CAMPAIGN 2004: WHERE THEY STAND
How To Reverse the
and Restore the Economy
The following is Part 5 in a series of documentary comparisons of the views of the 2004 Democratic Presidential contenders. The topics are those raised by Lyndon LaRouche's candidacy since Jan. 1, 2001, and therefore we place him first. The other candidates are listed in the order of the number of their itemized campaign contributions. (LaRouche is number two by this count.) Part 1, in EIR Dec. 12, 2003, dealt with the Iraq War and the Cheney neo-conservative coup; Part 2, in EIR Dec. 26, 2003, was on economic policy; Part 3, in EIR Jan. 16, 2004, was on military policy; and Part 4, in EIR Jan. 30, 2004, surveyed the candidates on the threat of police-state and emergency rule in the United States. Part 6, in EIR Feb. 13, 2004, is on the Middle East crisis.
Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr.
1. The U.S. Infrastructure Breakdown
For decades, LaRouche has written and commissioned long-term recovery plans for many nations, whose key was great projects of modern economic infrastructure. He has called the failure to replace modern infrastructure the core of the long-term decline of the American productive economy.
"We must shift from the Wal-Mart to reality. Reality means infrastructure building as the leading edge of a revival of durable foods production"—from a Nov. 9, 2002 press release, "LaRouche Demands Super-TVA; Pushes Emergency Infrastructure Jobs."
On Aug. 18, 2002, at a speech to youth in San Pedro, California, LaRouche reviewed the decrepit state of U.S. infrastructure—shown in the Amtrak crisis—and announced a national emergency infrastructure-building drive, beginning with re-regulating and saving the national rail and air systems, and intervening throughout the crumbling U.S. infrastructure base. On Aug. 23, his policy document, "Science and Infrastructure," was issued, calling on citizens to demand that the President act, "in an FDR fashion"; followed in September 2002 by a national pre-election campaign pamphlet with a sector-by-sector survey and mapping of the infrastructure crisis: LaRouche's 'November Program' To Rebuild the Economy.
In the pamphlet, first released Sept. 30, 2002, LaRouche stressed, "First of all, we are losing our rail system, the last vestige of it. We are also in the process of crippling, and virtually destroying, our air-traffic system.... We must end deregulation of power.... We have crises in water and land management.... In addition to that, we have soft infrastructure. Public health: We have destroyed public health since 1973, the HMO. We no longer have a public health system. We are now faced with the increment of diseases, caused by economic conditions, caused by other conditions. We are not equipped for disease, epidemic disease.... Education: Today, in universities, the price of tuition is in inverse proportion to the value of the education delivered. This is a scandal."
2. Emergency Economic Infrastructure Proposals
In a speech to a California town meeting Dec. 7, 2002, LaRouche proposed creation of a Federal Super TVA with authority to issue up to $6 trillion in credits over this decade—a vastly greater program than any other candidate has proposed—directly for national infrastructure reconstruction and to states and their regulated public corporations which build and operate infrastructure.
Note that the American Civil Engineers Society, whose annual "U.S. infrastructure report card" is referred to by several candidates, makes a relatively conservative assessment of the nation's "infrastructure repair bill"—i.e., not new great projects—and sets that repair bill at $1.6 trillion in its latest report.
"What has to happen are two sets of legislation," LaRouche said. "First of all, As I've proposed, a national infrastructure program, which I've sometimes called a 'Super-TVA,' to remind people of the TVA development under Franklin Roosevelt. We need that. We need that on the Federal level and the state level. We must save our rail system, we must protect our air-traffic system from collapse—which is now in progress. We must protest our water-management system, keep those in place, and so forth; as well as our energy generating and distributing systems. And also our healthcare systems, and our educational systems, and so forth. These things must be fixed. We're disintegrating as a nation. We can't have this continue."
Repeal Deregulation Laws: "This means that the Federal government must create legislative authority, with the Executive and the Presidency, and the Congress, to repeal—temporarily at least—all of those changes in law, which were made over the past 35 years, approximately, changes in law which took us away from a fixed-exchange-rate international monetary system, to a floating-exchange-rate system; away from a protectionist policy to a free-trade policy; and into massive deregulation. So, all the legislation, which would mandate deregulation, cessation of construction of essential infrastructure, and so forth, these things must be wiped from the books, at least for the duration of the emergency. Under that authority, and by putting the banking system into bankruptcy reorganization—the financial system into bankruptcy reorganization—and using Federal credit to generate growth, as Roosevelt did, then we can come out of this quite well."
In his Aug. 23, 2002 "Science and Infrastructure," LaRouche called for across-the-board action on the infrastructure crisis: "The most urgent of the immediate, specifically physical-economic U.S. reforms required by this crisis, involves immediate adoption of policies for rebuilding the U.S.A.'s basic economic infrastructure. Sweeping measures for rebuilding the systems of power generation and distribution, water management, land reclamation, healthcare, and education, must be fully under way during the 2003-2004 interval."
Transportation: On Feb. 24, 2003, LaRouche stressed to the Legislative Black Caucus of the Arkansas State Legislature, "Our present rail transport system is disintegrating. The Amtrak system is about to collapse, unless Federal action is taken. Our air transport system is in crisis." Whereas, as LaRouche wrote in the November 2002 Emergency Program To Rebuild the Economy, "General transportation, by sea, ports, inland waterways, rail and also public highway systems, typifies the government's unique responsibility and authority for creation, maintenance, and direction of basic economic infrastructure." The pamphlet circulated detailed proposals and maps of LaRouche's program for the Amtrak routes and the national rail system, including extending the system north and south in North America, and introducing magnetic-levitation high-speed rail. It outlines re-instituting regulation of the airlines, rail, trucking, and water haulage.
