July 13, 2012

Green Party’s Stein up against Romney again – and Obama too

Print More
Dr. Jill Stein

Dr. Jill Stein

By Len Lazarick
Len@MarylandReporter.com

Dr. Jill Stein is facing a rematch with Mitt Romney when the Green Party’s national convention nominates her for president at a Baltimore hotel Saturday.

The physician ran against Romney for governor of Massachusetts 10 years ago “in desperation” and “with low expectations,” she said in an interview Thursday.

“I had no interest in the political system,” Stein said, but she realized the cure to all the social, economic and health ills she saw was political. “I’m now practicing political medicine; it’s the mother of all illnesses.”

“We’ve got to fix this one if we’re going to fix all those things that ail us,” Stein said. “The public supports a whole lot of solutions, but there’s a terrible disconnect with our political system.”

Stayed away from national politics

Stein, 62, a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Medical School, said her focus had been working on the local and state level. She ran for several state and town offices, including another race for governor in 2010, but she had been “fairly disengaged from the national level” when she came to realize that that’s where the action needed to be. She was looking for someone else to be the Green Party nominee when she was persuaded to run herself.

“The last straw was when I heard President Obama put Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid on the chopping block as part of his solution to the debt ceiling crisis,” Stein said. From his handling of the economy to health care based in insurance companies and the continuation of the wars he pledged to stop, Stein is no more a fan of Obama than she is of Romney.

People, Peace and Planet

As Stein defines it, the 10-year-old Green Party is about “People, Peace and the Planet” and she would add Democracy.

Jill Stein for president signIn February, she announced her “Green New Deal,”  The platform features an Economic Bill of Rights that includes a full employment program “ensuring a job at a living wage for every American willing and able to work,” nationally funded but locally controlled. The Bill of Rights also includes a Medicare for All plan, with comprehensive care and no fees for delivery – Stein’s version of a single-payer system like Canada’s.

What we have now “should be called a sick care system; it’s not a health care system,” Stein said. She noted that 75% of health care dollars are spent on chronic diseases “which are preventable at only a small percentage of the cost.”

Her program also includes tuition-free public education through college, affordable housing with a stop to foreclosures, and fairer taxation.

Stein’s second priority is a “Green Transition Program that will convert the old, gray economy into the new green economy.” And she advocates “real financial reform, beginning by breaking up the big banks and retaking our monetary policy from the Federal Reserve Banks.”

Finally she wants a revival of a “real, functioning democracy,” that includes election reforms such as same-day registration, public financing and direct election of the president.

How do you pay for it?

Some of this sounds like proposals many people might support, but how do you pay for it?

Simple, Stein said: Stop the wars, the Wall Street bailouts, the tax breaks for the wealthy and the health care boondoggles.

Stein would cut one-third to one-half of the military budget, apply “a really tiny tax “– .03% — to every Wall Street transaction, “get the extremely wealthy to pay their fair share,” and eliminate the insurance companies administrative costs, which come to about 30% of the health care dollars.

“When you add them up, that’s a huge amount of money,” Stein said.

This all sounds pretty-pie in the sky for a minor third party that must struggle to get on the ballot in many states. Currently, Stein’s name will be on the November ballot in 20 states, with petitions being circulated in 19 others, including Maryland.

Hope is not a good strategy

“You don’t get there unless you start,” Stein said. “Hope is not a good political strategy. What we’ve learned is that the politics of fear has delivered all these things we were told to be afraid of ” — wars, erosion of civil liberties, jobs going overseas, declining wages.

In American history, she said many successful social movements – such as the abolitionists, suffragettes and unions – were associated with independent third parties that helped implement the cause.

“We are at a moment of incredible social upheaval,” Stein said. “We are in a very dangerous place right now” with the economy, jobs and the banking connections to Europe.

“I’m not a professional politician,” she said. “I almost see myself as a political therapist. How do we develop our relationship to our politics that works for us?”

“People are hungry for a real democracy that serves us … for an economy which is equitable. People want a solution that works.

“There’s a win-win here and it pays for itself, but we have to take back our democracy to make it happen,” Stein said. “Our campaign here is to take a breaking point and make it a tipping point.”

  • rade9701

    Good article. If you’re interested hearing more from the candidates, Democracy Now! had them on their show today, broadcasting from the Green Party convention. http://www.democracynow.org

  • Bill Simmons

    Like most socialists she “forget” or is just not aware of the basics. First , all people do NOT have the same work ethic. When you remove all incentives the “work” just stops and nobody has anything.  ie: Soviet Russia , Cuba and North Korea. Second, just issuing a “health card” does not create more doctors and some will just retire and most will “retire on the job”. and if you eliminate the insurance companies someone will have to do the administrative work. ie: unionized highly paid bureacrats such as the DMV and Socia Security (which is bankrupt.) Net result is Socialism does NOT work. Lets get real and elect a capitalist.  Note: I live in Baltimore and will be happy to debate or discuss this with Ms. Stein while she is here.  Bill S.

  • Ksteve8

    Whatever Dr. Stein’s economic philosophy, I’d much rather have a president who cares about those in need than some pure capitalist who is only concerned with getting rich or richer.  There are people out there in society who do need help.  Should we just let them starve or go without whatever medical treatment they need.  The best thing I liked about my few years in the military was that we were covered by socialist health care.  It’s not like doctors will starve if we go to that kind of health care in the rest of society.  And they won’t all quit en masse.
    My problem with Dr. Stein and Greens in general is they tend to be politically naive.  Like Nader, they can’t win, but will definitely take votes from the most progressive of the only two candidates who can win for an office where there is only room for one winner.  They don’t seem to realize that, by running, they are making attainment of their goals less likely rather than more likely.

  • Hungrypirana

    Dr. Stein and her running mate Cheri Honkala are either on the ballot or petitioning to get on the ballot in all of this election’s contested states, including VIrginia, Florida, Ohio, Wisconsin, etc.

    If there’s such a thing as dangerous fruitcakes, they are that. And I trust they will appeal to many democrats in the states that matter.