Mike Itkis for Congress NY 10 Congressional District
“My campaign was inspired by Senator Bernie Sanders’ ideas for economic equality, single payer healthcare, and criminal justice reform. As an Atheist, I support the absolute separation of church and state”
• INHERITED PRIVILEGE
Our 10th Congressional District has the highest measured income inequality in our state and the second highest in our nation. The majority of wealth in our city is concentrated in a precious few families. Estate planning and lax estate tax laws deprive our city and state of needed funding. Estate tax laws have been systematically neutered over the last two decades.
While it is perfectly normal and understandable to want to leave something to one’s kin, the weakening of estate restrictions creates a system of heritable privilege. As it stands, there is an unforgiving correlation between the economic standing of any individual and that of the family they were born into. While it is impossible to eliminate privilege in its entirety, there is value in minimizing it. It is no accident that playing fields are not built on hills.
In order to curb the inheritance of privilege, I propose that we repair our broken Federal estate tax system. We must restore the tax rates and reduce exemptions to where they were at the end of the last century. We must also set rules and restrictions on the conditions under which estate planning may operate. We must set a limit as to how much wealth, and therefore privilege, can be passed to those who have not earned it. This revenue ought to be used to pay for a single-payer healthcare system, and for job programs (like the one in this platform).
• NEW YORK CITY HOUSING
New York has an iconic image as a destination for young, ambitious singles. These aspiring professionals make up about half of the households in our city. An insufficient portion of the rent-able apartments in Manhattan are studios. The vast majority being larger, they are priced out of a reasonable, affordable range for most singles.
Real estate markets are not based in supply and demand. New construction abounds, with the majority of residential space being devoted to larger, higher priced rentals. Our housing growth and our working class needs are out of sync. The private sector has failed to provide New York with a free-market solution.
Our single neighbors need some help. If elected, I propose to free our city planners to increase the quantity of available public housing. We will repeal growth restrictions and add units, particularly smaller, affordable units for single residents. By doing so, we can open our city and fill our demand for new workers. Additionally, this will free up larger units for workers with families, and for those planning to start their own.
• INFORMATION SECURITY
The Internet is, arguably, humanity’s greatest achievement, and has served us well. For all its benefits, it was, forgivably, developed with neither security nor privacy in mind. We can no longer afford to rely on a patchwork of digital duct-tape to protect our information from theft, destruction, or exposure.
Cyber-attacks from both private and national interests are an ever-present phenomenon. Our own government, in a misguided play at security, has trampled on the privacy rights of its citizens. Not a week goes by without news that some corporation or other is violated; its customer information splayed across the internet to be abused for the profit of the unscrupulous. Both corporate and individual users are at the mercy of security software licensing agreements which often act more like a protection racket than a benevolent guardian. What regulatory systems have been developed are often costly to comply with.
We can, and must, do better. I propose a radical departure from our current course; no less than a new agency tasked the creation of a next-generation Internet. This hardened civilian network will be built with security and privacy protections baked in. Personal data will be protected from government surveillance by an adversarial process, maintaining that the citizen is innocent until proven, rather than suspected as, guilty. Training for users and agents will convey best practices for protecting this network from intrusion.
• EDUCATION / JOBS
An educated and skilled workforce is essential for a healthy job market. Our current system, which requires young people to enter crippling debt in order to gain the skills and knowledge needed to be productive members of our workforce, is eroding our economic potential. By allowing this to continue, we are working against our own national best interests.
I propose that we restructure the pipeline from high school to employment. In partnership with industry leaders and school administrations, we can tailor our graduating classes to fill job openings. Working with industry leaders, we can create both private and federal entry-level jobs for students in the fields they will study, allowing them to earn enough to pay for college themselves, while gaining valuable work experience. Feedback from industry will allow us to adjust our education output to more closely match labor demand.
• INDIVIDUAL FREEDOM
Marriage is quickly falling out of cultural favor as the de facto choice for living arrangements. As people pick their own paths to fulfillment, it is becoming clear that the laws surrounding marriage create a systemic bias against single people. It is important that our government recognize the profound importance of each individuals choice in how they relate to one another.
With that in mind, I believe it is time for our government to begin extracting itself from the marriage business. What consenting adults do in their private lives should not be a government concern. To that end, laws which criminalize consensual sex acts between adults, as well as laws which privilege the coupled over the single, should be repealed.