Friday, October 21, 2011

Cut and Invest?

"It's a progressive agenda on a Tea Party allowance....smart ways to invest in education and infrastructure to generate growth while cutting overall spending to balance the budget."

Thomas L. Friedman, "A Progressive in the Age of Austerity," The New York Times, October 16, 2011.

Chicago's current mayor and two of the last three mayors (Daley and Washington) have been dubbed progressives by various pundits. All of them grappled at one time or another with tough budgets and up and down economies. Looking at the latest Chicago version, I can't help but conclude that our aspirations of "progressive" have shrunk, Now it's "cut and invest," a sound bite from a public policy textbook, but sensible in its own way.

Somehow we need to marry cut and invest with a vision for better, more just and prosperous cities and regions. Somehow we need to marry cut and invest with fairness and balance. Somehow we need to marry top down cut and invest with grassroots energy, innovation, and leadership.

Cut and invest is good rhetoric and hopefully good practice. But we need a bigger vision of progressive if we are going to get out of this mess.

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