Stein Embraces Dr. King’s Call to make Health Care a Right, Promote Economic Justice and End War

From Jill Stein for President:

Dr. Jill Stein, running for president as a Green Party candidate, said if elected she would honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy by not only embracing his call for civil rights and racial equality but continuing his struggle for peace, economic justice and universal health care.

Dr. Stein, a graduate of Harvard Medical School, said she would make health care a right and enact a single payer, expanded and improved Medicare for All. In 1968, Dr. King said that “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.”

“All Americans are entitled to quality health care. We need to also control the excessive costs of health care, starting with eliminating the expensive and wasteful practice of health insurance, where profits are increased by denying access to health care. It is a scandal that President Obama, who has long admitted that single payer is the best solution, instead copied Milt Romney and mandated that all Americans buy health insurance,” stated Stein.

The last major speech Dr. King delivered, “Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution”, was on poverty. Speaking at the National Cathedral in Washington D.C., King talked about how the poor were invisible in America. When he was killed in Memphis four days later, while supporting the striking garbage workers, King was organizing a massive march in D.C. to launch a new campaign to end poverty.

Said King, “There is nothing new about poverty. What is new is that we now have the techniques and the resources to get rid of poverty. The real question is whether we have the will.”
King called for “a campaign for jobs and income, because … the economic question was the most crucial that black people and poor people, generally, were confronting.”

Strikingly, a recent report has included that nearly 50% of Americans live in conditions of actual poverty, meaning that they are not self-sufficient and cannot afford food, transportation, and shelter, or are just one paycheck away from that falling into that condition. Income inequality in America is worse than it has been since 1927. The richest 1% own 40% of the nation’s wealth and get 24% of the income.

“We need economic policies that seek income equality. We need to guarantee access to the fundamentals of life, these being quality housing, food, transportation, education, and health care. We need a progressive tax system that requires the wealthy and Wall Street speculators to pay a higher share of the tax burden. We need to focus on providing a decent life for the 99%, not excessive wealth for the 1%,” said Stein.

Dr. King had concluded that a guaranteed annual income was needed as the prime step to ending poverty in our country. “I am now convinced that the simplest approach will prove to be the most effective — the solution to poverty is to abolish it directly by a now widely discussed measure: the guaranteed income.” Surprisingly, this was actually proposed a number of years later by President Nixon as a replacement for welfare, but Congress rejected it.
Stein said that she agreed with King on the need to end war and reinvest the military budget to fund domestic needs. Stein said she would also use the peace dividend to fund a Green New Deal to provide jobs while curbing climate change.

“I will bring our troops home not only from Afghanistan and Iraq and Africa and South America, but from the more than one hundred countries where we have bases. The best way to protect the security of Americans is to rebuild our economy and stop using our military and economic might to exploit other countries and enrich corporate war profiteers,” noted Stein.

King ended his speech at the Washington Cathederal four days before he was murdered with a day with a call for America to end the Vietnam War, and a call for a peace dividend. “Every time we kill [a Vietcong soldier] we spend about five hundred thousand dollars while we spend only fifty-three dollars a year for every person characterized as poverty-stricken in the so-called poverty program, which is not even a good skirmish against poverty.”
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. also stated, “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”

Dave Schwab

One Comment

  1. A negative income tax would be a good replacement for the current welfare system. One of the first person to propose such a system was the champion of the free market Milton Friedman.

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