De Blasio: 'There's Plenty of Money in This Country, It's Just in the Wrong Hands'

Susan Jones | June 27, 2019 | 5:39am EDT
Font Size
New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio speaks to the media in the spin room following the first night of the Democratic presidential debate on June 26, 2019 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

( - The topic of "income inequality" arose at Wednesday's Democrat debate, with various candidates explaining how they would address it.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke not only for himself, but for the Democrat Party in general: "There is plenty of money in this world, and there's plenty of money in this country, it's just in the wrong hands. Democrats have to fix that," he said.

De Blasio also embraced a 70 percent tax rate on wealthy people, although he did not define the term "wealthy."

Here is his full answer to the question, "How would you address income inequality?"

Well, we've been addressing income inequality in New York City by raising wages, by raising benefits, by putting money back in the hands of working people -- $15 minimum wage, paid sick days, pre-k for all, things that are making a huge difference in working people's lives.

But let me tell you, what we're hearing in the first round of questions is that battle for the heart and soul of our party. I want to make it clear. This is supposed to be the party of working people.

Yes, we are supposed to be for 70% tax rate on the wealthy; yes, we're supposed to be for free college, free public college, for our young people. We are supposed to break up big corporations when they're not serving our democracy. This Democratic Party has to be strong and bold and progressive.

And in New York, we've proven that we can do something very different, we can put money back in the hands of working people.

And let me tell you, every time you talk about investing in people and their communities, you hear folks say there's not enough money -- what I say to them every single time is, there's plenty of money in this world, there's plenty of money in this country, it's just in the wrong hands. We Democrats have to fix that.

Living wage, public education

Former U.S. Congressman John Delaney (Md.) followed de Blasio with a somewhat different answer:

"I think we need to do real things to help American workers and the American people," Delaney said.

"We need to make sure everyone has a living wage. And I've called for a doubling of the earned income tax credit, raising the minimum wage, and creating paid family leave. That will create a situation where people actually have a living wage. That gets right to workers.

"Then we gotta fix our public education system. It's not delivering the results our kids need, nor is college and post-high school career and technical training programs doing that."

Delaney said he's an entrepreneur who has "created thousands of jobs."

"I know how to create jobs. We need a short-term strategy, which is to put money in the pockets of workers with the earned income tax credit, raising the minimum wage, creating paid family leave, and then we need to have a long-term strategy to make sure this country's competitive and we're creating jobs everywhere in this country."

Bring back the unions

And then it was Washington Gov. Jay Inslee's turn to explain how he would address income inequality:

"I think plans are great. But I'm a governor. And we gotta realize the people who brought us the weekend, the unions, are going bring us a long overdue raise in America. And I'm proud of standing up for unions. I've got a plan to reinvigorate collective bargaining so we can increase wages finally. I marched with the SEIU folks. It is not right that the CEO of McDonald's makes 2,100 times more than the people slinging hash at McDonald's.

And the next thing I’ll do is put people to work in the jobs of the present and the future. Listen, Donald Trump is simply wrong. He says wind turbines cause cancer. We know they cause jobs. And we know we can put millions of people to work in the clean energy jobs of the future. Carpenters, IBEW members and machinists we are doing it in my state today. And then we can do what America always does. Lead the world and invent the future and put people to work. That's what we are going to do."

mrc merch