Official endorsement for Eric Schneiderman

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As the largest Young Democrats chapter in the State, the Manhattan Young Democrats are proud to endorse Eric Schneiderman for NYS Attorney General. Eric has been a strong supporter of our organization and has continuously proven that he cares about issues which matter to our generation. As Attorney General he’s taken on tough fights to ensure that there’s one set of rules for everyone, no matter how rich or powerful. He’s been a progressive voice holding Wall Street accountable, protecting homeowners, and going after public corruption. He has worked and continues to work to protect marriage equality, he has fought conservatives who have tried to take away reproductive rights and has held those who thought they were above the law accountable. As the official youth arm of the Democratic Party we know that Attorney General Schneiderman has worked tirelessly to ensure NY provides justice for all and we can’t wait to help him continue fighting for all of us.

If you’re interested in working on the Attorney General’s reelection campaign with MYD please email our President Ashley C. Emerole: president[at]gomyd[dot]com.

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What Happened Last Night?

Our 6th Annual Young Gets It Done was PHENOMENAL!

We had such a blast partying with our wonderful 5 Under 35 honorees: Svante Myrick, Danny Corum, Sara Valenzuel, Monica Foskett Guerra, and Carlina Rivera!

It was great to mingle with our state and local elected officials and we really showed progressive NY how Young Democrats roll.

NOW WHAT?

It’s time to convert the momentum into action!

1- if you missed the party, we’re still taking contributions to ensure MYD continues spreading the word of Democratic politics to young people

2-Sign up for our newest learning lab on racism which starts WEDNESDAY 8/20

3- Read our blog! Our latest post on the War on Poverty comes from Data Director Taylor Morgan

Feel free to email me at president@gomyd.com with your ideas and thoughts for how MYD can keep making a positive impact in NYC and beyond!

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The Ongoing War on Poverty: 21st Century Realities and Solutions

Now 50 years ago, in the 1964 State of the Union address, President Lyndon B. Johnson declared that, “The richest nation on Earth can afford to win [the war on poverty]. We cannot afford to lose it”. That year the Economic Opportunity Act was passed. The War on Poverty began and in the decade that followed, poverty rates in the U.S. dropped from 17.3 percent to 11.1 percent.

The Economic Opportunity Act and the initiatives that followed initially did an excellent job of reducing the percentage of Americans in poverty. Additionally, there is no doubt that today’s poverty rates would be higher without the on-going aid provided by many of these programs.

However, even with the program’s initial success and continued implementation, the number of Americans falling into poverty trended upwards after 1975. Given U.S. population growth since that time and the fact that welfare benefits began to decline post 1975, the increase in the number of people living in poverty, although inexcusable, shouldn’t be a surprise if you do the math.

While the number of Americans falling into poverty steadily increased over the following decades, the poverty rate itself oscillated between 11 percent and 15.2 percent. That is until U.S. Census data released in 2012 revealed that the poverty rate had hit a new high, 16 percent or nearly 50 million people.

Today we are well beyond pre-1964 poverty numbers and we are creeping up to pre-1964 poverty rates. Nearly 50 million of our fellow citizens are in poverty and roughly 3.16 million Americans are living on less than $2 per day prior to government aid, a number that has doubled since 1996.

While poverty numbers in America are increasing, there is another number that is on the rise, the total percentage of National income that the wealthiest members of our society take home. Consider for a moment that the top 1% of American households have increased their share of the total, National income pie from 11.3 percent of total U.S. annual income in 1979 to 20.9 percent by 2007. To put this into perspective, if the 1979 income tax rate and distribution model were implemented today, then we would have an additional $1.3 trillion to divide among every man, woman and child not in the top 1 percent of income earners. That’s roughly an additional $4,180 per year for each person in the U.S. That’s enough to get our 3.16 million fellow Americans out of extreme poverty, to increase middle and lower class wages, add more jobs to the economy, and score a decisive victory in one of the battlefronts in the ongoing War on Poverty.

In a Nation of so much wealth there is absolutely no reason that anyone should fall into a cycle of poverty. Many of these individuals were once members of the lower and middle classes. They were people with homes, families, jobs, lives, and stories. They were our neighbors. They were our friends. They are our fellow citizens.

