By Rep. Dennis Kucinich
We should pay careful attention to the message of the Massachusetts election. And that message is to focus on the economy. To make sure that we have jobs programs that can put millions of people back to work. To make sure that we have programs to help those one-out-of-every-three Americans, who is upside down on their mortgages, to save their homes. To make sure we protect people’s investments, their savings and their retirement security.
The verdict in Massachusetts was a verdict on the overall economy. But it was also a commentary on how the entire health care debate was flipped upside down by insurance interests who were able to intervene so that the final product that was offered out of the Senate was nothing more than a sell-out to the insurance industry.
We can still have health care reform in America. We need to take a short-term and a longer-term view. On the short-term: We need to take away the antitrust exemption that insurance companies have. We need to make sure, on the short-term, that we can see everyone with a pre-existing condition have access to insurance. There are things that we can do with single-initiatives to help regain the momentum on health care.
And for the longer-term: The answer is “Medicare for All.” The answer was never to continue to give the insurance companies one out of every three dollars in our health care system. We’ll talk more about that later.
But what we need to do is regain the initiative in our nation to create millions of jobs putting America back to work rebuilding our roads, our bridges, our water systems, our sewer systems – millions of jobs with an initiative called the Works Green Administration that will help with the design, engineering, manufacture, installation and maintenance of tens of millions in wind and solar micro technologies. We have so many different ways that we can get our economy moving again.
But we have to challenge Wall Street. We have to challenge the banks. We cannot let the banks continue to hoard capital while businesses on Main Street are starving for investment. We cannot let the banks continue to pay huge bonuses while at the same time the American people are struggling to make ends meet. And those bonuses were financed with tax-free money and interest-free money that the banks were able to get access to.
We got to get a grip on things in Washington and start remembering who sent us to Washington and why. We were sent there to try to make the reality of government of the people, instead it’s been a government of the corporations, by the corporations and for the corporations. And this is a problem that affects people in both parties.
So let’s regain the initiative. Let’s take the tremendous wellspring of support, which we received from the American people a year ago, and use it to help repair the economic lives of our people. And when we do that, and we have time to do that, we will see that the people, finally, will again show confidence in the political process.
Dennis Kucinich is a Democrat who represents Ohio’s 10th District in Congress. He attempted to win his party’s nomination to run for the Presidency in 2004 and 2008. He is currently the chairman of the Domestic Policy Subcommittee of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. He is also a member of the Education and Labor Committee.
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