PORTSMOUTH NH - Democratic Presidential Candidate Dennis Kucinich Thursday outlined a sweeping proposal for rebuilding the U.S. economy, based on a resurgence of American manufacturing capacity, a marked change in the nation's trade policies, and a rebuilding of the nation's infrastructure unprecedented since the WPA of the 1930s.
"We will base our defense and our economy on steel, automotive, aerospace and shipping," Kucinich said following meetings with management and workers at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and a tour of the facility, "we will cancel NAFTA, withdraw from WTO, and then rebuild America with U.S. steel, so once again the world will be able to buy American-made goods."
Coupled with that effort, Kucinich said, will be a new program to rebuild the nation's crumbling infrastructure, which currently needs an estimated trillion dollars in repairs. "I'm talking about bridges, water and sewer lines, ports, libraries and universities," Kucinich said, "This will create millions of new well-paying jobs, many of them union jobs."
The final aspect of his plan, Kucinich said, was single-payer universal health care - Medicare for all - so that businesses would be more competitive and labor would not have to choose between health care and cost-of-living increases when at the bargaining table.
In meeting with representatives of the four unions representing workers at the shipyard, Kucinich an AFL-CIO member himself, said labor should listen carefully to what the candidates are saying, noting, many of them will say they want health care, but are promoting systems that would use taxpayer funds to subsidize the insurance companies.
"I'm the one who will deliver on real health care," Kucinich said. "The insurance companies make money by not providing health care. We need to get the profit out of health care. If we do that we can cover everyone, with no co-pays and deductibles, for about what we're paying now."
"This country's trade policies have been against labor from the start," he said, "the NAFTA writers knew that by not including worker rights, human rights and environmental concerns in the law they would be able to drive down wages."
And, Kucinich said, "if the other candidates say they're going to fix NAFTA, that means they won't do anything, because under WTO you can't change NAFTA. I will cancel NAFTA my first week in office."
Kucinich said the best thing labor could do to improve conditions in the country would be to support his candidacy. "This election is a pro-democracy movement," Kucinich said, "in the past labor has been lead around by candidates saying 'go with us for another four years,' so labor does that but things don't get any better. But there is no interest group constraining me, and there is an interest group, labor - of which I'm a member - that causes me in my heart to want to make these changes."
"We're losing our country, but we can fight back and rebuild America. Mine will be a workers' White House, I understand the contributions you're making," Kucinich said, "I'm talking about a huge change in manufacturing and economic policy, not small incremental changes."
NH Media / Communication