In 2020, candidates endorsed by the Democratic Socialists of America won several victories in New York State, giving them control over six State Senate seats. In 2022 they hope to carry this momentum to seize even more power and influence. But what do they plan to do with it?
On Friday, Sumathy Kumar, co-chair of the New York City Chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America was interviewed by the Capitol Pressroom (out of Albany) and discussed their goals for next year. Despite her stated aims to give ordinary people more control over their own lives, her stated policies were government, government, and more government.
According to Kumar, one of the New York Socialists’ biggest priorities was passing laws for “good cause eviction” before the city’s eviction moratorium expires. Said laws impose heavy restrictions on property owners who don’t want to renew their tenant’s lease, cap rent increases at around 3% and require a court order to remove a tenant, even if said tenant wasn’t paying rent, undermining property rights, where the owner decides how their property should be used and by whom.
The Socialists also want to pass the Build Public Renewables Act, which would municipalize New York’s energy system, ban new non-renewable power facilities, and phase out existing ones in favor of green energy sources, like solar and wind power, easily. While 30% of New York’s power is made with renewables now, said renewables are hydro and nuclear power, which environmental activists are not keen to expand despite them being the cheapest and most reliable renewable sources of power.
One of the Socialists’ other important goals, according to Kumar, is passing the New York Health Act. The New York Health Act would have government take over the health care system, eliminating nearly all private health insurance within the state of New York. Instead, everyone would have to get their insurance from the state. The act has been defeated several times since its introduction in 1992 and while the current version has several co-sponsors, it has not been brought to a vote.
“Our top priority on health care remains the New York Health Act,” Kumar said, “But I think we also want to try and work towards some incremental reforms that can get us to a place where the New York Health Act is a possibility.” These include regulations on split shifts, limiting non-government nursing homes, which they view as corrupt, and repealing the Global Medicaid budget cap, which prevents spending from spiraling out of control.
Removing all choices does not empower the common worker, it disempowers them. On top of that, the New York Health Act would cost New York taxpayers dearly. An analysis by the Foundation for Research of Economic Opportunity found that passing the New York Health Act would triple New York’s tax burden and cost the state 315,000 jobs.
The New York City DSA chapter has endorsed Samy Nemir-Olivares in Bushwick for the Assembly and David Alexis for State Senate in 2022, hoping to add to the already alarming number of socialist-endorsed officials who hold office in the declining Empire State.
The question for the 2022 legislative session is whether enough Democrats will oppose socialist policies to stop them. For Americans who don’t live in New York, the problem with the state’s lurch to the left is that it will come to Washington demanding more bailouts as its financial situation deteriorates.