion.

Another decision he thinks is pure "mashugana," the Yiddish word for craziness, is Brexit. Bloomberg said "voting for Brexit is one of the stupidest things a country has done." He thinks Brexit looks at immigration in a completely backward way because immigrants provide the type of services that in turn make many constituents the biggest beneficiaries.

In some sense, America has also fallen prey to the type of populist thinking motivating the dissolution of the European Union.

"I am getting tired though of 'Make America Great Again.' It's pretty hard to argue that America isn't the greatest country still in the world by an order of magnitude," he said. "What we have to do in America is not take it back to a mythical past but take it and make it serve more of the public. The intelligentsia on both coasts forced on people change without explaining to them why and bringing them along."