There is a reason the Occupy Wall Streetmovement has taken root so quickly and spread far and wide so rapidly – people are fed up. We are sick of shouldering the burden of an economic crisis caused by a few. We are tired of watching the wealthiest 1% receive tax cuts, while the rest of us face job cuts, pay cuts and cuts in vital services. And we are ready to do something about it.
Today, thousands of New Yorkers are doing something, by joining together this evening to march from City Hall to Wall Street, where we will rally to show our support for the protesters and lend our voices to their call for economic justice. The March is being organized by leading labor-community organizations, including United New York, the Working Families Party, and Strong Economy for All Coalition, which I direct. And it is supported by a host of community groups and labor organizations.
Together we will demand an end to policies and institutions that only serve the wealthiest among us, at the expense of 99% of Americans. And we start a renewed call for changes that will finally create an economy that benefits all of us.
In New York, there are very real and concrete steps we can take to begin to do that. The first step is to stop the $5 billion tax giveaway to millionaires and billionaires that will happen December 31st, when the current millionaires’ income tax expires. With all the cuts the rest of us have had to endure in recent years, it is simply immoral to hand a tax cut to the wealthiest among us, who have so far remained comfortably protected from the economic crisis they created.
"We are sick and tired, we are angry, and we are ready to stand up to demand a strong economy for all Americans."
The next step is to enact real and meaningful job creation programs. Not more tax breaks for promised jobs that never happen, but real jobs that pay well and help rebuild communities. With roads, bridges and mass transit crumbling, we can create these jobs by investing in our infrastructure, in energy, transportation and conservation. We can start our economy on an upward cycle by giving people what they want most of all – good jobs.
And finally, we must restore the massive cuts to education, health care and social services that have battered so many struggling and vulnerable New Yorkers in these difficult times. In just the past year, we have seen another $1.3 billion in state cuts to education – for a two year total of $2.7 billion. We have also seen cuts to senior services, public transportation and programs for disabled and the homeless. It is unconscionable that, against this backdrop, anyone would consider giving a $5 billion tax cut to the wealthiest New Yorkers.
There is a lot of work to do. But today we take the first step in a long journey, marching together for economic justice for the rest of us. And in the coming weeks, we will keep the pressure on with more action and more focus. Because, like so many American, we are sick and tired, we are angry, and we are ready to stand up to demand a strong economy for all Americans.
Michael Kink is the Executive Director of the Strong Economy for All Coalition.