Friday, December 12, 2008

Greens' six steps to economic recovery

Greens offer six big steps for economic recovery

Green Party of the United States
http://www.gp.org

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Contacts: Scott McLarty, Media Coordinator, 202-518-5624, cell 202-904-7614,
mclarty@greens.org Starlene Rankin, Media Coordinator, 916-995-3805,
starlene@gp.org

Greens support workers occupying a factory in Chicago after layoff: bailout
money isn't being used to help working Americans

WASHINGTON, DC -- Green Party leaders said today that the incoming Obama
Administration and Congress should take six major steps to reverse the
financial meltdown and restore financial security for Americans.

The steps include a Green public works program, aid for state and muncipal
governments, expansion of mass transit, Single-Payer health care, a peace
dividend gained by ending the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, and an
end to the wasteful war on drugs.

Green Party candidates running for local, state, and national office in 2008
promoted many of these ideas even before the crisis precipitated. In
September, Cynthia McKinney published a ten-point list of solutions and
reforms in response to the Wall Street meltdown, titled "Seize the Time"
(http://votetruth08.com/index.php/learn/mckinney-messages).

Greens expressed support for United Electrical Workers union members
occupying a Republic Windows and Doors plant in Chicago after the plant was
shut down and they were laid off with three days' notice and told they had
no assurance of receiving severance and unused vacation pay. The company's
creditor, Bank of America, received $25 billion from the government's
financial bailout package. Greens said that the bank's actions, including
refusal to allow Republic to give workers 60 days notice (as required by
law), demonstrates how bailout money isn't being used to assist working
Americans facing financial hardship.

Six Green steps for economic recovery:

(1) Enact a massive Green public works program, creating new living-wage
jobs in conservation (including weatherization and energy retro-fitting);
clean and safe energy technologies to replace fossil fuel and nuclear
sources and create a carbon-free economy; repair and improvement of
America's deteriorating infrastructure (especially water and sewer systems);
and improvement of public schools and Green job training programs.

"The collapse of the I-35 bridge in Minneapolis in 2007 was a result of the
neglect and starvation of funds for maintaining infrastructure that was
built decades ago. The ideology of privatization and hostility to 'big
government' is no longer tenable during the financial crisis -- the current
White House and Congress conceded as much when they began pushing for
bailouts. Public works programs built America, and public works, with
hundreds of thousands of new Green jobs, is what America needs now for
economic recovery," said Rosa Clemente, the Green Party's 2008 candidate for
Vice President (http://www.rosaclemente.com).

"We're encouraged that President-elect Obama intends to launch a public
works program along these basic lines, but we hope Congress and his own
administration don't undermine and dilute such a program out of traditional
Democratic and Republican loyalty to corporate interests and fear of being
labeled liberal or socialist. It's time to follow the lead of the Green Jobs
For All movement," Ms. Clemente added.

(2) Bail out financially ailing towns, cities, and states before bailing out
private corporations: millions of public sector and contractor jobs depend
on the fiscal security of municipal and state governments.

Greens noted that municipalities and states are businesses that drive state
and local economies throughout the US. They also provide the social safety
net that millions of working people need during the current crisis.

(3) Jumpstart our country's mass transit system, giving people an
alternative to cars while saving them money and providing jobs.

"Making autos more efficient will only get us part way toward solving our
energy and climate challenges. We need to get people out of their cars
altogether. Communities need the ability to provide local solutions for mass
transprotation: new trains, subways, light rail wherever they fit," said Wes
Rolley, co-chair of the Green Party's EcoAction Committee.

(4) Enact a Single-Payer/Medicare For All national health plan, providing
every American with coverage and removing the burden of health care from
small and large private businesses.

"The skyrocketing cost of health care under our private health care system
has created much of the economic instability as businesses struggle to
provide workers health benefits. If President Obama and Congress have the
political will to resist the power of the insurance, HMO, and pharmaceutical
industries that siphon their profits off America's need for health care, the
relief that Single-Payer will be a huge economic boost," said Sanda
Everette, co-chair of the Green Party of the United States.

Single-Payer would cover all Americans regardless of income, employment,
residence, age, or prior medical condition, allowing choice of health care
provider, and costing working people far less than they now pay for private
coverage. In 2003, the New England Journal of Medicine published an article
estimating that Single-Payer could cut health care costs by $350 billion
annually (http://www.pnhp.org/publications/nejmadmin.pdf). Greens sharply
criticized Barack Obama during the election season for rejecting
Single-Payer out of concern for health insurance companies.

(5) End the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan.

"The staggering expense of the Iraq and Afghanistan invasions and
occupations haven't only cost American, Iraqi, and Afghan lives. It also ate
up trillions of dollars away that could have been spent on human and
environmental needs. If we call home our troops right now, we can divert the
money needed for military occupations to Green public works and other
programs to jumpstart the economy -- a new peace dividend," said Starlene
Rankin, co-chair of the Lavender Green Caucus.

The Green Party opposed both wars from the beginning and has criticized Mr.
Obama's plans for delayed and partial troop withdrawal from Iraq and for
sending more troops to Afghanistan.

(6) End the war on drugs, which wastes billions annually, hasn't curbed drug
use, and ruins lives by incarcerating nonviolent offenders (mostly young,
African American, Latino, and poor white) at further government expense.

"The war on drugs is America's longest and costliest war. With Afghanistan
providing the world's world's biggest poppy crop, it's one of the main
reasons the US is fighting a war there," said Cliff Thornton, co-chair of
the Green Party and co-founder of Efficacy, Inc.
(http://www.efficacy-online.org), which promotes major reforms in drug
policy.

Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron has estimated that legalizing cannabis would
save federal, state, and local governments $44 billion a year in enforcement
costs (http://www.prohibitioncosts.org/mironreport.html). Governments could
collect another $33 billion in revenues by taxing cannabis as heavily as
alcohol and tobacco.

MORE INFORMATION

Green Party of the United States http://www.gp.org
202-319-7191, 866-41GREEN Fax 202-319-7193

http://www.gp.org/press/pr-national.php?ID=152
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