The Huffington Post | August 13, 2013
Throughout American history, when Washington has stumbled, New York has led with progressive reforms. It goes with the territory. Teddy Roosevelt ushered in major progressive era reforms first as police commissioner and NY governor. Franklin Roosevelt ushered in the New Deal first as governor of NY. In an economy rife with inequality and inaction in D.C., NY's vocation of reform is again at hand. The progressive mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio is a very strong candidate to lead the city and the new reform agenda.
He gets it. In a city with more millionaires and billionaires than any other place on the planet; with a surging stock market; with high-end restaurants bursting with activity; and with tourists by the millions from around the world, the city has the ways, means, and need to address its poor and working class. De Blasio has made a basic proposal: the rich should pay just a tiny bit more in taxes, a surcharge of 0.4 of 1 percent on incomes above $500,000 to ensure a decent start for every kid in the city.
This is smart and it is right. Universal preschool support should be national policy, indeed a global policy. Giving our children the best early start is not only common decency and common sense; it's backed by years of rigorous studies showing (not surprisingly) that investing in young children is society's best investment of all. If New York City starts it, it might well become global soon enough. De Blasio will be a strong force to make it happen.
The fact of the matter is that New York City can put all of the pieces together to be not only the world's most global and dynamic city, which it already is, but also America's new leading beacon of reform and social justice, its natural calling and historic role. De Blasio not only has staked out the most progressive platform but has consistently led the fight for progressive reforms in recent years, most recently to ensure NYC workers are entitled to paid sick leave, a nearly universal right in high-income countries that shockingly hasn't yet become a right in America. Now NYC has set the pace, notably despite the lobbying of the business community.