A great deal of what we have been trying to accomplish in New York City is thwarted by the dream people have here that “if they can make it here they can make it anywhere“. Actually, on all levels of society that translate into a pretty bleak individualism.
To that end we have been working on a social policy that levels in many regards the economic caste system so prevalent here. Of course in a City with over 57,000+ individuals holding net worth above 37 million, over 1 million millionaires and 72 billionaires. Yet, next to such incredible wealth are large urban ghettos rife with poverty, crime and inequity.
With such concentrated wealth we believe it is desirable to fund a system of public infrastructure befitting one of the wealthiest cities on earth and most cosmopolitan in existence.
To that end we have begun to draft a policy package that is adopted assures equal opportunity for every single New Yorker, regardless of their neighborhood, class, color, religion or creed.
This Public Policy Proposal is based on core areas of human rights centered legislation.
A Policy Recommendation for Urban Revitalization in the Age of Sustainable Development
First Draft 18 December 2019
The ultimate objective of this legislative measure by bundle would be to take aim squarely at housing, education, infrastructure and healthcare for the middle class and working class people of New York City in order to fund long term re-development of our regressive welfare institutions.
These measures would propose a complete re-prioritization of public spending aimed at achieving a greater equality of the fundamental social services, grounded in Human Rights goals.
The areas of concentration are:
- Language Acquisition
- Social Service Apartheid
- Electronic Benefit Transfer Card Regulation
- Dignified Work and Labor Battalions
- Toxic Environmental Threats
- Criminal Justice Reform
- Working Class Incentivization
- Rent Control/Stabilization & Subsidy/ Zone, Control and Freeze
- Localized Municipal Governance
- Campaign Finance Reform
- City Service, City Citizenship and Public Service
- Reformation of the City Services
- Reformation of the Tax Code
Side by side incredible wealth and poverty exist in our city. Some 57,000 Manhattanites worth 37 million and up living alongside the neighborhoods of Central Brooklyn and the South Bronx. These urban Ghettos appear to depend entirely on a regressive welfare state and multi-generational poverty to furnish the upper classes in Manhattan with the lowest paid castes of wage slaves, welfare dependents, and ongoing quality of life blights.
This analysis approaches this non ideologically. Though its recommendations are based on Democratic Confederalism and Municipal Confederalism. There is no blame cast here on demographics, i.e. specific under served ethnic groups, new immigrants and the extremely poor, only on existing public policy. To allow a continuation of such poverty on our very door steps is actually a betrayal and embarrassment of the American dream.
We will in 10 step wise points address underdevelopment causality, and immediately prescribe broad radical policy for solution oriented approaches. We invite criticism and encourage public dialogue moving towards a solution process.
1. On Language Acquisition: The language of this country is English. There is no valid reason to have large bodies of people with no ability to integrate to culture and economy. The inability of immigrants to speak English directly degrades their prospects for successful integration to our society.
Recommended: All new immigrants must be sent to language immersion programs immediately on their arrival. All existing and Recommended service programs must be contingent and encouraging of language acquisition. Encouraging undocumented people to live lawfully and provide a way to build a new life is more desirable than a permanent victimized under class.
2. On Social Service Apartheid, as all hospitals, public schools, and public housing in these neighborhoods are sub-standard, barely fit for dignified habitation. An active program must made to aggressively demolish and replace existing stock.
Recommended: This will require new taxes on the Middle and Upper classes to fund better hospitals and schools, as well as a systematic destruction of all decrepit city public housing.
A. Funding for City Hospitals should be tripled. The city should municipalize (i.e. reverse privatization of vital services) all private sector hospitals. New monitoring and evaluation standards will be placed on city health services alongside a Cuban style system of proactive community paramedicine and public health work.
B. Funding for Public High schools and CUNY will be triple funded, salary structures for all teachers will be increased with differentials to bring new talent to this intuitive. All private schools will be partnered with public schools to reanimate curriculum and pedagogical training. All private, charter and religious schools will be funded by the city to absorb larger scholarship cohorts. More magnet schools and city as school internships will be established.
To triple the current funding levels of all public schools and triple the wages of all teachers, a partnership tax will be placed on all private schools for development of a public institution.
All private schools will accept a percentage of high scoring public students at a rate triple what is offered now.
Eventually all private schools and colleges will be Municipalized, ending once and for all the ability to purchase a higher level of education building unequal advantage.
Triple funding and the establishment of citywide a single payer system charged in relation to annual income will be based on the flat tax.
C. A systematic policy of public housing demolition will begin with a transfer of the elderly and disabled last to acceptable housing outside the 5 boroughs. The wealthiest most expensive city in America will no longer indefinitely subsidize rent. In a step wise pattern all able bodied persons will be sent to vocational training centers or paid labor battalions. All elderly and disabled persons will be transferred to external sites complaint with best norms and standards befitting improvement in their living conditions. All existing public housing will be demolished. Affordable middle class and working poor stock will be erected in its place.
All women’s shelters will be replaced with dormitory style centers with vocational training, child care and temp work placement programs.