On Nov. 18, 2003, LaRouche told a St. Louis town meeting, "What you have to do is, you create a fund, a 25- or 50-year plan, which you call the Railway, or Magnetic Levitation, or Transport Reconstruction Fund, like the Tennessee Valley operation under Franklin Roosevelt. And, we would take the United States, which has been deprived of efficient mass transit, and we would develop a magnetic levitation system not only for passengers, but for freight.... This means a long-term investment of 50 years, essentially, in developing a new mass-transit system for the United States, for freight, and for passengers.... Can we get the credit? Why not? The government can guarantee it. We guarantee the credit, on a 25- to 50-year basis: We build the system, the way it was done from experience in the past.
In September 2003, the LaRouche campaign issued a 40-page report, The Sovereign States of the Americas—LaRouche's Program for Continental Development, on the needed new transportation corridors for the Western Hemisphere as a whole: giving detailed maps, and LaRouche's discussion of the "Great American Desert" development plan, the transportation projects needed throughout the Hemisphere, and other infrastructure priorities.
Energy: LaRouche has repeatedly called for restoring traditional regulation of utilities and other economic functions, and vastly upgrading power generation and distribution. At the time of the California power crisis in early 2001, under the new Cheney Energy Taskforce, LaRouche proposed electricity re-regulation, and on Feb. 3, 2001, a "National Energy Management Reconstruction Act," to deal with the California crisis and national electricity insecurity. His campaign release said that the required action must be, "An echo of the RFC-TVA outlook as a national energy-grid-recovery act, combining Federal with Federally-assisted state action, for meeting the requirements of an overlapping set of two-, three-, five-, and ten-year goals of power-generation and distribution renewal and expansion, to correct the negligence of the recent quarter century respecting systems of both generation and distribution of power; and also to meet certain associated environmental goals."
Nuclear: LaRouche stresses the need for "fourth generation" nuclear power generation, with its high energy flux density and safety features. In 1974, he was an initiating founder of the Fusion Energy Foundation, committed to further research and public education in all nuclear sciences and technologies.
Water, Land Management: In his November 2002 report, "Science and Infrastructure," LaRouche discussed how, "General land-maintenance, development and management of water resources, related functions of public sanitation, the general production and distribution of power, are also typical subjects of the inalienable responsibility of government to promote, protect, and regulate for the benefit of the general welfare."
LaRouche backs the North American Water and Power Alliance continental project—designed in the 1960s but never constructed—to divert significant amounts of water, now flowing into the Arctic, southward for Canada, the United States, and northern Mexico.
Health Care: LaRouche campaigns to restore the post-World War II Hill-Burton Act, a policy of ensuring an adequate hospital-infrastructure base to provide care for all, based on modern standards of science. He completely opposes the post-1974 HMO/managed-care practices. In 2001, LaRouche made an international issue over the fight to stop the shut-down of D.C. General Hospital in Washington; and his campaign pointed out the disastrous process of takedown of community medical facilities, and also Veterans Administration and military base hospitals across the nation.
On Nov. 14, 2001, at a briefing on Capitol Hill convened by Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), "Public Hospitals in Crisis," associates of LaRouche presented his views. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), referring to LaRouche's months-long campaign to save D.C. General, which she and other Congressmen had ignored, said, "I apologize, because you were right. It is a national issue."
On Oct. 22, 2003, in an advance statement prepared for an international webcast in Washington, D.C., LaRouche wrote, "Unless the presently incumbent President were to take these actions before I am authorized to do so, during the first hours I am in office I shall take the following measures of executive action to address these issues.
"I. Restore D.C. General Hospital. First, to let the nation and world know I mean business on the issue of health care, I shall act not only to restore the D.C. General Hospital to a full-service public general hospital, but set into motion steps to make that hospital a leading edge of our improved national security and health-security capabilities, and a leading national hospital-institution of its type in the world.
"II. Restore Hill-Burton. Second, in that same hour, I shall send a draft bill of about five to seven pages length to the U.S. Congress, restoring the Hill-Burton Law as national policy, and repealing President Richard M. Nixon's HMO law...."
Education: LaRouche includes improving education as a core part of his national infrastructure policy, and is personally actively engaged in teaching in a series of cadre schools for youth both in the United States and internationally. He is engaged internationally on this subject, for example, speaking at a symposium in Moscow at the Russian Academy of Continuing Education for Teachers, on Dec. 14, 2001.
The Special Report, LaRouche's Emergency Infrastructure Program for the United States, contains a full treatment of the principles of discovery, and commitment to truth. "The human potential is expressed in the millennia-long span of an increase from a few millions, to present billions.... This point defines the axiomatic quality of difference between a competent form of general education, known historically by such names as 'Classical humanist education,' and the monstrously corrupt forms of education prevalent in U.S. practice and doctrine, including that of universities, today. The need for our return to the conception of a Classical mode of humanist education, corresponds to an indispensable element of the improved economic infrastructure which must be built into the U.S.A.'s public life."
Space Program: LaRouche has, for decades, backed a full commitment to a space program, both on its merits for exploration, and as a science-driver for the economy as a whole. Among many other outlines, his 40-Year Moon-Mars Colonization Mission, published in 1985, stands out.
On Jan. 10, 2004, at a Washington, D.C. campaign webcast, LaRouche said, "What happens in space exploration? We are looking out to the universe! To do what? To discover new physical principles. Universal principles, which, once discovered, will be applicable to our life on Earth. And that's exactly what the Kennedy space program demonstrated. If you look out, at the challenge of exploring space, you're forcing yourself to see problems and opportunities, which show you principles you otherwise would not discover."
LaRouche stresses the need for in-depth mobilization: "Let's take where Bush missed the point, where the [current] space program now misses the point. Mars-Moon exploration: Von Braun, back in the 1950s, said that if we're going to send someone to Mars in the future, we would never send one ship.... Columbus had three ships when he crossed the Atlantic.... There is tremendous risk; you don't know what to expect. Therefore, what you do, is you have to carry a logistical capability, for adapting to problems—first, beforehand: We need a more powerful form of flight. We need a higher order of power. We need at least nuclear propulsion. [Going into space] will give us new technologies, for example, for developing the Sahara Desert; for managing this planet....
