Dozens of progressive elected officials, labor leaders, policymakers and economists will gather outside the Capitol in Washington Tuesday afternoon to lay down a marker on a progressive economic vision they hope the Democratic party and its next leader will adopt.
The group will unveil what they’re calling The Progressive Agenda to Combat Income Inequality, which will largely aim to help working people and create tax fairness.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who organized the event, compares it to the Contract with America, the conservative policy vision laid out by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich in the 1990s that led to GOP electoral wins.
The progressive mayor, who was thrust into the national spotlight when he was elected in 2013, will be joined by members of Congress, mayors, the heads of major unions, and many others.
Tuesday morning, de Blasio and Sen. Elizabeth Warren spoke in support of a new report authored by Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stigliz, the top economist at the left-of-center Roosevelt Institute. The two are considered leaders of the new progressive movement, so their teaming up is notable and helped to add weight to the report.
The 112-page report, titled, “Rewriting the Rules of the American Economy,” informs the agenda de Blasio and the others will lay out later in the day. The report details ways to fix the financial sector, incentivize business growth, create jobs, improve the tax system, and expand economic security and opportunity.
Stigliz has advised the campaign of Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton, and told msnbc his message has been well received. “They’ve been very receptive to the ideas,” he said. But he acknowledged that Clinton will have to “balance” his ideas with those supported by the financial sector, which has been a major donor to Clinton in previous elections.
Clinton's campaign was given an advance copy of the report, a source familiar with the matter told msnbc.
De Blasio managed Clinton's 2000 Senate campaign and she and her husband backed de Blasio's mayoral campaign, but de Blasio has so far declined to endorse the former secretary of state. While he said in a recent "Morning Joe" interview that he's "optimistic about where's she going," de Blasio said he still needed to hear Hillary Clinton's stance on income inequality before supporting her candidacy for president.
President Obama, Stiglitz added, has been “too conservative” to assert a progressive economic vision, and “too afraid to take the bold kind of action that President Roosevelt took” during the Great Depression.
In their remarks, de Blasio and Warren praised Stiglitz and the report. “This was not an act of God that put us into this situation. These are bad choices that we can undo and we must undo,” de Blasio said.
Warren, typical of her speeches, called for using government to level the playing field and curb the accumulation of wealth in the very rich. “We don’t have to run this economy just for the top 10%,” she said.
De Blasio offered effusive praise of Warren, but it was not returned by the senator, who did not stay for de Blasio's speech.