NYC is in a dire crisis- it’s never had this many homeless people before. The city is also in record prosperity- it’s never had this many billionaires before and they have never been richer.
I do not think these two facts are unrelated.
A colleague asked me, “What can policy makers do? How can we contribute to shift this trend of inequality?”
Well, even off the top of my head, I can kind of think of bunch of things that should change policy wise lol (e.g. reverse Citizens United ruling, turn vacant lots and buildings owned by govt into affordable subsidized housing units, tax dividends and investment returns like a normal income, end corporate subsidies for most industries that’s not essential to the public wellbeing, increase rental assistance programs, increase minimum wage to living wage, bring back earned income tax credit back to the level introduced by President Nixon’s Administration, change American healthcare system into single-payer universal healthcare system… if I list any more of my ideas, I’ll probably immediately be labeled a socialist or a Marxist or something…). I think the more difficult challenge is how can the general public become more aware? How can we change the generally accepted cultural assumptions and attitudes so that we as a people can push policymakers to start making changes? Unless politicians feel more pressure from the general population more so than corporate lobbyists, policy makers have no incentive to change the status quo.
And I believe we as social workers need to remember a part of our profession’s roots of community organizing and being political activists. If Jane Addams and Dorothea DIx were to rise out of their graves and see what our profession has become, I do not think they will be very happy with what social work as a profession has become.