"So what Kennedy had in mind, or what he proposed, was not some joy-ride into space.... A space program would function as a science-driver, to give us the new technologies, the new principles, to increase the productive powers of man on Earth."
3. Global Infrastructure
LaRouche's Aug. 23, 2002 "Science and Infrastructure" contains a section on global infrastructure, noting, "The U.S. system of infrastructure must be assessed as dovetailing with a now emerging global system of multi-continental economic-development corridors. In the case of one of these corridor-networks, the Eurasian Land-Bridge linking Pusan and Japan to Rotterdam, the included mission is to transform corridors running through large regions of Central and North Asia, into regions of development through which efficient access to the development of mineral and other resources becomes economically feasible. Thus, the transport of technology, from 'fountains' of technological progress throughout Eurasia, to regions of Asia which have presently a large deficit in such capacity, defines the principal lines of future world trade throughout the interior of Eurasia as a whole.
"In North America, the need for a nationwide water-management program, such as an expanded North American Power and Water Alliance, implies a unified rail-water grid-system reaching, through cooperation among sovereign states, into Mexico and Canada. Domestic infrastructure policy and related elements of foreign policy must now be seen as of greater importance to us than past practices imply.
"The Eurasian Land-Bridge system is to be linked with systems of the Americas through a rail/maglev link across the region of the Bering Strait.
"The North American rail-water grid is to be extended through Central and South America. Within South America, the combination of wide-scale rail/maglev and water management systems, have an outstanding included importance, in doing for inland South America what the Eurasian Land-Bridge makes possible for Central and North Asia.
"The Southernmost tier of the Eurasian Land-Bridge system enters Africa at Egypt, through a great railway bridge soaring above, and spanning the Suez Canal.
"Within such a global grid of development corridors, the nations enter into a new phase of history, in which cooperation in effectively managing the Biosphere becomes as feasible as it is indispensable."
On Nov 3-9, 2002, LaRouche visited Monterrey and Coahuila, Mexico, speaking out on the necessity for infrastructure projects for the security of both Mexico and the United States. He announced the goal of developing the "Great American Desert" with water-management and transportation-corridor projects, through committing the United States to a "Super-TVA" policy.
1. The U.S. Infrastructure Breakdown
Dean refers to "failing infrastructure," and lists as his areas of concern, schools and water systems. Dean says his Fund to Restore America is intended to add more than a million new jobs to the U.S. economy.
2. Emergency Economic Infrastructure Proposals
Dean does not propose any systematic improvements of "hard"—infrastructure—energy generation, transportation, water, and land use infrastructure; he believes the shrinkage of the American agricultural sector is permanent. He instead puts forward plans for biotechnologies, information technologies, nanotechnologies, broadband communications for rural areas, and so on.
Dean's campaign pamphlet, Common Sense, indicated that current investment in hard infrastructure is passé, and advanced info-tech is the goal: "Progress: Today, technologies exist that can form the foundation of our economy for the next century. We should invest aggressively in them, just as when our nation invested in railroads, rural electrification, and in public highways."
Fund to Restore America: This is a proposal for a two year, $100 billion program, "designed to add more than one million new jobs to the economy." It calls for the Federal government to grant the money to states and localities to spend. No Federal projects are included of any scale; instead, the idea is that local decisions—even concerning such projects as rail—would put money to programs to "create jobs, rebuild infrastructure." Among the purposes stated, is "to build new, or to renovate and repair, failing infrastructure, including: schools, roads, rail, water systems, wastewater treatment systems, electrical systems, and telecommunications systems."
On May 17, 2003, at the AFSCME union debate in Iowa, Dean said, "I do want to invest in infrastructure. I want to build schools. The worst 10% of our schools need Federal help to be reconstructed. I want to rebuild our infrastructure and transportation. I want to put broadband in rural economies, so we can have a rural economy again. We're not going to get those agriculture jobs back. We need jobs, and this President, with his supply-side economics is going to shift all of our jobs someplace else in this world; and we need them here in America."
Energy: On Oct. 21, 2003, in Iowa, Dean announced a "Renewable Energy Program." He said, "It's time we start investing in those resources we have right here and stop relying on foreign oil and fossil fuels. Iowa is one of the best states in the nation to produce wind energy and biofuels. Wind farms, ethanol plants, and other sources of renewable energy create jobs in communities."
The Space Program: On Nov. 23, 2003, in a Q&A with the Concord Monitor/WashingtonPost.com on line, Dean said, "I am a strong supporter of NASA and every government program that furthers scientific research. I don't think we should close the shuttle program but I do believe that we should aggressively begin a program to have manned flights to Mars. This, of course, assumes that we can change Presidents so we can have a balanced budget again."
Health Care: In the November 2003 Democratic primary debate in Tennessee, Dean waved a stethoscope in the air to assert authority as a physician. He cites his governorship in Vermont as a model for extending medical coverage. In the Sept. 4, 2003, Albuquerque, New Mexico Democratic primary debate, Dean answered the question, how would you insure 41 million uninsured Americans?: "I implemented a workable plan in Vermont. Every child under 18; 99% eligible, 96% have it. Everybody under 150% of poverty had health insurance in my state. Every senior under 225% of poverty gets prescription help. Now, if we can do that in a small rural state and balance the budget, surely the U.S. can join every other industrial country in the world [which all have] health insurance."
Actually, a survey taken (by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, in 1993), showed that 93.2% of Vermont children already had medical insurance before Dean assumed the governorship there, because of his predecessor's programs; secondly, a 2.6% increase in people insured over the 1990s in Vermont, was due to more people working, according to the Vermont Department of Data Analysis.
Dean's other major point is cost-effectiveness in health care, by not providing so much care, especially to the elderly. On Jan. 19, 2004 in Iowa, he said that there is too much end-of-life "intervention" by today's medical system, and that stopping this will dramatically reduce the cost of health care.
