New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is launching a national progressive agenda to combat inequality.
An interview with the New York City Mayor as he launches a new ‘Progressive Agenda to Combat Inequality.’
People of this country have already gotten the memo on income inequality in so many ways. There’s so much research that shows that understanding among the populace is much more advanced than among a lot of the political leadership.
I always think of Franklin Roosevelt during what was a parallel moment in history, the Great Depression. The leading edge was unquestionably in Washington. There was experimentation and there was ambitiousness of vision and there was a litmus test that you had to reach large numbers of people and you had to reach them quickly. Here we have the opposite situation, where there is no federal response to the economic crisis people are experiencing. There’s no prospect of one right now. There’s scattered state responses and the most consistent action is happening at the local level in a lot of cities around the country.
I believe there’s an emerging American majority for progressive economic change. The only way we’re going to find out is to go down the road. We don’t have the federal government to play with. That’s what they had in the New Deal—we don’t have that tool. We don’t have the vast resources that the right-wing and the Republicans have, but we have a political moment and we still have a lot of reach and firepower of different types.
We’ve got to try and knit it together. I have no illusions of grandeur. I just know as the mayor of the biggest city in the country I have some license. And I know as I reach out to others, they’re thinking the same stuff anyway. This is all occurring simultaneously with a lot of the same people. If we do this right, the first coalitional effort will bear some immediate fruit and start some ripples. If that’s working, I think it well could lead to something more substantial and more permanent. But right now, especially in the name of urgency, I want to get something off the ground to grab the moment.
— Bill de Blasio (Interview by Eric Alterman, The Nation)
Kudos to Mayor Bill de Blasio. This is ‘the moment’ for a Progressive Movement. He’s stepping into it.