Danny Katch looks at New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s first six months, in an article written for Truthout. Mirrored from Socialist Worker.
July 31, 2014
WHEN BILL de Blasio was elected mayor of New York City last November, speculation began about whether his victory would lead to a resurgence of genuine liberalism within the Democratic Party or whether de Blasio would be unable–and perhaps unwilling–to make a sharp break with the business-first policies of his billionaire predecessor Michael Bloomberg.
Call it the Obama question. In 2008, Barack Obama was entrusted with the dreams of a generation. Six years of bank bailouts and drone bombings later, the sound of those dreams shattering on the pavement still echoes wherever a politician attempts to renew hopes about peace and equality.
De Blasio came out swinging at the beginning of his term, grabbing headlines with proposals that ranged from major (raising taxes on the rich) to minor (adding more affordable housing to a Brooklyn real estate deal.) Now that de Blasio has been in office for half a year, however, it is becoming apparent that his overall strategy is to pursue progressive policies to reduce inequality without provoking conflict with the city’s rich and powerful who benefit from that inequality. If this contradictory strategy sounds familiar, that’s because it’s the same one used by the current occupant of the White House, with disappointing results.
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Setting the Bar Low