On May 3, 2003, in the Democratic Party debate in Columbia, South Carolina, Dean summarized his healthcare plan, saying that his program would "cost less than half of the Bush tax cut. First, everybody under 25 gets Medicaid if they want it. It worked well for us in our state. It's not expensive. Second, prescription benefits for every senior.... Third, between 25 and 65, subsidize small businesses, don't give the tax credits to the big corporations, subsidize individuals who need help buying health insurance, and then help individuals who work for companies that don't do it. The cost is half of the Bush tax cut."
In its Nov. 30, 2002, "On the Issues" section, the Dean website gives details for these proposals, in what it calls "three-tiered coverage—state, Federal, and private." For example, "States should be required to guarantee coverage for all children under age 23...."
Dean does not acknowledge the states' economic crises, and massive cuts in Medicaid now under way. He does not address the shrinking ratios of hospital beds per 1000 persons, declining number of emergency facilities, shutdown of hospitals, and other aspects of the contraction of medical care delivery, and public health services.
In an interview with Medscape, by Christopher Gearon, Dean called himself "a fan of HMOs," praising them for "not having hassles over billing payments, since you have capitated payments [set fees per capita] up front.... I think it's very important to have gatekeepers. Too many people can go to their specialists in fee for service, when a specialist is not appropriate.... [Managed care] does definitely decrease use of the emergency room." And, he says, it "has, in fact, begun to squeeze out some of the waste in the healthcare system," and "begun the process in the medical community to begin questioning some of the prescribing and practice habits that drive costs up."
Dean says that the means for providing more healthcare coverage could include, for example, having the IRS assign some kind of health insurance to uninsured taxpayers. He would allow persons aged 55-64 to join Medicare, according to AARP in January 2004. AARP estimates $932 billion over 10 years as the price tag for Dean's proposals.
3. Global Infrastructure: Dean does not discuss joint infrastructure development with other nations.
1. The U.S. Infrastructure Breakdown
Kerry does not publicly recognize an overall decline or crisis in the infrastructure base of the country—water, power, transportation, etc. He does make reference to infrastructure problems such as the "transportation challenge" in rural areas; or "sewer overflow" into the rivers; etc. Kerry regards the 1990s—the Clinton years of economic policy—as positive for infrastructure, despite the crises of Amtrak, airline bankruptcies, and steady deterioration of national infrastructure noted by the Civil Engineers Society of America in its annual "report cards" during that period.
On Dec. 12, 2003, speaking in Cleveland, in the midst of sweeping cuts in city functions in response to the budget crisis, Kerry stated that investment in infrastructure "is long overdue"—the formulation is repeated in his "First 500 Days" statement on his website.
On Dec. 8, 2003, in remarks prepared for a speech at Stanford University, Kerry commented on the decline in education of the workforce. "A decade ago, the United States led the world in the percentage of 24-year-olds who had earned a degree in natural sciences or engineering. Today, the United Kingdom, South Korea, Canada, and Japan have a greater percentage than the United States. There are more information technology engineers in Bangalore than in Silicon Valley."
2. Emergency Economic Infrastructure Proposals
In Kerry's Dec. 12, 2003 Cleveland speech, he gave a series of proposals under the heading, "Plan to Revive Economic Growth in the Short Term" in which he stated of infrastructure, "You know, one thing I learned in the military—and John Glenn will know it well—whether on a ship, a small boat, or flying an airplane as John did—you live and die for your preventative maintenance and equipment investment. The same is try for bridges, rail, highways, buildings, and water and sewer systems. Ask Jane Campbell or Jack Ford—ask any mayor of a city or any small town in rural America—and they will tell you that long overdue in this country is an investment in our infrastructure—especially transportation.
"It's how you create jobs. It's how you move products. It's how you make our cities work. And it's how you help people spend time with their families instead of in traffic jams."
On July 30, 2003, in the "First 500 Days of His Presidency," campaign statement posted on Kerry's website, this section is included among the list of 10 areas outlined: "Kerry also believes that improvements in infrastructure are long overdue. It's how you create jobs. It's how you move products."
Transportation: The July 30, 2003 "First 500 Days" statement continues: "This includes building high-speed rail where it makes sense; which can create jobs, reduce traffic, and help people and products get where they need to go." On Dec. 12, 2003, he stated, "And I believe it's past time we used our ingenuity ... our incredible creativity to fundamentally improve our transportation system by embarking on an extensive commitment to build high-speed rail where it makes sense, and alternatives where it does not. Why should we lag behind France, Germany, and Japan? We can create jobs, reduce traffic and help people and products get where they need to go."
But Kerry's "Plan to Fight for America's Economic Future," Aug. 28, 2003, makes no recommendations for this or other infrastructure sectors, except high-tech communications and broadband. Nor is there a listing for either infrastructure or rail, in Kerry's 26 "On the Issues" look-up list. Under Agriculture on that look-up list, it says, "John Kerry understands that revitalizing communities requires capital, infrastructure, and technology.... He has supported rural transportation initiatives that would expand Amtrak's service to more of America's rural cities and towns. Kerry has also consistently supported the Essential Air Program, which ensures that rural airports maintain an adequate level of service. And John Kerry has a plan to replace the nearly 3 million jobs lost during the Bush Administration."
Water: The Kerry campaign does not address the deterioration in the nation's water system—supply shortages, aged distribution lines and treatment facilities, etc.; but focuses on the issues of pollution and environment.
On Nov. 12, 2003, a campaign press release was issued, "John Kerry Calls for Comprehensive Plan to Restore America's Air and Waters." It calls for the creation of a new Environmental Enforcement Commission, to "stand up to special interests," that want to use "our common ground as our dumping ground." Among the many points provided, are proposals to restore wetlands, restore water systems ("natural" filtration), protect rivers (control stormwater run-off and sewer overflows), and "invest in America's riverfronts, lakefronts." The last point states, "He will work with communities and interested stakeholders as they turn their attention back to their waterfronts as a focus of urban rebirth and economic growth, in tandem with environmental improvement."
Energy: Kerry campaign statements offer no overview of the energy crisis, in terms of fundamentals—falling per-capita generation capability, rising costs, need for re-regulation, etc.
