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Op-Ed: Tax the Rich, ‘Progressives’ Out of Touch

Photo: Jim Magee, Candidate for Assembly District 37 (Photo courtesy of Jim Magee)

June 13, 2022 Op-Ed By Jim Magee, Candidate for Assembly District 37

I have lived in this district my entire life and I have never seen the working people of these neighborhoods feel so ignored.

It is past time to tax the super-rich in New York State. Billionaires. The Democratic Party is going to have to change its leadership in order to accomplish that. The current “progressives” are not focused on the health of the working class. Instead they used the Democratic majorities in Albany to open the prisons and make criminal prosecution almost impossible.

Historically, a progressive is someone who is a champion for the working class. This April, a group of workers on Staten Island formed Amazon’s first union. When reached for comment, Amazon union organizer Christian Smalls said that Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez had not supported the workers’ efforts. Ocasio-Cortez claimed that this was because the Amazon warehouse was not in her district. Smalls responded that many of his Amazon colleagues actually do live in our community.

The disparity in wealth causes problems everywhere, and I do not understand these Democrats’ hesitance to address it.

One of the main reasons that inflation is out of control is that the government’s pandemic assistance was not funded by taxing the rich (where the wealth is), it was funded by printing more money. So the dollar simply isn’t worth as much.

Magee is vying to represent the 37th Assembly District. The district includes Sunnyside, Long Island City, parts of Woodside, Ridgewood and Maspeth

A standard Republican explanation for why inflation has skyrocketed since the pandemic is that problems in the supply chain have caused prices to rise.

The truth is that due to a lack of competition, corporations are able to raise prices far above the rising cost of materials. And that is what they are doing.

These corporations are currently pocketing record profits while the rest of us see the value of our stagnant wages diminish. It is time for New York to raise taxes on those corporations.

Taxing corporate profits would not only responsibly raise revenues that could fund health care, public transportation and housing, it would give the state leverage to force those businesses to invest in their own workers. Ultimately, it would force businesses to negotiate with workers’ private sector unions. That was the economic system that worked between 1933 and 1981.

But the Democratic Party that fought for that economic fairness is a shadow of itself, replaced with modern-day “progressives” who ignore the health of the working class and seek headlines attacking anyone that disagrees with them. This needs to change.

The state tax that applies to estates over $6 million were set to match federal rates in 2020, but the Democrats in Albany opted to give the rich a break. Again this year, Governor Hochul took a progressive tax code off the table and instead gave $600 million in taxpayer money to a billionaire who owns the Buffalo Bills and lives in Florida. And our downstate representatives voted for that deal.

New York has more billionaires than any state in the country with the exception of California. Yet our housing developments are underfunded and our infrastructure is in decay. Commuters are under constant threat of fare hikes and increases in tolls.

The 7 train has been under renovation since I was in high school. The money set aside for mental health and addiction treatment is an embarrassment. These Democrats have been in control of the state government for three years. Yet the legislative majority and both governors repeatedly refuse to responsibly tax the super-rich.

The Democratic Party needs leaders who are willing to stand up to big business and be a champion for the working class. This election presents that choice. I am asking for your vote on June 28.

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