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De Blasio: Progressives will create new New Deal

The policies espoused by a coalition of progressives would return the United States to a time of prosperity under Presidents Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday.

"I think we had an experiment here that worked. It was the New Deal," he told CNBC's "Squawk Box." "What we're talking about here is how to get us to some of those same possibilities again through polices that fit these times." (Tweet This)

"I don't hear a lot of debate on this point. If you take from 1945 through the 1970s, I don't hear a lot of people saying that that wasn't a great time for growth in this country, and growth that led far into the grass roots and animated our economy across the board," he said.

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Policymakers must raise Americans' standard of living and give them more economic security to get back to those times, de Blasio said.

De Blasio is part of a group of progressive economists, lawmakers and activists called The Progressive Agenda that sees income inequality as the defining crisis of our time. The pillars of the agenda are lifting the floor for working people, supporting working families and achieving tax fairness.

Part of the solution to income inequality is raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour across the United States, de Blasio said. He acknowledged that there is room for regional variations and pointed out that recent minimum wage increases in red states demonstrates the demand for higher pay.

"I think $15 minimum wage across the country over the coming years should be the standard because that's what's going to give us that buying power again, strengthen our economy," he said. (Tweet This)

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Some critics of the campaign to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour argue that employers will merely hire fewer workers and the net effect will be detrimental for the working poor.

"I understand there are going to be differences, but I think we can agree on one thing. $8.75 in a place like New York City and many other places is not enough for a hard-working family to get by on," de Blasio said.

The mayor made his comments ahead of the Yale University's CEO Summit in New York, where he will address executives regarding infrastructure development.

De Blasio said infrastructure is one of the clear areas where bipartisan support is evident.

"I think it's one of these moments where we actually have enough of a consensus to push the Congress to act, and for the first time in a while on Capitol Hill they're talking about a long-term infrastructure bill with more funding and the ability of localities to actually get these projects done to fix the roads, bridges, highways and mass transit," he said.

He pointed out that European Union countries spend about 5 percent of GDP on infrastructure and China allocates about 9 percent. Meanwhile, the United States spends just 1.7 percent on its aging infrastructure.

"This is the kind of thing where we may be able to find some real bipartisanship," he said. "If we don't we're not only going to fall behind economically and be less competitive, we'll be less safe as a country."

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