So what can we do about it?

This is often the trickiest question to answer because it is the most divisive. I’m a big believer in solutions that simultaneously eliminate waste and reap the maximum benefit for all people. Such a solution should reconcile the need for pragmatism with our desire to provide opportunity to all. It should yield something greater than the sum of its parts. The goal should be to eliminate poverty while reducing government bureaucracy, waste, and cost.

So why don’t we implement a system that does just that?

Such a solution exists and we could implement it now. It’s called the Basic Income and it’s gaining a lot of credence among serious economists and politicians around the world. The Basic Income is a salary that is indexed to the economy and is paid on a frequent basis (for instance monthly or weekly) to every citizen without any restrictions. It is granted without respect to income, wealth or employment status, meaning that everyone, from the person that is living on $2 per day all the way up to Bill Gates, would receive the Basic Income on a regular basis.

So why would this system be optimal?

The Basic Income is a system of social security that functionally eliminates poverty by guaranteeing everyone a livable salary. Because everyone receives the basic income, it would remove the need for a complex, welfare bureaucracy. We could eliminate the need for the current system of welfare administration and along with it: welfare cycle traps (which is the disincentive to earn more money for fear of losing welfare benefits), monitoring beneficiaries, waste and fraud.  It creates a more equal starting point from which small business owners, entrepreneurs, and others can strive for more.  It creates a jumping off point for revving up the next great tech startup, organic farm business or ground-breaking medical research company. And because it supports and encourages business there is more opportunity for more people to succeed.

How would we pay for it?

The U.S. Government’s spending at the federal, state, and local government levels on Welfare, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security Retirement (not including spending on Education and Defense) is projected to be $3 Trillion in 2014. If we were to replace all this spending with a Basic Income for all 265 million adult, U.S. citizens, we could provide $11,300 per citizen in basic income without any additional taxes. To put this into context, the Federal poverty level for 2014 is set at $11,670 for a household size of 1 and $23,850 for a family of four in total yearly income.

Obviously, we can do even better so here are a few more ideas…

Since all existing income-based or means-tested welfare would be eliminated, we would immediately save on costs associated with bureaucracy, administration, waste, and fraud.

We could also adjust the current progressive tax system to get rid of the cap on the top marginal tax bracket. For example, in 2013 the top marginal tax rate of 39.6% applied to: individuals making $400,000 or more, to married couples filing jointly making $450,000 or more, and to head of households making $425,000 or more. Adding another bracket or two, for instance a $700,000 to $999,999 at 41% and a $1,000,000+ at 43%, would greatly help to fund a Basic income for all citizens.

We could increase the tax rate on capital gains: A popular case could be made to the American public for increasing taxes on capital gains. We could do this fairly by mimicking our progressive income tax, instead of flatly raising rates across the board. This would ensure that Americans of retirement age could collect a livable income from their retirement funds without being heavy handed by an unfairly high rate. At the same time, a progressive capital gains tax would ensure that millionaires and billionaires making windfall profits, mostly through capital gains, would pay at a higher rate commensurate with their profit margins. This would help to ameliorate the wealth and income gap in America.

Since it would slowly replace social security and other programs, we could reallocate the tax revenue towards this program.

Finally, a tax on high-end consumption and high-speed financial transactions (aka fast-algorithmic stock market trading) are also two of the leading methods proposed by many economists in order fund a basic income in perpetuity.

So who supports it?

A surprising number of economists and thought leaders with various political proclivities support the Universal Basic Income. Renowned right-leaning economists Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman as well as famed Keynesian economists such as James Tobin, Paul Samuelson, Paul Krugman, and Robert Reich all support forms of the Universal Basic Income.

So what are we waiting for?

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#YGID2014 – Buy your tickets for tonight now!

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The Lawsuit Against Obama

July 30th didn’t simply mark a new low for the 113th congress, but a new height in political irony.

Going on a month now, House Speaker John Boehner has sought a new way to impede the policy goals of our President, while simultaneously aiding GOP House and Senate campaigns throughout the Nation.

The solution finally came in the form of a lawsuit against the President for not strictly enforcing the Affordable Care Act, the very law the GOP has been trying to undermine since it was first proposed six years ago.