In Kerry's "100 Days To Change America"—his "Real Deal"—point four of ten summarizes his energy view, in tandem with an environmental proposal: "We will roll back the George W. Bush assault on clean air and clean water and work to strengthen our nation's environmental laws. Kerry will also put forward a plan to make the U.S. energy-independent of Middle East oil in ten years—and create 500,000 jobs by investing in energy-renewable sources, such as ethanol, solar, and wind."
In his June 16, 2003 statement, "Energy Security Is American Security," he states: "While we may not all recognize it, America has made exactly the sort of energy transition I am calling for, more than once before. For much of the 1800s, our primary source of energy was wood. By the late 1800s coal was king and oil accounted for only 3 percent of our energy.... By the end of World War II, oil was the nation's dominant energy course. Natural gas, once burned off as waste, was added to the energy mix in the '40s. Nuclear power came on line in the '50s. And today we are fueled by a mix of oil, gas, coal, nuclear, and hydroelectric power. It has been our history to evolve from one fuel source to another gradually and economically. Now we need to prepare our nation for the 21st Century and begin a gradual economic transition to domestic, clean, and reliable energy technologies," listed elsewhere as wind, bio-fuels, ethanol, hydrogen cells, etc.
In his Aug. 28, 2003 statement, "Plan to Fight for America's Economic Future," Kerry said there should be investment in projects like building the Alaska National Pipeline, "to carry the vast gas reserves of Alaska to the Midwest." The pipeline project, one product of Vice President Cheney's energy task force, was recently announced.
Education: Kerry does not address the content, nor the physical plant and equipment of the education and science sector. Among what he does address, is to "make college more affordable" by creating a new College Opportunity Tax Credit. He would pay tuition outright for students who give two years of Service for College, through work in communities or other civic tasks he calls "national service."
Health Care: Kerry does not address deficiencies in ratios of beds, diagnostics, staff, public health services, and other aspects of the healthcare and public health systems of the nation, but, rather focuses on making health care more "accessible," and on monitoring that HMOs and other plans are meeting "quality" standards.
On May 31, 2002, Kerry told the Democratic Convention of Massachusetts, "We must end the disgrace of America being the only industrialized nation on the planet not to make health care accessible to all our citizens."
Kerry's "On the Issues" section of his website, lists 12 "Priorities" (each discussed at more length). The summary of his detailed health plan states: "John Kerry's healthcare plan holds down costs, while offering access to affordable coverage for every American. The Kerry Plan will cover nearly 27 million uninsured Americans and will ensure that nearly 96% of adults, and 99% of children have proper health insurance." Kerry would allow people aged 55-64 to join a new, proposed Federal program, at subsidized rates. On Medicare, "In his first 100 days as President, Kerry will propose a bill that keeps Medicare strong, instead of privatizing it, and allows seniors to choose their doctor, instead of forcing them into HMOs."
He also states that he "is the author of the most comprehensive HIV/AIDS bill ever to pass the Senate."
Kerry's 12 listed healthcare "Priorities":
- Give every American access to the same healthcare plan as Members of Congress;
- Guaranteed health care for every child;
- Support medical research, and assure all Americans benefit from more effective treatment;
- Make care more affordable;
- Protect Medicare;
- Use "a new approach" to control spiralling healthcare costs;
- Make prescriptions affordable for all;
- Assure fairness to people with mental health needs;
- Make malpractice insurance more affordable;
- Enforce a strong Patients Bill of Rights;
- Protect the Right to Choose;
- Protect women's health.
Space Program: Kerry states support for the space program, but had no comment on the Mars landing. On Dec. 8, 2003, in remarks prepared for delivery at Stanford University, Kerry said, "We need to foster the next generation of discovery and ingenuity with increased funding for important programs and agencies such as the National Science Foundation and NASA."
3. Global Infrastructure: Kerry does not discuss joint infrastructure development with other nations.
1. The U.S. Infrastructure Breakdown
Edwards makes only isolated references to infrastructure in his various campaign proposals, for example: 1) vulnerability to terrorist attack (e.g., seaports, rail tunnels, nuclear power plants); 2) the lack of broadband communications in rural areas; 3) the lack of local infrastructure for a "national medical records system;" 4) the shortage of nurses; and 5) the inadequacy of the U.S. public health system in the face of the flu epidemic of 2003-04.
2. Emergency Economic Infrastructure Proposals
Edwards has no program to upgrade the hard and soft infrastructure base of the nation. The thrust of his economic proposals are all fiscal and financial, motivated by the idea of allowing more people a fair chance to participate in "our great free enterprise system."
His isolated mentions of infrastructure issues are as summarized here.
On Dec. 18, 2002, in his "Homeland Security Address" at the Brookings Institution, Edwards said, on safeguarding physical sites, "Congress has passed legislation to strengthen border security, port security, cybersecurity, and guard against bioterrorism. I wrote provisions in all those bills; but for the most part, they're not being funded the way they should be." He said there is no "comprehensive strategy in place" to train people "to protect bridges and tunnels." He presumes the transportation infrastructure cited is, in itself, in adequate condition.
Energy: Edwards does not address the declining power generation capacity per capita in the nation, nor aged electricity transmission system, nor the deregulation disaster.
In a program called "Fueling America's Future," Edwards calls for expansion of "renewable" fuels, including wood chips, and "biorefineries" processing switchgrass, corn husks, rice straw, as well as corn-ethanol. On Aug. 1, 2003, he stated, "I am pleased that the energy bill I voted for more than doubles the use of ethanol in gasoline and encourages energy conservation. I have long supported increasing our commitment to renewables...."
Communications: Edwards calls for a "National Broadband Policy" involving providing Federal grants for localities to build the local infrastructure for a national medical records system—part of the Edwards healthcare plan, and for rural areas to "use the Internet to full advantage."
