De Blasio, cornered on radical comment about money being in wrong hands, is asked, who decides the hands?

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CNN’s Jake Tapper confronted New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio about a “radical” comment he made during his State of the City speech.

The Democratic mayor touted his accomplishments and lashed out at big business in his speech last week, at one point making controversial comments about income inequality.

Tapper specifically asked the progressive mayor about his remarks during CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday.

“Here’s the truth, brothers and sisters, there’s plenty of money in the world. Plenty of money in this city,” de Blasio said in his sixth State of the City speech. “It’s just in the wrong hands!”

“You said something pretty radical this week that I want to ask you about,” Tapper said, reading the mayor’s words. “That’s a quote.”

“That is a quote,” de Blasio agreed.

“Who decides whose hands are the right hands and whose hands are the wrong hands?” Tapper asked.

The Democrat responded by calling Tapper to “look at what’s happening in my city. Look what’s happening all over the country,” noting how “millions” can barely make ends meet and “people get less and less back.”

He attributed this to “the one percent really has rigged the system, including the recent tax law that gave a huge windfall to the corporations and the wealthy.”

“I said in the speech this has been an agenda from Reagan’s administration right on through to Trump to take money from working people and give it to the one percent. So when I say there’s plenty of money in this country, it’s just in the wrong hands, it means to say we need policies that give back to working people. Like guaranteeing health care for all,” de Blasio said.

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“You are not talking about fairness,” Tapper interjected.

“You are saying these people have money and it’s wrong that they have money. Not that they have money, they live exorbitant or wealthy lifestyles and can give more to help these people,” he elaborated.

“You’re saying it’s wrong they have money. Who is deciding whether it’s wrong?” Tapper pressed.

“It’s clear to me why it’s wrong because government policies gave the one percent every conceivable leg up,” de Blasio replied. “This was not by accident. As I say, this was an agenda. It was systematic. You go back decades, you go back even to the time of Dwight Eisenhower. We had some of the highest tax rates on the wealthy that this country ever saw. We had a prosperous country. We had that prosperity pretty well shared among different people, including working people in this country.”

He contended that over time, there was a “systematic agenda to take that money and get it more and more in the hands of the few.”

The mayor further argued that this was “not an accident.”

“Democrats and Progressives need to be blunt about this,” he said. “And people will appreciate that bluntness.”

In his speech, de Blasio criticized the economic policies of the Republicans and promised to “give back to working people.”

“He cast himself as an aspiring Robin Hood — aiming to take from the rich and give to the poor — even as he has thus far been unsuccessful in his many attempts to raise taxes on high earners,” a report on the speech in The New York Times noted.

The mayor came under fire recently for laying out billions of dollars in incentives in order to secure a deal luring Amazon to open offices in New York City, a decision that infuriated Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.  His comments about whose hands hold the money during his speech last week did not go over so well on Twitter.

Frieda Powers

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