By calling attention to those parts of the Act not currently being actively enforced, specifically the mandate on employers who do not wish to provide health care coverage, House Republicans believe that they can speak to small business interests across the country in an important mid-term election year, while simultaneously stalling the President’s goals for essential legislation to move our country forward. I’m talking about student loan relief and immigration.

Key words used to date by GOP elected officials include tyranny, constitution (shredding of) illegality and impeachment.

But what’s the end goal here? Winning the lawsuit? Impeaching the President?

No. If fact, the two previous attempts to sue sitting presidents have been dismissed; two judges have ruled that members of Congress do not have the grounds to sue.

The true goal is to control the national political narrative so that Republicans don’t have to take stands on important issues facing our nation. As ridiculous as the lawsuit appears, it already succeeded – Congress adjourned for its five week summer recess without passing critical legislation that would address the mounting immigration crisis. Come November, you can bet your bottom dollar that the GOP will tag the Democrats with the blame for the fallout due to the failure to act.

DON’T FORGET: Join us and 500 supporters and guests on WEDNESDAY August 13th as we honor 5 young progressives at Young Gets It Done!

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Our 5 Under 35

Next Wednesday, August 13th come meet our 5 amazing honorees under 35 for the 6th Annual Young Gets It Done:

Mayor Svante Myrick

Svante Myrick

Svante L. Myrick was sworn into office in January 2012 and became, at 24, the City of Ithaca’s youngest Mayor and first Mayor of color. Svante was first elected to the Common Council at the age of 20 while still a junior at Cornell. The Mayor championed and passed a series of economic development reforms, and in 22 out of the 24 months of his term Ithaca has led New York State in job creation. The City now has the lowest unemployment rate in the State. As Mayor he inherited a $3 million deficit. His first budget included a radical overhaul of City government that merged departments, streamlined processes and was able to successfully close a $ 3 million deficit – all while delivering the lowest tax increase in the City of Ithaca since the year 2000. His active advocacy in Albany and in Washington D.C. has resulted in over $20 million of grants and awards from the State and Federal government. Svante has changed the way people in Ithaca view public space by turning his dedicated mayoral parking space into a public park, after years without them he’s brought fireworks back to the City on the 4th into the 21st

Sara Valenzeula

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Sara Valenzuela currently serves as Director of External Relations for New York City Public Advocate Letitia James. Prior to joining the Public Advocate’s Team, Sara spent the past 3 1/2 years serving in a variety of government outreach roles as New York City Regional Director for State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, Community Liaison of Immigrant Affairs, Latino Outreach, and Education for New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, and Intergovernmental Affairs Liaison and Latino Affairs Liaison for Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer. In these roles, she encouraged progressive legislation and initiatives in partnership with fellow government agencies, elected officials, and advocates in New York. A graduate of Vanderbilt University and Teach For America alumna, Sara has dedicated her career to political and minority advocacy. Following her TFA commitment, Sara moved to Washington, D.C. in 2007, to serve as Legislative Correspondent to then Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chair, Joe Baca. She was later recruited to serve U.S. Senator Robert Menendez as Legislative Aide/Latino Issues Liaison. In addition, she served as Congressional Hispanic Caucus Liaison and advisor on Latino issues for members of the Senate Hispanic Task Force. During the last months of the 2008 Presidential election, Sara was recruited by Obama for America to serve as Deputy Field Organizer for Hispanic Outreach in Pueblo, Colorado. Following the election she helped found the New Latino Movement, a civic century by embracing social media and overhauling the City’s web presence. engagement group focused on developing young leaders to promote equal opportunity and justice for Latinos. Before her move to New York City, Sara spent the last year and a half of her time in Washington DC as the Associate Director of Government Affairs at Earth Day Network, directing federal policy and national environmental initiatives. ?Sara continues her advocacy even outside the office. Upon arriving to New York City, she began the New York City chapter of the New Latino Movement, a group she helped found in 2008 to engage young Latinos in national and local advocacy. She also joined the inaugural New York City chapter of Women’s Information Network serving as a Political Action Chair. In 2012, Sara participated in the New York City New Leaders Council fellowship and went on to serve as Recruitment and Institute Chairs for the 2013 and 2014 classes. In addition, Sara serves on the Greater New York City for Change board, where she has actively trained and led volunteers during the 2008 election to canvass and register voters in Pennsylvania, organized constituents to join recovery trips to Far Rockaway following the destruction of Hurricane Sandy, and helps to educate members on local and federal policy. Sara currently resides in the East Village of Manhattan.

