A week after refusing to endorse presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on Meet the Press—saying that her "substance" regarding economic inequality remains to be seen—New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio took aim at Barack Obama, faulting the president for not addressing the issue earlier on in his presidency.
"I wish the president had early and often talked about income inequality and rallied the American people to address the issue,” de Blasio said Thursday during a talk at Drake University, in Iowa. “I wish that had happened earlier on in his administration.”
But, de Blasio added, "first and foremost, in my view, the Congress has failed to act."
The progressive New York City mayor, who is on a speaking tour in the Midwest, described inequality as “the crisis of our time.”
Drawing a distinction between the current reality and the politics of Franklin D. Roosevelt, who took decisive action in the 1930s to correct economic inequality and lift the country out of recession, de Blasio said that today, “disparity is galloping forward…it is not being checked.”
“Today we are heading toward an iceberg and there is literally nothing emanating from Washington to change its course,” he said.
Last Sunday on Meet the Press, in explaining his reluctance to immediately endorse Clinton, de Blasio said: “I think progressives all over the country, I think everyday Americans are demanding that their candidates—the President and every other level—really say that we have a plan that we can believe in for addressing income inequality.”
“It has to include increases in wages and benefits,” he said. “It has to include the willingness to tax the wealthy so we can invest in infrastructure, so we can invest in education.”
[Vinnie Rotondaro is NCR national correspondent. His email address is email@example.com.]