Bill de Blasio on Income Inequality
Mayor Bill de Blasio rose to power by depicting New York as a city defined by its stark inequities. His run for president will test whether his brand of urban progressive leadership can be a model for the country.
Many of Mr. de Blasio’s accomplishments as mayor are tied to reducing income inequality.
During his tenure as mayor, New York City has installed a “pre-K for all” program, raised the minimum wage to $15 an hour, and implemented paid sick leave.
How he uses it
The mayor has adopted a tagline that places income inequality at the center of his campaign: “There’s plenty of money in this country, it’s just in the wrong hands.”
He then cites the pre-K program, wage hikes and paid sick leave law as evidence that progressive change can happen quickly under the right leader. He makes the case that he is the candidate who can replicate similar progressive wins at a national scale.
New Yorkers need only consider the city’s crisis of homelessness to be reminded that while Mr. de Blasio has enjoyed some legislative victories, the city remains gripped by inequality.
The city’s laundry list of nagging problems — decrepit public housing and decaying public transportation systems, for instance — takes some of the shine off of the mayor’s successes.
Mr. de Blasio was able to pass progressive policies with the help of a City Council that is heavily Democratic. But he would encounter much stiffer opposition to such proposals in Washington, where Republicans control the Senate.
Matt Stevens is a political reporter based in New York. He previously worked for The Los Angeles Times, covering drought, water and the city’s west side. @ByMattStevens
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