Monica F. Guerra

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Monica Foskett Guerra is Co-Founder and Network Director of the Women’s Information Network.NYC (WIN.NYC), a non-profit dedicated to the professional development of pro-choice, Democratic young women, and works on Wall Street as member of Fitch Rating’s Public Finance Group. Prior to her work at Fitch Ratings, she managed capital budgeting for both the Brooklyn and Manhattan Borough President’s Offices. In her capacity as Director of Capital Budget and Economic Development for the Brooklyn Borough President’s Office, she served as a Mayoral appointee to the Board of Directors for the New York City Economic Development Corporation and as a Gubernatorial appointee to the New York City Regional Economic Development Council. She has also managed federal appropriations and developed financial regulatory policies for former Congresswoman Debbie Halvorson and Congressman Mike Quigley. While working for the U.S. House of Representatives, she was awarded with a Congressional Statement of Recognition in honor of her outstanding public service record. Prior to working in Washington, DC, Monica was a field strategist on numerous political campaigns and served as a Regional Field Director for Hillary for President. Monica received her undergraduate degree from Northern Illinois University and is currently pursuing her Masters of Public Administration in finance from NYU’s Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service.

Danny Corum

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Since arriving on the scene in New York from California, Danny Corum has hit the ground running in the progressive labor world of NYC and politics. While studying Labor Relations at the CUNY Murphy Institute he interned for the United Federation of Teachers. It was there at the UFT that Danny was able to successfully run the member-to-member field program in one of the hottest contested NYC state senate races; outspent nearly 3 to 1, still managed to pick up the win. After completing his internship he went on to get his Master’s Degree from CUNY Murphy Institute and then returned to the UFT where he went back to overseeing the UFT Field Operation for all of their endorsed city council candidates along with their candidates for city comptroller and mayor. Following the 2013 Primary Election Danny was tapped by UFT President Michael Mulgrew to be the COPE Coordinator in charge of fundraising for the UFT VOTE COPE Political Action Fund. Danny has brought a fresh approach to motivating the 200,000 members of the UFT to voluntarily contribute to VOTE COPE. He has brought over his passion and energy from California, and in a very short time has been able to make a name for himself across the city as an up and coming political operative.

Carlina Rivera

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Carlina Rivera is an affordable housing activist and District Leader in the Lower East Side. Carlina is a lifelong LES resident and the Director of Programs and Services for Good Old Lower East Side (GOLES), a community-based organization focused on neighborhood preservation and eviction prevention reaching 10,000 residents every year. While at GOLES, Carlina has worked on campaigns that helped halt infill on NYCHA property during the Bloomberg administration and helped initiate a State Attorney General investigation into illegal landlord tactics to deregulate affordable units in over 100 Manhattan buildings. During the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, Carlina was GOLES’ principal disaster volunteer organizer and coordinated nearly 3,000 volunteers to knock on 15,000 doors of local residents. Since the storm, GOLES has been instrumental in establishing LES READY, the Long Term Recovery Group of the Lower East Side of Manhattan and securing over $300m in federal funding for storm protection along the East River. Carlina serves as an executive member of both Manhattan Community Board 3 and the Coalition for a District Alternative, a progressive political organization combining activism with electoral organizing to preserve the rich diversity of the LES. She is a member of the Community Advisory Board of Bellevue Hospital and the NYC Congress for Puerto Rican Rights, and has served on the Borough President’s Senior Advisory Group. Carlina is president of the Tenant Association of her building, which works to preserve the building’s affordability for the 171 families that live there. A graduate of Marist College, Carlina has worked for Kaplan K12 coordinating their academic after- school programs in elementary and middle schools in low-income communities and for Lawyers Alliance to empower new nonprofits with the tools to organize their legal structures.

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