All homeless shelters will be systematically demolished and replaced with dormitory screening sites that will transfer these people, suffering from mental illness and long term drug use to special detox facilities set up peripheral to New York.
3. On Electron Benefit Transfer (EBT) Cards: The electronic benefit system is rife with fraud and a key element of regressive welfare. It will be eliminated in its present form.
Recommendation: EBT, WIC and Varying EBT schemes will be replaced with meal voucher cards for cafeterias. You will no longer be able to use the EBT as an ATM card, where fraud is occurring at the Bodegas. You will be able to obtain varying essential rationed goods, and 3 meals a day but no longer will the EBT payments be applied as tender.
Elderly persons and disabled persons must be screened from those capable of paid work. In cases of the elderly a new type of EBT Medicare will be issued insuring basic needs are met. Those with physical and mental disabilities will be considered for a type of Medicaid EBT but greater controls will be placed on them. People are entitled to clean bedding, clothing, water. Not flat screen TVs, pets, motorcycles and luxury sneakers.
A new policing initiative on welfare fraud must police the spending habits of all recipients.
4. On Dignified Work and Labor Battalions: Much of Brooklyn and the Bronx has become a festering labor ghetto, a reserve for the worst lowest paid jobs and exploitation of undocumented workers.
Recommended: The formation of new temp centers, vocational schools and paid labor battalions to provide work for unskilled workers while they transition to high paid, higher skilled jobs. We must fund this effort to show that everyone willing to work, is working and everyone able to go back to school has a system to accommodate that.
5. On Sanitation Services and their Auxiliaries: There is marked difference in the level of trash in Midtown Manhattan verses the South Bronx. The Department of Sanitation will be doubled in size with a new Auxiliary force from the City Service Corps.
6. On the Toxic Environment.The daily trucking operations, widespread use of cars and the emissions from this have created an asthma epidemic. The streets are covered in trash and the neighborhoods look like blighted slums. Fast food, liquor stores, and bodegas have proliferated in a food desert, i.e. green fresh food depots.
Recommended: trucking will move to Yonkers and Pelhem based depots where it will load goods on new supply trains. Public transit citywide will he triple funded. Single occupant vehicle use will completely restricted. New taxes will be placed on all personal vehicles. Labor battalions will focus on enhanced trash collection, public mural painting and neighborhood clean up. City run green market projects will be enhanced.
7. On Criminal Justice Reformation: Despite widespread citywide gentrification many areas remain rife with violent crime and illegal activity. Not only will there be a massive crack down on gangs, mafias and cartels we will begin a complete regulation of drugs and prostitution.
Recommended: Membership in gangs, mafias and drug dealership groups, as well as all manner of violent crime will lead to municipal deportation post incarceration.
We will close Rykers Island and replace it with 5 smaller detention and rehabilitation centers. Non violent offenses will lead to unpaid labor battalion sentences and heavier fines. No one will be incarcerated for non-violent offences of any kind.
Violent crime will lead to citywide deportation. Membership in any organization of criminal conspiracy will be grounds to revoke municipal citizenship. In some regards the prison population will be greatly reduced and persons of criminal inclination expelled from the city.
8. On Incentivizing the Working Class:
Approximately half of population does in fact work currently for minimum wage or off the books for less if undocumented. We must understand that rewarding labor and creating further pathways to economic security are integral to this revitalization program.
We are triaging those who cannot work, from those that will not work from a small minority of outright criminals. Then we are eliminating structural impediments to progress, i.e. healthcare, education and infrastructure funding. But crucially we must show a return on investment to our working and middle classes. Not simply displace our underclasses.
A. Rent Control/Stabilization & Subsidy/ Zone, Control and Freeze. See attached rent scheme.
- Luxury developments should by law help fund off site affordable housing developments and or public infrastructure in adjacent districts concurrent with construction of future hugh rise and luxury rentals.
- Higher property taxes, especially for people with multiple properties, and a special tax on pied a terres and vacant properties
- A system of preferential longevity where native New Yorkers and ten year or more residents are entitled to differentiated sets of prices for ownership called Rent Ceiling renting.
- Rent ceilings, capped every four years to the median net income in a city district, all rental properties must be zoned 2/5 rent ceiling apartments, 1/5 rent controlled, 2/5 market rent. Existing housing stock must switch to this modality on death or vacancy of residents under older rent regime.
- Setting up a system of 5 income tiers that very clearly indicate what an individual or family is entitled to, which can be upgraded each year. Rent ceiling, rent stabilized, rent controlled or market zones units must give preference to the teir an applicant falls in. This someone above 250K income is not entitled to lease a rent controlled apt. This tier is linked to your after tax income.
- Rent depreciation after 5 years of consistent leasing, your rent will go down not up to stay put.
- More mixed zones large scale residencies like Waterside Plaza or Coop city, market rental, rent control, rent stabilize and coops or condos in the same development.
