Ron Kim (via Kim campaign)
I’m running for New York City Public Advocate to put people over corporations.
In six years representing parts of Queens in the state Assembly, I’ve watched politicians at all levels of government bend over backwards to prioritize the needs of the largest companies in the world. Whether it’s bailing out predatory financial institutions after they send the world economy into a tailspin, giving away the store to corporations like Amazon to lure them into a city they wanted to come to anyway, or handing tax breaks to big developers who turn profits on the backs of working people; our government is too often beholden to corporate interests.
Meanwhile, subways are crumbling, children in NYCHA housing are poisoned by lead, and economic disparity is skyrocketing due to the crushing debt burden that millions of New Yorkers struggle to manage. The twisted prioritization of corporations has starved our communities of badly-needed resources and created an environment where it’s virtually impossible for 99% of people to make better lives for themselves and their families.
But government doesn’t exist to serve corporations. It exists to improve the lives of people. We need a new and bold agenda to shift the paradigm in favor of everyday New Yorkers and a leader who is determined to execute it. That’s why I am running for New York City Public Advocate and why I am proposing “The People’s Deal.”
Cancel Student Debt
The first step in “The People’s Deal” is to cancel student debt. New Yorkers have $35 billion of student debt alone and hundreds of thousands will never be able to pay that back. This prevents them from buying homes, starting businesses, and providing for their families. My vision for the Public Advocate is to transform the position into the first elected office dedicated to eliminating student debt for New Yorkers. We can do so by using eminent domain to seize outstanding loans from the predatory banks that control them and cancel them starting with the most distressed. We will pay for this by fighting to end corporate subsidies to companies like Amazon. This bold step is 100% doable and it would have a measurable and immediate impact on the lives of hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers.
End Corporate Subsidies
The next step is to fight to end those corporate subsidies. Something is desperately wrong when elected officials give $3 billion of taxpayer money to Amazon, one of the wealthiest companies in the world, and millions in tax breaks to wealthy developers. While lead paint poisons children in NYCHA housing, it’s clear the priorities need to change. If we end the taxpayer giveaways, we can reinvest that money into the people of this great city. This action will have a direct and positive impact on working New York families and simultaneously spur economic growth.
Bust the Trusts
The final step is to bust the trusts. In the old days, the trusts were Standard Oil and US Steel. Now it’s Amazon, Uber, and Facebook and these companies arguably have more control over our daily lives, more personal information about us, and more ability to violate our privacy than Standard Oil or US Steel ever did. At the same time, small businesses are getting pushed out of our communities due to prohibitive costs and harmful government policies. My plan is to lead a push to break up the modern-day monopolies and use the bully pulpit of the Public Advocate to establish a new era of community and small-business empowerment. Studies show that dollars spent in local communities have a stronger multiplier effect than handing subsidies to mega-corporations who distribute them to shareholders.
The People’s Deal is bold. The millionaires, billionaires, and corporations won’t like it because the system works for them. But New York is a place where big ideas with an eye towards fairness can be realized. We are the home of FDR and the New Deal, which lifted millions out of poverty during one of the worst crises in our history. The people of New York deserve leaders who are committed to empowering them and to putting their interests first. That’s why I am running for Public Advocate.
Ron Kim is a member of the state Assembly representing part of Queens. On Twitter @rontkim.