Ralph Nader on Budget & Economy
2004 Reform nominee; 2000 Green Candidate for President
Jobs lost may not be replaced by new ones
[The US] has lost 2.6 million jobs since February 2001. Someday the Pollyanna belief that the US economy always replaces the jobs it loses overseas with new jobs here,
as we keep racing ahead of other countries with modern technology and new or redundant services, may run into a contrary riptide that no set of spurious statistics can obscure.
Source: In the Public Interest, "The Job Export Machine"
Jul 9, 2003
47 million full-time workers make less than $10 an hour
There is little reference to the working poor. 47 million full-time workers are making less than $10/hr. The lack of affordable housing, the number of children who go to bed hungry, and the more than 32 million Americans who live in poverty put
the lie to the Gore claim of broad-based prosperity under the current administration’s regime. Much like their GOP counterparts, Gore has faith in the discredited concept of trickle down economics.
Source: Speech to National Press Club
Oct 26, 2000
Use surplus to rebuild country & provide for communal needs
Q: How would you handle the projected surplus?
A: First of all, the surpluses are very hypothetical. The economy could turn down. Second, the surpluses involve a lot of Social Security surpluses, which must be secured. Third, we’ve got priorities.
Abolishing child poverty should be one. Rebuilding and repairing America, the public works, the drinking water systems; public transit systems, schools, clinics are crumbling. And third, we really need to focus on a universal health insurance that’s
accessible with an emphasis on prevention. Those are communal needs of the American people as a community. They’re overwhelmingly desired. The Bush tax cut is basically to make the rich richer, including himself after taking advantage of a Texas Ranger
stadium subsidy boondoggle that turned a $600,000 investment that he borrowed in the Texas Rangers into a $14 million profit. He knows about corporate welfare. He’s a corporate welfare king.
Source: Nader-Buchanan debate on ‘Meet the Press’
Oct 1, 2000
Top priorities: Infrastructure; poverty; preventive health
Q: If on your first day in office as president, you had one trillion dollars to spend, what would be your priorities?
A: [My priorities would be]:
- I’d rebuild public works - all those things underground.
Mass transit andpublic transit should be built in city after city.
- I’d do more to abolish child poverty.
- I’d upgrade preventive health care.
Source: National Press Club interview (aired on NPR)
Jul 23, 2000
High gas prices are the fruit of corporate power
Nader joined in Bush’s attack on Gore and the Clinton administration for what he called their lack of a policy to address rising gas prices. The administration has “simply been asleep at the wheel,”
Nader said. He charged that the Justice Department’s failure to challenge oil company mergers has allowed the concentration “of the oil industry’s economic power in fewer hands and gives these merged companies greater opportunity to manipulate prices.”
Source: Terry M. Neal & Thomas B. Edsall, Washington Post, p. A04
Jun 29, 2000
People indicators are down despite good economic indicators
Q: Clinton-Gore put out statistics in 1996, and again this year, saying, “Lowest unemployment in this century, 3.9%, 20 million new jobs created. Deficits turned to surpluses. Mr. Nader,” they’ll say, “the economy is doing great. No one’s going to listen
to your message of doom & gloom.”
A: They didn’t create 22 million jobs. That was created overwhelmingly by the private economy. They didn’t have much of a fiscal policy. Yeah, you have nine years of growth, nine years of corporate profits, nine years
of stock market prices. But let’s look at people indicators. A majority of the workers making less today in inflation and adjusted dollars than they did 25 years ago and they’re working 160 hours more a year on the average. 20% child poverty, the highest
percentage of poverty by far in the Western world. People having trouble making ends meet, even with two incomes because they’re not having a livable wage. And so they have to go deeper in debt. Consumer debt now has soared over $ 6.2 trillion.
Source: Interview on ‘Meet the Press’
May 7, 2000
Two-tiered economy is unhealthy & troubling
There is a two-tier economy where the top 10% is doing quite well, the top 1% spectacularly. But the top 1% of the richest people in this country have financial wealth equal to the combined 95% of the American
people. That’s a very unhealthy inequality which is even troubling Alan Greenspan.
Source: Interview on ‘Meet the Press’
May 7, 2000
Allow citizen lawsuits for waste in govt spending
Citizens must have full legal standing to challenge in the courts the waste, fraud, and abuse of government spending. Overly complex, mystifying jargon in our laws and procedures must be simplified
and clarified so that the general public is not shut out from readily understanding and challenging them.
Source: The Concord Principles, An Agenda for a New Democracy, # 5
Feb 21, 2000
The economy is down, when measured by human yardsticks
Business commentators say the economy could scarcely be better. If, instead of corporate yardsticks, we use human yardsticks to measure the performance of the economy and go beyond the quantitative indices of annual economic growth, structural
deficiencies become readily evident. Despite record economic growth, corporate profits, and stock market highs year after year, a stunning array of deplorable conditions still prevails year after year. For example:
Source: Green Party Announcement Speech
Feb 21, 2000
- A majority of workers are making
less now, inflation adjusted, than in 1979
- Over 20% of children were growing up in poverty during the past decade
- The minimum wage is lower today, inflation-adjusted, than in 1979
- American workers are working longer
and longer hours with less time for family and community
- Consumer debt is at an all time high
- Personal bankruptcies are at a record level
- Personal savings are dropping to record lows
Fed worries wrongly about wage inflation over profits
Alan Greenspan, chairman of the Federal Reserve, is remarkably selective in what kind of inflation he is against. The Fed Chairman does show consistent concern about one inflationary indicator -- any rise in ordinary wages -- and he is regularly relieved
to see that they have been “stable,” even though labor’s productivity has been up sharply recently. It is clear that he loses little sleep over workers not sharing in the massive profits that their companies are reaping.
Source: In the Public Interest: “Inflation & the Federal Reserve”
Nov 15, 1999
Spend surplus on public works & infrastructure
Strikingly absent from the debate [on spending the surplus] are recommendations on investing in a public works program. At no time in recent history has a program to construct, rebuild or repair crumbling bridges, schools, sewer lines, docks, parks, mass
transit systems, libraries, clinics, courthouses and other public amenities and infrastructure been so urgent or achievable. This-an era of burgeoning private wealth and large projected public surplus-is the time to reinvigorate our public investments.
Source: Article, “Perspectives On Federal Spending”
Jul 27, 1999
GNP fails to measure quality of life
Why don’t we analyze our economy qualitatively? And why are almost all the economic indices quantitative and oriented toward the corporate way of defining economic progress? Like the GNP: it has been going up in our country gradually for over twenty
years, but 80% of the people’s standard of living has been going down. That’s because we’re not looking at the qualitative aspects of these economic activities.
For instance, if you have a lot of street crime or a lot of pollution, [dealing with those]
generates a lot of economic activity, profits, jobs, and sales. But that’s not something we really want an economy to spend its time doing. It’s necessary that it be done, but it doesn’t really advance the ability of people to buy homes or to pay for
their children’s education.
We don’t measure whether an economy is developing. We just measure whether companies are selling more, whether inventories are up or down, not whether the health, safety and economic well-being of people are being advanced.
Source: Alternative Radio, interview by David Barsamian
Dec 9, 1995