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Biggest Obstacle to Progress? Private Property, Says Bill de Blasio

In an interview with New York magazine's Chris Smith, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the biggest obstacle to progress is the idea of private property. He spoke of a "socialistic impulse," and seemed to favor the idea of turning the Big Apple into Venezuela.

When asked, "Where has it been hardest to make progress? Wages, housing, schools?" de Blasio pivoted to the idea of private property itself.

"What's been hardest is the way our legal system is structured to favor private property," the mayor said. He suggested that the common people favor socialism over capitalism and that the government should have complete control over everything.

"I think people all over this city, of every background, would like to have the city government be able to determine which building goes where, how high it will be, who gets to live in it, what the rent will be," de Blasio declared. "I think there's a socialistic impulse, which I hear every day, in every kind of community, that they would like things to be planned in accordance with their needs. And I would, too" (emphasis added).

"Unfortunately, what stands in the way of that is hundreds of years of history that have elevated property rights and wealth to the point that that's the reality that calls the tune on a lot of development," the mayor added.

The problem, he declared, is America's system of free enterprise, limited government, and property rights. The biggest obstacle in de Blasio's path is the very capitalistic system that unleashed unprecedented wealth in America and across the world.

The mayor went on to illustrate just exactly what he meant. He gave an example of a new condo sign reading, "Units start at $2 million." Many Americans might get annoyed at such a high sticker price, but they would then realize that this is New York City, and property in the center of the Big Apple is expensive — because people want it.

The city's mayor didn't see it that way, however. "That just drives people stark raving mad in this city, because that kind of development is clearly not for everyday people," de Blasio said. "Look, if I had my druthers, the city government would determine every single plot of land, how development would proceed" (emphasis added).

The mayor said "that's a world I'd love to see," and suggested that New Yorkers "would love to have the New Deal back." Then there's this gem: "They'd love to have a very, very powerful government, including a federal government, involved in directly addressing their day-to-day reality."

Even Bill de Blasio had to admit that his socialistic impulse is "not reachable right now," and he suggested that this fact "leaves this friction, and this anger, which is visceral."