Republican New York City mayoral candidate Joe Lhota acknowledged Friday that income inequality exists in the city, but it isn’t “a problem.”
The former Metropolitan Transit Authority chairman is up against Democrat Bill de Blasio, who is running on a platform to fill the gap between rich and poor.
The salary average for a CEO in NYC is $9.7 million, while nearly half of New Yorkers live at or below the poverty line. De Blasio, the city’s public advocate, has argued that New York’s middle class is disappearing after Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s 12-year reign.
When Lhota appeared on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Friday he argued that despite a 44-point gap between him and de Blasio in the polls, he said more New Yorkers agree with him on the issues facing the city. He said de Blasio’s campaign is dividing New York into the Haves and the Have-Nots.
“Do you see wealth inequality in New York City as a problem?” asked political reporter Sam Stein.
“Wealth, income inequality is a problem. Here’s the only way…” said Lhota.
“Isn’t that what de Blasio is talking about though?” Stein asked.
“Yeah, and he has no way of dealing with it,” responded Lhota.
“But you just said it was divisive to talk about inequality, but now you think it’s a problem too,” Stein said.
“No, I don’t think it’s a problem. You said ‘does it exist,’ it exists. I don’t think it’s a problem. I don’t think it’s a problem, it exists.”