Jill Stein on Budget & Economy
Green Party presidential nominee; Former Challenger for MA Governor
There's really been a bipartisan collusion with the 1%. In the words of Justice Louis Brandeis, "We must make our choice. We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both."
Unfortunately, our country has been concentrating wealth and losing democracy. And now it's reaching its logical conclusions--it's the inevitable final stages of predatory capitalism that's creating an unlivable world. Not only is our economy increasingly unfair, but now we're putting the very future of the planet at stake.
Six million jobs have been created but even more people are still out of work--8 million--who are not counted by the unemployment figures that are designed to essentially cover up unemployment. If part-time employees and discouraged workers, etc., were counted, the unemployemnt rate would be 12% to 13%, not 5.6%.
76% of the jobs that have been created since 2009 are have been part-time or temporary jobs, that pay about half as much as full-time. They're better than no job at all, but they lock people into poverty.
95% of the economic gain went to top 1%. The 1% now have 50% of the world's wealth. We are in a state of emergency; we are not in a state of recovery.
STEIN: It was misdirected. It was mostly tax breaks for the wealthy. It made a slight dent in the crisis but it didn't fix it. We would pass a real stimulus package called the Green New Deal. Instead of passing tax breaks for corporations, which is what the 2009 stimulus package did, we would create jobs directly. It will put everyone back to work and will also green the economy which would green our energy and food supply and provide public transportation. It will be the same size as the 2009 stimulus but instead of tax breaks for corporations it would create jobs.
ROMNEY: When you came to office, just over $10 trillion in debt--now $16 trillion in debt. It hasn't worked.
STEIN: Let's look at where that money is going. We are spending trillions every year not only on the bloated military budget, but on the wars for oil as part of that, as well as the bailouts for Wall Street and tax breaks for the very wealthy. And unfortunately, we don't see either of these candidates really changing any of those really serious problems. Right now, the Federal Reserve is again bailing out Wall Street, effectively for the fourth time. This is the third quantitative easing on top of the TARP program, which was $700 billion. But that $700 billion under George Bush has become many, many trillions under Barack Obama. So these bailouts continue, and now we're doing a quantitative easing to the tune of $40 billion every month.
STEIN: We still very much still have a crisis in our economy. One out of two Americans are in poverty or heading towards poverty. About 25 million people are either jobless or working in jobs that do not pay living wages. There are 8 million people who've lost their homes. There is no end in sight to the foreclosure crisis. And we have an entire generation of students who are effectively indentured servants, trapped in unforgiving loans and do not have the jobs to pay them back with unemployment and underemployment rate of about 50% among our young people. So, we very much need new solutions. What we hear from both Obama and Romney are essentially a rehash: more about deregulating business & Wall Street. We are calling for a Green New Deal modeled after the New Deal that actually got us out of the Great Depression. They created approximately 4 million jobs in as little as two months.
A: Yes, but it was not big enough.
Q: Should the federal government subsidize U.S. farmers?
A: Yes, but include small and organic farmers.
Q: Should Congress raise the debt ceiling?
A: No, raise taxes on the rich and cut spending to offset the debt.
Q: Should the U.S. have bailed out the major banks during the financial crisis of 2008?
A: Yes, but only on the condition that top management be fired without compensation.
A. We are in crisis and people are losing their jobs and their homes and their health care and affordable higher education and civil liberties. You name it, they are losing it. We have got a 1 percent that's rolling in dough as much as ever and the political establishment is not fixing it. The establishment got us into this mess, in both parties. And that's clear as day.
A: I've been fighting as a third party candidate for ten years. I stepped up to the plate for this election, basically, because it is a perfect storm for really organizing a political alternative, a politics of integrity that our lives depend on--and more and more people are seeing that. Specifically, it was the debt ceiling debacle last spring when President Obama put Social Security and Medicare on the table: it really felt like, "How could we not put an opposition voice up against this? This is outrageous! Between the Keystone XL Pipeline debacle, the ozone regulation roll-back; expanding war--multiple wars, drones and drone surrogate wars-- our "pull out of Iraq"; only to establish a new base in Kuwait, that we now have a new front in the war for oil in Central Africa; and the tripling of the troop presence in Afghanistan, it just felt like "How can we not have a voice of opposition here? This is nuts!"
Last year, one million Americans lost their health insurance, raising the numbers of the uninsured to almost 50 million of our people. Over 6 million Americans have lost their homes to foreclosure.
Overall, nearly 25 million Americans are unemployed or unable to find full time work. And even those who have jobs are struggling, because wages have been declining for American workers, and are now lower on average than in 1996. Household income has fallen faster since the official end of the recession than during the recession itself, because the so-called "recovery" is made up of mostly low paying jobs.
This is bad for people, bad for the economy, and completely unnecessary. When they say there's not enough money, they mean there's not enough money for YOU. Instead of austerity, we can end the Wall Street bailouts, cut the bloated military and tax the bloated rich.
These austerity cuts mean that Americans are losing jobs. The result of these austerity cuts is layoffs for teachers, nurses, child and eldercare workers, firefighters, janitors, bus drivers and all the people who keep our communities educated, healthy, and moving forward. Worse, these austerity cuts are hurting the people who receive those services. Students, the disabled, the elderly, the ill, the unemployed, the hungry--these are the Americans who are suffering.
A: Our real solution to the deficit is to end the Bush-Obama recession. Reductions in spending provide enormous savings, which may very well overwhelm the need for adjustments in the tax code. Those adjustments do need to be made, including asking the wealthiest to contribute their share, and giving breaks to the middle class and the poor, who are paying way too much. We defend social programs--we cut boondoggles (like healthcare waste) and dangerous military spending, Will the cuts exceed the need to increase taxes? The back of the envelope says that they should.
A: We advocate both, obviously. But the reductions in spending should be focused properly--not on cutting social programs--but instead on downsizing the military, bringing the troops home, and moving to a prevention-based health care system. Those provide enormous savings and reductions, which may very well overwhelm the need for adjustments in the tax code. We defend social programs.
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