Ralph Nader on Budget & Economy

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]:
  1. I’d rebuild public works - all those things underground. Mass transit andpublic transit should be built in city after city.
  2. I’d do more to abolish child poverty.
  3. 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

    Source: Green Party Announcement Speech Feb 21, 2000

    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

    Other candidates on Budget & Economy: Ralph Nader on other issues:
    George W. Bush
    Dick Cheney
    Al Gore
    Bill Clinton
    Jesse Ventura
    Ross Perot
    Ralph Nader
    Pat Buchanan
    John McCain
    Civil Rights
    Foreign Policy
    Free Trade
    Govt. Reform
    Gun Control
    Health Care
    School Choice
    Social Security
    Tax Reform
    War & Peace