Smith makes plain his view: “Mayors have been forced to make very difficult decisions in order to maintain balanced budgets -- forced cuts and forced local layoffs -- and are continuing to hold the nation together through the worst recession since the Great Depression, while Congress is still bickering.”
Cities and their wider metro areas account for 86 percent of all U.S. jobs and 90 percent of GDP. Our cities could use some cooperation from Congress, but instead, Congress seems to be moving in the opposite direction, making it more expensive and time-consuming to get municipal bonds.
Before leaving Washington, D.C., for a few days of campus lectures, I sat down over dinner with an old friend, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who served as President Obama’s first chief of staff. Emanuel is one of the new generation of big-city mayors working to transform our urban landscape. For example, he began a program to pay teachers to tutor students in public libraries after school hours, five days a week.
We should praise our mayors for their innovative approaches, their willingness to put solutions and citizens over ideology and party, and their commitment to programs that help people. Congress could learn a lot from them.
Donna Brazile is a senior Democratic strategist, a political commentator and contributor to CNN and ABC News, and a contributing columnist to Ms. Magazine and O, the Oprah Magazine.