Wall Street Is Here!Posted: November 21, 2011
By Dave Duncan
Occupy Wall Street people are in Binghamton, NYC, Oakland, Ca and other cities throughout the country and the world, protesting the transfer of funds from one class of people to another class of people. While poverty, homelessness, infant mortality, and hunger, unemployment are at levels not seen in most of our lifetimes, we have a government that only knows how to feed the wealthy. The working class of this country is providing the sweat and the taxes that are used to line the pockets of the millionaires and billionaires.
We all know how our Federal government has bailed out the people whose greed has caused our recession. The greedy made billions by bundling worthless debt and selling it to other greedy people. When there was no more money to be made and the system collapsed, it was not the greedy who had to give back some of their gains. No, it was those of us who did not share in the profits that have been made to pay the bill by a government that clearly no longer belongs to us.
But let us not just focus all of our attention on the transfer of wealth from the working class to the Wall St. people. Let us look also at the transfer of funds that has happened right here in our community.
The Newman Corp is building high end student housing just a few blocks from here. This developer will not be asked to pay his share of city, school and county taxes. No, he will get a 50% tax break for 15 years plus a low assessment while we lay off city, school and county workers. Subsidizing tuition for college students is an important necessity for our future, but subsidizing housing that most of us could not afford is unacceptable. The working class is subsidizing housing that they themselves cannot afford.
Add to the Newman housing subsidy the fact that the Metro Center Mall pays only 1/8th of its taxes for 99 years and the Boscov Department store pays no property taxes at all.
The River Walk Hotel was developed with $16 million of public money in 1988 and it was recently sold by the city for less than $4 million.
The Kilmer Building on Chenango St. received almost $4 million in public subsidies to create commercial office space in a city that has a glut of office space. Include-ed in this figure is $80,000 of city money that was used to open a French restaurant that closed shortly after opening. The working class was taxed in order to subsidize the restaurant, but they could not afford to eat there.
Walk up and down the streets here in the downtown area and you will find project after project that has sucked up public money for private profit. How many student housing projects are being granted tax breaks while the local governments and the education systems can no longer afford to provide services to the tax paying residents? We are surrounded by these sweet deal projects.
The list of publically subsidized projects is very long and the list is filled with failures. Who pays for these failures? We know who pays that is why we are here. If you look around you right now, you will find it hard to understand
how the City of Binghamton has spent approximately $200 million to renovate downtown with the failed Urban Renewal program. The money that went into the hands of developers is no longer ours. These were not student loans that need to be repaid. These developers did not have to meet a means test like the recipients of food stamps do. The only expense that the greedy on Wall St and the greedy here have is the expense of buying the public officials and taking care of them when their term in office ends.
The Wall Street mentality permeates our whole system. The program of the greedy ruling class at all levels is bank bailouts, cuts in social programs and education, tax breaks for the wealthy, war and the elimination of democratic rights. This must be countered with a political program based on our interests. We need our own political agenda and a political party that is not owned by the big capitalists. The two party system has failed us and we must put an end it .
Let this movement be the start of that process here as it is the start of the process everywhere in the world.