Health Care: Edwards does not address the crisis of the shutdown of hospitals, the decline in emergency facilities, and similar problems, except for the shortage of nurses, for which he proposes a plan to add 100,000 new nurses by 2010. His website states, "Under the Edwards Plan, grants will be made available to hospitals and nursing homes to improve the working conditions of all 2.2 million of America's nurses, and to draw 50,000 Americans ... back into the profession. In addition, nursing schools will be expanded and scholarships provided so that another 50,000 nurses will be added."
His proposals on health care otherwise are financial. According to the summary by AARP, January 2004: "Edwards would offer 'targetted help'—chiefly through refundable tax credits—to two-thirds of the nation's uninsured adults as well as to small businesses and the unemployed. He'd allow adults with incomes up to 250% of the Federal poverty level to buy into Medicaid or children's insurance programs at subsidized rates."
The Edwards plan is presented in seven points, including No. 5, "Ensure consumers get a fair deal from HMOs and insurance companies"; and No. 6, "Reduce fraud and abuse in government healthcare programs."
Public Health: On Dec. 15, 2003, Edwards said of the flu epidemic, "This outbreak is a reminder that we must improve our public health system.... It needs the resources to respond to emergencies and keep us healthy." His emphasis is on information-sharing, and a "real-time, unified national tracking system." He proposes: "Fiscal crises have forced many states to cut support for public hospitals and health departments. Edwards introduced a $50 billion state aid package with the resources to relieve these fiscal crises and provide adequate funds for public health systems."
The Space Program: Edwards said in Des Moines on Dec. 29, 2003, "Well, I'm all for the space program, but Mr. President, if you're looking for a vision, it's time to solve the middle-class problems you've forgotten here on Earth."
3. Global Infrastructure: Edwards does not discuss joint infrastructure development with other nations.
1. The U.S. Infrastructure Breakdown
Among 24 areas listed as "key" to the Lieberman platform on his campaign website, infrastructure is not mentioned. In line with the Democratic Leadership Council he leads, Lieberman takes the "New Economy," anti-infrastructure view to the point of absurdity.
On Oct. 18, 2002—even as the stock market, fiber optic, and other bubbles had burst, Lieberman gave a speech at the NASDAQ Market titled, "Agenda for Economic Prosperity," in which he issued a 31-point "stimulus" package for the nation, on the premise of inducing consumers to spend again. One point was "Bring Investors Back to the Markets," and specified such measures as a zero-capital-gains tax for investors in new stock offerings by entrepreneurial firms, by which Lieberman meant info-tech, bio-tech, etc. For Lieberman, the term "infrastructure" ipso facto means such areas of technology as info-tech, especially broadband.
On May 28, 2003, in a speech at the University of California San Diego, Lieberman said, "Just as our nation couldn't grow in the 19th Century without railroads, and in the 20th Century without highways, we cannot grow in the 21st Century without the high-speed, wide roads of broadband." The speech was titled, "Growing the Innovation Economy: A New Strategy for a New Prosperity," and gave the theme of all Lieberman's discussion of "infrastructure."
2. Emergency Economic Infrastructure Proposals
Among the multiple statements and plans related to the economy in the Lieberman campaign, there are three contexts in which infrastructure figures: 1) protecting it—water, power, ports, etc.—against attacks from terrorists, as part of a proposed upgrade to Homeland Security; 2) complaining that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has not done its job in creating energy security; and 3) seeking to advance communications infrastructure such as broadband.
In his Oct. 13, 2003, major campaign document, "Leading With Integrity—A Fresh Start For America," attention to hard infrastructure is insignificant.
In Lieberman's Homeland Security proposal is stated the need for "launching a comprehensive new effort to protect our infrastructure—our transportation networks, energy grids, food and water supplies, and more."
Energy: Lieberman does not address the shrinking power generation capacity of the nation, nor aged transmission lines, nor other physical conditions. He supports deregulation. After the August 2003 black-outs, in which 250,000 people lost power in his state of Connecticut alone, Lieberman blamed FERC for not enforcing deregulation competently, in his position as the Democratic ranking member of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee. On Aug. 27, 2003, he said, "It's extremely troubling to me that—after a decade of leading the charge to deregulate the electricity and natural gas markets—FERC is still at the starting gate when it comes to being able to prevent these problems." Lieberman took the same tactic in June 2001, when he chaired the same Senate Committee during the California crisis, clearly caused by a disastrous electricity deregulation policy.
Communications: In Lieberman's elaborate "Plan to Revive Manufacturing," it is stated, "Lieberman will build 21st-Century infrastructure cooperatively with the private sector, by wiring all of America to the high-speed Internet by 2010 and seeding the private sector to replace antiquated energy, transportation, and production systems with new, environmentally-friendly infrastructure."
Education: On May 28, 2003, Lieberman said, "As President, I will make the improvement of science and mathematics education in our schools a top priority. And we will increase the number of college students who study science and engineering. I will expand and fully fund the 'Tech Talent' bill I introduced, and which is now the law of the land."
Health Care: On Sept. 2, 2003, Lieberman released his healthcare plan, "To Treat America Right," focused on extending coverage to the uninsured. The Lieberman plan does not acknowledge, nor address the drastic loss over the past 30 years of hospitals, emergency facilities, and ratios of beds, treatment equipment, staffing, and similar aspects of the physical healthcare delivery system.
Lieberman's plan says that it will "get the economy going and bring the deficit down" which will provide the resources to help children, and "workers who are falling through the cracks." It calls for two new national insurance plans: "MediKids, covering children from birth to age 25; and MediChoice, described by AARP as intended—"through bulk purchasing—to give workers of all income levels access to insurance." He also proposes tax credits for long-term care, and to expand Medicare's coverage of treatment for mental illness and substance abuse. Lieberman stresses that the cost of care, not just the cost of insurance coverage, must be reduced.
He calls for an "American Center for Cures" for research into cancer and other diseases.
The Space Program: On Jan. 14, 2004, Lieberman said, "I cannot support this mission [Bush's statement on Mars and the Moon] today. I want America to go back to the Moon and on to Mars in the future. But we should not be going hundreds of millions of miles away on a costly new mission when we have limited resources."
