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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who recently unveiled a universal health care plan, blamed economic challenges on wealthy people he said had “raped the system” — also telling CNN host Jake Tapper on Sunday’s “State of the Union” that he cannot rule out a 2020 presidential run.
“The one percent really has raped the system, including the recent tax law, which gave a huge windfall to the corporations and the wealthy,” de Blasio said.
Tapper had challenged de Blasio on a statement he made during his sixth State of the City address on Thursday at Symphony Space in Manhattan. At that event, De Blasio stood behind a lectern topped with a placard reading “#FairestBigCity.”
“Brothers and sisters, there’s plenty of money in the world. There’s plenty of money in the city. It’s just in the wrong hands,” de Blasio said in his address.
“That’s exactly what New Yorkers deserve — to live in a city where work is rewarded and all this prosperity is shared,” he also said in the address, as reported by Staten Island Live.
Tapper continued to push back, noting that it appeared the mayor — who owns two homes and collects more than a quarter of a million dollars a year as mayor, according to The New York Post — was declaring that it was “wrong” for people to be wealthy.
“It’s wrong because government policies gave the one percent every conceivable leg up. This was not by accident,” de Blasio said.
“This has been an agenda from Reagan’s administration right on through to Trump’s, to take money from working people and give it to the one percent,” de Blasio claimed.
“We know that by guaranteeing health care, we’re going to create the kind of society that actually works,” added de Blasio, who contended that the uninsured among New York City’s population make the city “less secure” than it needs to be.
“This should be a priority to ensure that we have a decent kind of society,” he said.
“This is the kind of thing [single payer health care] Democrats should stand for … that’s actually going to resonate with the American people,” said de Blasio, who added that citizens “need this kind of guarantee in their lives.”
The mayor invoked the Eisenhower administration — at that time, the country had the highest tax rates on the wealthy the country has ever seen, he said — as an example of sound policy-making that leads to “prosperity pretty well shared among different people.”
De Blasio insisted that guaranteed health care for all is “doable,” adding that “the money is there,” and that Democrats should be blunt about embracing similar progressive policies.
In addition to espousing health care as a right, de Blasio also said, “We’re going to guarantee that everyone has a right to two weeks of paid time off, paid personal leave, so that they can live their lives better.”
Later in the interview, he mentioned that those days of paid personal leave could include “mental health days.”
“There are still a lot of moderate voices in the party that did not learn the lessons of 2016 and are not listening to what people need in this country.”
“Every other industrialized country in this world provides people at least two weeks of paid vacation. Not the United States of America.”
“The money is there but it’s not going to the right people.”
Though emphasizing that he’s currently focused on his job, de Blasio said he could not rule out a 2020 run for president.
“There are still a lot of moderate voices in the party that did not learn the lessons of 2016 and are not listening to what people need in this country,” said de Blasio, who is embarking on a tour of the country to share his progressive message.
“We could go a lot farther. We could be a lot bolder than what we’re doing,” he said of the Democrat Party in the run-up to the 2020 election.
Interestingly, de Blasio praised the populous economic message Trump sent during the final days of the 2016 campaign.
“Donald Trump spoke to them,” de Blasio said. “He understood people were hurting, their lives were getting harder, not easier, the next generation’s prospects were looking worse than the one before.”