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The Green Party is primarily known to the American electorate through Ralph Nader, who may have taken enough votes from Democratic Nominee Al Gore to let President George W. Bush win Florida and the 2000 presidential election. In this election, however, the Green Party is headed by Jill Stein, a former physician and health researcher from Massachusetts, whose vision for America’s next four years is modeled after President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal. The proposal, a “Green New Deal,” hopes to restore the economy through large investments in alternative energies and the establishment of new financial regulations. Stein also advocates for a more transparent government and electoral process as well as the advancement of public education and healthcare to provide for all American citizens.
The first pillar of Dr. Stein’s “Green New Deal” is an economic bill of rights. Stein’s platform calls for the advancement of a single payer healthcare system, or “Medicare for All.” Stein hopes to provide higher quality healthcare and reduce costs by removing the administrative costs of “the massive wasteful health insurance bureaucracy.” This healthcare system is common in Europe, where countries develop a government driven funding mechanism in order to expand quality health care to all citizens. The economic bill of rights also calls for free public education so that all citizens can have access to quality education from pre-school to college. These initiatives would be funded by a large 50 percent cut to military spending. Dr. Stein also hopes to change the tax code to a more progressively-minded system in which the tax burden is “distributed in proportion to ability to pay” so that all Americans give their fair share to the government and still have the chance to participate in the overall economy. She also advocates for more transparent corporate tax subsidies so that the American public can have a larger voice regarding which companies receive federal support.
The “Green New Deal’s” second pillar advocates a “Green Transition” in which the American economy is transformed through the promotion of investment in environmentally responsible technology and infrastructure. Dr. Stein advocates investment in green businesses, specifically local businesses, to help spur the economy. She also wants to fund more research towards alternative sources of energy, such as wind and solar, to find sustainable energy sources that do not harm the environment or pollute American cities. Stein hopes that additional government support of the alternative energy sector will increase employment through the need for additional energy infrastructure across the country.
Stein has also anchored her campaign around the need for financial reform in the United States, the third pillar of her “Green New Deal.” The economic meltdown showcased the danger of unregulated big banks and the need for a substantial overhaul of Wall Street. Stein wants to break up the ‘too big to fail’ banks and end taxpayer funded bailouts. She also plans to restore the Glass-Steagall Act, which separated commercial and investment banks, to add some needed stability to the financial sector. Stein hopes to make the financial industry more open and transparent so that it serves the American people rather than a small minority of corporate investors.
Stein’s final pillar calls for democratic reform so that the American electorate is exposed to more ideas and policy proposals. Stein supports the movement for revoking corporate personhood through a constitutional amendment, so that the Constitution clarifies that money is not speech and that well funded interests do not supersede voter interests. Stein also wants to make the electoral process more accountable, open, and transparent through the creation of non-partisan electoral commissions, same-day voter registration, a national holiday for Election Day, and the abolishment of the Electoral College. This reform would also extend to personal liberties through the repeal of the Patriot Act of 2001 and portions of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012. The Green Party platform calls for a more transparent government and a more open democratic process so that American voters are better served by their government officials.
Dr. Stein’s “Green New Deal” details a plan for America’s future that recognizes the need for sustainable solutions that can still grow the economy. Like President Roosevelt, Stein hopes to restart the economy by heavily investing in alternative energy technology and infrastructure. Her proposed reforms for the financial sector would prevent another economic recession and bring control of banks back to the American people. Her reforms to the electoral process would also mean that more ideas are publicly debated so Americans can hear all solutions rather than two minimally different proposals. Although an obvious long shot for the Presidency, Dr. Jill Stein and the Green Party are on the ballots for 37 states and the District of Columbia. They are also organizing large write-in efforts for the remaining states. Dr. Stein’s proposals warrant attention and praise as her future-oriented policies can strengthen the struggling economy and reawaken a disillusioned middle class.