What we should not be asking for – as victims – is for the national government to underwrite an ambitious program of improvements in New York City…What we should be doing is making common cause with the millions and millions of people all over the country who are hurting – some from fallout from September 11th, most from the arrival of hard times.
We should immediately strike up alliances with other states and localities and together insist that the federal government – that is, us – should deploy its resources – that is, our tax dollars – to alleviate suffering and revitalize the economy. We should launch a massive program to create and enhance the nation’s social capital – investing in people and resources in a way we haven’t done recently, but used to do brilliantly. I’m talking about something far greater than the anemic “stimulus packages” that were discussed briefly. What we need is a new New Deal.
Three accomplishments of that distant era seem particularly worthy of emulation: (i) the compassionate provision of relief, in the form of income and jobs, for victims of the amoral marketplace; (ii) An effort to jump-start the private economy with a jolt of government-underwritten demand; and (iii) the rehabilitation of the public sector, marshaling our resources to augment the nation’s social capital.
What’s appealing about the New Deal are its roots in our own city’s history, the range and scope of its ambition, its awareness of the interconnectedness of problems, and the inventiveness and durability of many of its solutions…It constitutes an inspirational chapter in our national narrative, one eminently worthy of revisiting as we chart our course in the years ahead
--Excerpted from A New New Deal for New York, Bell and Weiland, New York, 2002