3. Global Infrastructure: Lieberman does not discuss joint infrastructure development with other nations.
Gen. Wesley Clark
1. The U.S. Infrastructure Breakdown
Clark does not evince any awareness of the deficit condition of the infrastructure base of the nation. Infrastructure specifics—water systems, decaying inland navigation, rail and transportation—do not appear in his Issues statement, "My Economic Vision: Jobs and Growth for All Americans," in which "smart stimulus programs" are promised, but with no association to infrastructure repair or building.
In Clark's proposal for a "Homeland and Economic Security Fund," there is this criticism of the present-day situation under the Bush Administration: "Too little focus on, and investment in, protecting America's critical infrastructure (e.g., electricity infrastructure)."
In Clark's "Agenda for Cities," there is passing mention made of "deteriorating infrastructure."
General Clark charges that Bush Administration policy "has weakened [the] public health system. With a few exceptions, funding for critical health programs, like the Ryan White Act, has not kept up with needs, and in some cases, has declined."
2. Emergency Economic Infrastructure Proposals
Clark's economic plan, "Saving for America's Future," is keyed to, "Saving $2.35 trillion over ten years for deficit reduction and investment in priorities." The two he cites are education and health care. In this policy statement, he has no recognition of "hard" economic infrastructure. That comes up elsewhere, in Clark's proposal for a Homeland Economic and Security Fund. "The Fund [$40 billion] would be in place for two years to accelerate investments in homeland security." It lists "training first responders, hiring more Coast Guard, preparing hospitals for bio-terrorism, etc.; construction projects to prepare ports, bridges, and tunnels...."
Clark's campaign document calling for the homeland defense states makes passing reference to hard infrastructure: "General Clark's Homeland and Economic Security Fund will have three beneficial effects: First it will create jobs directly (e.g., construction projects to secure ports, bridges, and tunnels). Other effects concern hiring of more protector jobs, and the secondary effect hirings."
Clark's campaign document on "Agenda for Cities," calls for creating "a State and Local Tax Rebate Fund of $40 billion over two years to create jobs and lessen the need for states and local governments to raise taxes and other fees, and cut critical expenditures and investments in infrastructure."
Clark's "Rural and Farm Security" policy document states, under the subtopic, "Upgrade rural infrastructure": "Wes Clark knows that to achieve a vibrant rural economy, we must fix the crumbling highways, bridges, rail, and water systems that serve our agricultural heartland. But these days, information as well as commodities moves from coast to coast and beyond. Wes Clark will: Make repairing and upgrading rural America's pipes, roads, bridges, and broadband infrastructure a national priority; Devote the resources necessary to achieve universal broadband access as quickly as possible to allow rural hospitals and schools to better serve rural populations."
Energy: Clark backs all the popularized myths, for example, on alternative energy. In his "Rural and Farm Security" document, he states, "Work to ensure that farmers and ranchers receive increased access to capital through tax credits and other incentives and technical assistance they need to take advantage of opportunities to increase profit through renewable energy production."
The Space Program: On Jan. 7, 2004, Clark issued a release congratulating NASA on the Mars landing, saying, "This mission will help us discover whether there ever was life beyond Earth, and it will improve our understanding of climate change. Spirit is an example of how, working together, government, private industry, and NGO's can advance science, education, and our economy, all at a reasonable cost. We need leadership that supports sensible investments in space technology."
Health Care: Clark has, on the Issues section of his website, a lengthy "Plan for health care for American Families," no part of which addresses the declining ratios of hospitals, beds, emergency facilities, staff and public health care in the nation. Much of it deals with cost-containment. The three part overview calls for stressing preventive—"cost-effective"—treatment, and coverage for all children; secondly, tax credits to make insurance coverage more affordable to families, and also a requirement of families with children to purchase it; and thirdly, financial aid to those between jobs, or otherwise low-income and vulnerable. "The plan would cost a net $695 billion over 10 years from 2004-2013." Clark is quoted in the January 2004 AARP Bulletin, "My plan focuses on getting more bang for the healthcare buck."
Clark calls for "targetted public health initiatives" under his health plan: "III. Provide Extra Assistance to Vulnerable Populations. This plan would specifically increase funding for public health programs to reduce racial and ethnic health disparities and improve prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS."
3. Global Infrastructure: Clark does not discuss joint infrastructure development with other nations.
1. The U.S. Infrastructure Breakdown
Kucinich speaks of the "decaying infrastructure nationwide—such as schools, roads, water treatment, and environmental systems" in connection with his proposals "to stimulate the economy through investment in a jobs program restoring infrastructure." He does not identify rail transportation as a vital part of infrastructure.
Among the major causes Kucinich cites for the decay of the U.S. economy overall, for loss of jobs, and "neglected infrastructure," are: NAFTA and the free trade ideology; the lack of trust-busting by the Department of Justice; deregulation and privatization of energy; and the Bush Administration's protection of special interests through preferential tax breaks, etc.
On Aug. 18, 2003, the Kucinich campaign put out a press release on the 50 million person black-out, reiterating: "Throughout Dennis Kucinich's political career, he has battled for public power and against privatization and deregulation." In 1977, Kucinich ran and won the office of Mayor of Cleveland, vowing to stop the sell-off of the city-owned electric system, Muny Light, which he did. In retaliation, Cleveland Trust Bank, in collusion with CEI power company, declared the City of Cleveland in financial default on Dec. 15, 1978, and Kucinich was subsequently voted out of office. However, under the slogan, "Because he was right," Kucinich returned to elected office in 1994, to the Ohio State Senate. In 1996, he was elected to Federal Congress, in a campaign using signs with a light bulb behind his name, and the slogan, "Light Up Congress," meaning, against deregulation of energy.
