New York City Democratic mayor Bill de Blasio argued on behalf of policies that give back to the working people, such as guaranteed health care for all, during an appearance on CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday. De Blasio also chastised moderate voices in the Democratic Party for not wanting to advance a bold agenda.
CNN anchor Jake Tapper asked de Blasio about comments the mayor made during his State of the City speech earlier this week.
"Here’s the truth, brothers and sisters, there’s plenty of money in the world. Plenty of money in this city," the mayor said, flanked by screens with graphs of productivity outpacing compensation. "It’s just in the wrong hands!" de Blasio said.
"Who decides whose hands are the right hands and whose hands are the wrong hands?" Tapper asked.
De Blasio argued there are millions of people who work one or two jobs and can barely make ends meet, and "get less and less back" because "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.
Tapper pointed out that de Blasio's argument was based on the principle that "people have money and it's wrong that they have money."
"Who decides whether it's wrong?" Tapper asked.
"It's clear to me why it's wrong because government policies gave the one percent every conceivable leg up. 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," de Blasio said.
Later in the interview, Tapper asked de Blasio about whether he is considering a run for president in 2020. The New York Democrat responded by criticizing moderate Democrats for not learning the lessons of 2016.
"I'm focused on my job. But, listen, right now our party is going through a serious debate. And there is 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. So I want to push this whole party and I want to inform this debate in this country about the fact that we could go a lot farther. We could be a lot bolder than what we're doing now," de Blasio said.
"I never rule things out because you never know what life brings, but I'm focused on the work I do now and getting out this message," de Blasio added later.