With one in seven New Yorkers out of work, job creation should be our top priority. Following the Great Depression, President Franklin D. Roosevelt established programs that simultaneously employed millions of Americans and drastically improved our infrastructure. We are still dealing with the worst economic crisis since that era, and the quality of our infrastructure now ranks 23th in the world – it was sixth just 10 years ago. Another aggressive approach is needed to combat today's unemployment problem and ensure we can compete in tomorrow's global economy. Workers can be hired to fix roads, build schools, improve our networks, and make us more compliant with the 21st century. With a stronger infrastructure, companies will in turn have greater incentives to invest and hire domestically.
The Bush tax cuts – which cost an estimated $2.5 trillion through 2010, and another $42 billion in 2011 – should not be renewed for the wealthiest Americans. At the very least, the top tax bracket should return to 39.6% for millionaires and billionaires. Loopholes should be closed so that the wealthy can no longer pay lower tax rates than the middle class. For example, carried interest should be taxed at regular income rates. Those making under $250,000 should only see their taxes lowered or maintained.
There should be no cuts to essential programs like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and unemployment benefits. They not only provide crucial support to the middle class and the poor, but economists assert these programs create more jobs than tax spending on the wealthy.