Clintons: Economic Inequality 2016-Style

Photograph by Anthony Behar/Sipa USA/AP Photo

Former President Bill Clinton swears in incoming New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio at City Hall on Jan. 1, 2014.

In the end, it’s always about Bill Clinton.

Or in this case, perhaps, Hillary Clinton.

As the former secretary of state, senator from New York and first lady eyes a possible — make that expected — presidential campaign in 2016, her husband stood front and center at the inauguration of the new mayor of America’s biggest city on New Year’s Day. As the former president swore in the new mayor, Clinton eagerly embraced the populist message with which Mayor Bill De Blasio campaigned for office.

The income disparity within New York City in particular, and nationwide generally, offers the Clintons’ party a platform on which to build a 2016 election campaign appealing to the denied dreams of a new generation and their parents as well in a still-recovering economy. It’s also a convenient guard against the potential designs of a certain Wall Street-baiting Democratic senator from Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren, who maintains she isn’t running in ’16.

Unrest over the “Gatsby Curve” combined with dissatisfaction in what the government has done for us lately could provide powerful fodder for a progressive-minded candidacy. President Barack Obama has called economic inequality the “defining challenge of our time.”

The inequality is not only “a moral outrage,” but also an impediment to economic growth and it demands bold action such as tackling challenges such as climate change, Clinton said.

There was an unmistakable “village” in Clinton’s message, too.

“We can’t get away from each other,” he said. “We have to define the terms of our dependence.”

Clinton celebrated de Blasio’s biracial family as a symbol of “the future of our city and the future of our country.”

“With all respect to the television show,” he said, “they’re our real modern family.”

Clinton was not alone in this recognition.

The city’s 18-year-old Youth Poet Laureate Ramya Ramana lamented the city’s “classism,” with the “brown-stoned and brown-skinned playing a tug of war.”


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