- The ideology here is not social equality or home ownership. This is a city of extremes and a city of constant newcomers. But there is extreme wealth here that should pay for the right to have luxury goods and services by assisting in the elevation of the bottom 1/5 that are in public housing on regressive welfare payrolls. This is about squeezing the wealthy to subsidize a bigger welfare state. It is based on the idea that affordable housing should be considered a right earned by working.
- Linking the ideas that mixed zoning, denser development and privileging working residents I link this housing policy with a City Service policy where we have youth ages 18 to 21 joining the city services similar to the Israeli modal in exchange for access to rent controlled housing. We would also like to make students eligible for that as well.
- Dissagrigation By Income
In order to establish legislation that is actually beneficial to working class and middle class taxpayers payers, as well as capable of uplifting the working poor and welfare dependent class we must arrive at some agreement on the illusion of their being a middle class in this country.
As the average American worker does not make a much higher income than the people on public assistance and the jump into the 4% of high income earners is approximately 40x the so called middle class, disaggregating and taxing by after tax take home allows a much more equitable redistribution to the public services by taxation.
Thus this legislation focuses on designated income classes and positions within an improved tax bracket system accordingly.
Persons on Public Assistance
No taxable income. Must demonstrate physical or mental disability, be beyond working age 65, and or be pregnant with no clear means to be self-sustaining.
I.e. (Recurrent Welfare Mothers, Mentally ill and the physically disabled)
Person who are Working Poor T1
Persons earning at or below 50K.
I.e. (retail workers, EMTs, bartenders, delivery staff, unskilled workers.)
Person who are Working Poor T2
Persons earning at or below 50K, with up to 100 K in bank or assets. I.e. savings, property or a car.
Persons who are Working Class T1
Persons who are earning between 50 to 90K.
I.e. (Semi-skilled workers, truck and livery drivers, not for profit staff, dental hygienists, paramedics)
Persons who are Working Class T2
Persons earning between 50 to 90K with up to 200 K in bank or assets. I.e. savings, property or a car. I.e. (cops , fire fighters, nurses,
Persons who are Middle Class T1
Persons in range 90 to 110K.
Persons who are Middle Class T2
Persons in range 90 to 110K,
with up to 300 K in the bank or in assets. I.e. savings, property or a car.
Persons of High Net Worth T1
Annually earning 110 to 400 K with between 100 to 500k in bank or assets.
Persons of High Net Worth T2
400K to 1 Million with between 500 to 5 million in bank or assets.
Persons of High Net Worth T3
Between 1 and 5 million in annual earnings or revenue with any amount above 5 million in a bank or in assets.
Persons of High Net Worth T4
5 to 50 million and up in annual earnings or revenue with any amount above 100 million in a bank or in assets.
Persons of High Net Worth T4
1 billion and up in annual earnings or revenue with any amount above 10 billions in a bank or in assets.
Rents would be annually set to the median after tax income of the district electorate based on five tiers. In essence what a community actually earns will establish a rent ceiling which holds the duration of a lease. This would disaggregated by incomes at or below 30k, 60k,100k, 250k, and all high net worth incomes above.
Rent control, where ones rent decreases every 5 years. Ensuring a percentage of the market is kept stabilized at all times. Forcing luxury development to be taxed at a higher percent and demonstrate all projects have social return on investment.
9. Municipal Participation/ Campaign Finance Transparency
The current system of Community Boards will be augmented then replaced by People’s Assemblies that will carry out an increased legislative function for their districts and work to better engage citizens in municipal government.
All City Council and State Assembly/ State Senate candidates must achieve a certain number of petition endorsement signatures and present them to their District Assembly before being put on the ballot. Reaching a certain threshold will lead to public financing of campaigns.
All candidates must list by total percentages where their campaign was specifically funded by in order to determine conflicts of interest and access buying.
Term limits on all positions will be trippled.
10. Public Financing of Campaigns
Setting matching funds for all candidates that achieve a certain number of electoral endorsements. Working to decrease the influence peddling and expensive campaigns distracting politicians from their duties.
11. CITY SERVICE
A) City Citizenship is a program of incentives, protections and subsidies for new arrivals and long term multi-generational New Yorkers.
B) City Years: is an Israeli style program of uniformed municipal service ensuring 17 to 21 year olds health and education subsidies.
All public service departments will set aside a large percentage of new hire seats for young men and women take a three year national service track later entitling them to major subsidies of their future health and education.
12. Restructuring of Municipal Services:
With augmentation of paid and unpaid labor battalions and city years corps, we will be halving the size of paid Fire Suppression, tripling the size of the teaching services, doubling the EMS services with new role of community paramedicine, enlarging sanitation services, and expanding city health services. At the same time wages of city council workers will be decreased, the social work fields will be radically re-imagined, corrections cut by 3/4s.
All existing NYPD precincts will be partnered with new community appointed policing units and arrest quotas will be eliminated.
13. New York City will reduce its Federal and State tax contributions and increase its Citywide taxes.
Taxes will involve a flat tax where by payment ensures your vote in city elections and a wealth tax with gradients that move sharply upward at annual wealth and income calculations. See attached taxation scheme.