In a Labor Day speech on Sept. 1, 2003, "Employ the Jobless to Rebuild America's Decaying Infrastructure,' Kucinich said, "The crisis of our decaying infrastructure is something we see every day when we sit in traffic bound by orange barrels that line our highways. It is something that schoolchildren experience at their desks, crowded together under leaking roofs. In cities, municipal sewer systems overflow into rivers, streams and estuaries. These events occur with increasing regularity as systems age. Infrastructure problems threaten our productivity, our economy, our environment and our health.
"Nationally, it would take more than $1 trillion to bring our country's roadways up to speed, according to a report released a couple of year ago by the American Society for Civil Engineers. It would take $127 billion to repair and renovate our schools, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. And in a study completed by the Water Infrastructure Network, it would take $1.3 billion over 20 years to build, operate and maintain drinking water and wastewater facilities."
2. Emergency Economic Infrastructure Proposals
Kucinich frequently mentions the need for large-scale job creation and infrastructure-building, in specific, like the Works Projects Administration (WPA) programs of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
In his Sept. 1, 2003 speech (above), he called for the creation of low-cost Federal financing to administer $50 billion in zero-interest loans every year for ten years. Of these funds, 20% would be for school construction and repair. State and local governments would continue to issue bonds to finance infrastructure projects, but the Kucinich plan would authorize the Federal government to buy those bonds. The Federal government would hold them in a Federal Bank for Infrastructure Modernization (FBIM), which would administer the loans. The Federal Reserve would transfer about $50 billion annually to the FBIM—i.e., the Federal Reserve would operate as it does now to add liquidity to the system.
The speech states, "Two million Americans would find jobs in such enterprises as rebuilding schools, designing roads, refurbishing environmental projects and manufacturing steel for water systems...." He omits any mention of railroad expansion, even for farm areas, where his web page for "Farm Policy" calls for "putting thousands to work rebuilding invaluable public assets such as schools, hospitals, libraries, swimming pools, and parks."
Kucinich says, "Investing $500 billion to rebuild schools, roads, bridges, ports, and sewage, water, and environmental systems will do more to stimulate our economy than tax breaks for the wealthy." On Oct. 27, 2003, at the Detroit Democratic Party candidates debate, he said, "My economic strategy would be to fuel growth in the economy by having a full-employment economy, by working to rebuild our cities with a massive new WPA-type program."
Energy: Kucinich, who would end energy deregulation, stresses "alternative" energy sources, including low-efficiency modes such as wind and solar power: "I will spur research and investment in 'alternative' energy sources—hydrogen, solar, wind, and ocean—and make them mainstream."
Transportation: Kucinich calls for upgrading highways. He does not address infrastructure improvements in rail or air transportation.
Water: Under his "Clean Water" policy, Kucinich states a number of proposals, including: "Stop privatization of drinking water and sewer systems"; and "Make a major investment in water system infrastructure."
Health Care: The Kucinich proposal is called, "Enhanced Medical Care for All." He describes it: "A universal, single-payer system of national health insurance, carefully phased in over 10 years." Over time, private insurers would be removed from the system. Over time, all would be insured, including "the 45 million Americans without coverage and those paying exorbitant rates for health insurance."
Kucinich estimates that at the present time, HMOs and other private health companies are taking 18% of medical payments for "administration," while Medicare, in contrast, takes 3%; and he cites a Harvard Medical School study saying administrative bureaucracy costs the United States about $399.4 billion a year. He and Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) have introduced a healthcare system bill in the Congress, H.R. 676.
Education: Kucinich calls for a major refurbishment of the physical plant of the nation's school systems, to ensure conditions "conducive to learning." He does not address the content of education.
3. Global Infrastructure: Kucinich calls for a "Global Green Deal," in which the United States' development of alternative energy technologies will give leadership to induce other nations to do likewise.
1. The U.S. Infrastructure Breakdown
Sharpton states that U.S. "hard" economic infrastructure is in decay, but does not elaborate. In various statements to the media, he presents generalizations about "highways, tunnels, bridges, roadways" ports, and railroads being in a condition of "infrastructural decay."
Taking case of health care as example of his view of the cause of this decay, his website states: "Providing a high quality healthcare system for all Americans is not the result of a lack of resources, only the lack of political will."
2. Emergency Economic Infrastructure Proposals
On Sept. 25, 2003 at a debate at Pace University, Sharpton said: "I've proposed a five-year, $250 billion infrastructure redevelopment plan. $50 billion a year rebuilding highways, roadways, tunnels, bridges, and—in the name of homeland security—ports. If you look at the ports in this country, we are in disrepair. Not only does it create jobs, it does what is needed because we need to deal with the infrastructural decay. And if we do not create jobs, we can have all of the recovery we want in production, we are not going to have consumers to buy it."
Energy: On June 26, 2003, in the Democratic candidates' "Debate on the Environment" in Los Angeles, Sharpton called for moving away from "an oil-based economy." He said, "You need to clear up on oil-based economy, free ourselves. Build jobs by building hybrid vehicles and by building electric vehicles.... We should have a goal of trying to do 45 miles per gallon."
Health Care: Sharpton wants a "Right to Health Care of Equal High Quality" amendment to the Constitution, and gives a draft text on his campaign website. He does not address the shrinking infrastructure base of the nation's healthcare system, such as the shutting down of D.C. General Hospital in Washington.
On May 2, 2003, in an interview with TheState.com, Sharpton said, "I believe health care's a human right that should be put in the Constitution as a new amendment. That's why I support House Joint Resolution 30. Charlton Heston believes in Second Amendment constitutional gun rights. I believe in constitutional healthcare rights."
On Sept. 25, 2003, at the Pace University Debate, Sharpton said, "You've got to have a single-payer plan for everyone," in answer to a question about senior citizens and the then-pending prescription drug bill.
Education: Sharpton wants an "Education Rights Amendment" to the Constitution, declaring "the right of all Americans to have a public education of equal high quality. It was introduced in the U.S. House as H.J. Res. 29," and is listed as a platform plank on Sharpton's campaign website.
3. Global Infrastructure: Sharpton does not discuss joint infrastructure development with other nations.