NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, Citing ‘Socialistic Impulse,’ Wants More Government Control of Property

By Zachary Stieber

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said that in an ideal world his administration would control every building in the city and get to decide who lives where.

“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 told New York Magazine.

“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 to their needs.”

De Blasio then blamed the infamous rents in the city on the government not having enough control of income levels and rent.

“Look, if I had my druthers, the city government would determine every single plot of land, how development would proceed,” he said. “And there would be very stringent requirements around income levels and rents.”

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks on stage at World AIDS Day 2017 at Kings Theatre in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, New York on Dec. 1, 2017. (Photo by Gary Gershoff/Getty Images for Housing Works, Inc. )

City Suffering

According to the New York City Comptroller’s office, New York City is “suffering through an affordable housing crisis.”

“Affordable housing is increasingly hard to find, with vacancy rates for apartments renting for less than $1,000 at 1.54 percent,” an April report (pdf) from the office stated. “Homelessness stands at a record high, with over 60,000 homeless people sleeping in shelters every night. Meanwhile, wages are stagnant and rents continue to climb in all five boroughs.”

Data crunched by the office from the U.S. Census Bureau found that rents rose 25 percent, or $279 per month, on average citywide between 2009 and 2016. According to Apartment List, as of November, the median rent for a one bedroom apartment in New York City was $2,119, the highest in the nation besides San Francisco, and the median two-bedroom rent was $2,524, third to San Francisco and San Jose.

More Government Control

De Blasio later in the interview praised the highly controversial New Deal, which was passed by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and drastically changed the relationship between the Federal Government and the American people, with many saying it put America on a path to socialism. It has also been criticized for being racist. De Blasio claimed that many New Yorkers would love to have the government even more in control of their lives.

“They’d love to have a very, very powerful government, including a federal government, involved in directly addressing their day-to-day reality,” the mayor said. He also bemoaned that people who own property have more rights under America’s legal system.

“What’s been hardest is the way our legal system is structured to favor private property,” he said. “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.”

De Blasio, asked to name politicians that he admires, said Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who ran for president in 2016 on a socialist platform. He also said his administration is working so that the federal government wouldn’t be able to obtain information about illegal immigrants from the New York City government and said part of his job as mayor is “fighting [President Donald] Trump.”