John Edwards on Budget & Economy
2004 Democratic Nominee for Vice President; Former Jr Senator (NC)
: No, that’s exactly right. I have proposed something that not only stimulates the economy, but creates long-term benefits, investment in green infrastructure, which creates jobs. Instead of just getting money out in the short term, this will actually create jobs over the long term, create green infrastructure. And crucial to jobs: South Carolina has been devastated by trade deals like NAFTA.
Q: What you’re proposing are really long-term objectives. In terms of a short-term stimulus package, you disagree with [Obama & Clinton] on an immediate tax rebate?
A: No, no. If we green the economy, if we change our unemployment insurance laws, if we deal with the mortgage crisis in a serious way with a home rescue fund to provide transitional financing for those people who are about to lose their homes, all those things will stimulate the economy.
A: We need to do things for this country, for the middle class, to strengthen the economy, we have to be willing to stand up against entrenched moneyed interests.
Q: Sen. Clinton wants a 90-day moratorium on any foreclosures, & a 5-year freeze on interest rates for people who are having trouble. Is that a good idea?
A: I think those are perfectly good ideas. I’d be more aggressive than that, though. I think we ought to go to the step, because we have so many people who have spent their lives investing in the biggest asset they have, their home. And they are in danger of losing it. I’d go to the next step, which is to allow the bankruptcy courts to actually restructure these loans. You’d have to change the law to do that. And I would create a national home rescue fund so that we can actually provide transitional help to these families that are at-risk. I think those are more aggressive measures in addition to what you just talked about.
A: In the short term, what I’ve proposed is a very strong economic stimulus package, which is $100 billion, phased in over a period of months. And it’s focused on building green infrastructure, modernizing our unemployment insurance laws, getting help to the states that are struggling to do what they need to do. But I think the economy needs stimulus, given what’s happening right now.
A: I proposed a whole series of tax cuts for the middle class; a different trade policy for America; changes in trade deals like NAFTA and CAFTA that have cost America so many jobs. I did come out first and led the way with a universal health care plan. And I’ve proposed very aggressive, substantive policies on predatory lending and payday lending. I was the first, and, I think, the only one who’s proposed a national predatory lending law. So I think there are substantive differences between us. But I would just tack onto that, I think the big difference is on change versus status quo. Because in my mind, Senator Clinton, in many ways, represents the status quo. And Senator Obama and I both represent change, but we have a different view about how to bring about that change.
A: Well, first of all, what we have to do is get rid of the structural deficiencies in the American economy. And we have to create jobs, protect American jobs. We have to strengthen and grow the middle class, which is struggling mightily in this country today. And one of the reasons that we’ve lost jobs, we’re having trouble creating jobs, we’re having trouble growing & strengthening the middle class is because corporate power and greed have literally taken over the government. And we need a president who’s willing to take these powers on. It is the only way we’re going to strengthen & grow the middle class, have universal health care, have a trade policy that actually works for American workers, have a tax policy that’s not favoring big multinational corporations, but instead favors the middle class and working people.
In June 2007, Edwards proposed “setting up a new consumer commission to be called the family Savings and Credit Commission... to deal with all financial services--credit cards, mortgages, car loans, check-cashers, payday loans, investment account, and more. It will ban the most abusive terms and make sure consumers understand the others.“ To many, this will seem an overly roundabout way of regulation, and one that doesn’t get at the high interest rates. But Edwards also more directly pledged to ”pass strong national laws protecting us against the worst abuses in credit markets: predatory mortgages, abusive credit card terms, and payday loans with interest rates of 300% or higher.“
DODD: Yes, but we also need more liquidity in the market. It has seized up. You can’t get a mortgage in America today.
EDWARDS: I agree with that. But we also need a home rescue fund for all the millions of Americans who are worried about losing their homes.
A: We need to balance the need for fiscal responsibility against the need to invest in areas like education and help for working families. I have proposed a series of measures to restore fiscal discipline. We need to roll back the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest and restore a tax code that honors work, not wealth. We need to get rid of billions in corporate subsidies. We need to stop wasteful spending that limits our ability to address real priorities.
|Other candidates on Budget & Economy:||John Edwards on other issues:|
GOP: Sen.John McCain
GOP V.P.: Gov.Sarah Palin
Democrat: Sen.Barack Obama
Dem.V.P.: Sen.Joe Biden
Constitution: Chuck Baldwin
Libertarian: Rep.Bob Barr
Constitution: Amb.Alan Keyes
Liberation: Gloria La Riva
Green: Rep.Cynthia McKinney
Socialist: Brian Moore
Independent: Ralph Nader