In Emanuel’s view, mayors can fill the void left by a polarized, gridlocked national government. Yet he wistfully notes the role that the federal government once played in urban policy, from the New Deal to the Great Society. His support of “nation cities”—large cities with economies to match—seems born from political pragmatism rather than a grand vision for the appropriate structure of government. He wants federal dollars to pay for parks, roads, schools, river walks, and the like, but he also believes that polarization in Washington prevents urban progressives from imposing their policies from the top down.
Cities can’t print money, for example, and borrowing limits prevent mayors from spending with impunity, as the federal government can do. Though mayors like Emanuel have long wish lists, financial challenges block their greatest ambitions.
— Read on www.city-journal.org/rahm-emanuel-mayors