Nader’s voice deserves to be heard

Aaron Loudenslager

Consumer advocate Ralph Nader is making his third official presidential run as, what many would classify, a progressive populist. In previous years he has run as the Green Party candidate but this year he will run as an independent, highlighting issues that Arizona Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Barack Obama (D-IL) have taken off the table.

For example, a 2007 AP-Yahoo poll showed that 54 percent of Americans and 59 percent of doctors want single-payer universal health care, with free choice of doctors and hospitals, a policy that Nader supports.

Single-payer health insurance is a system in which the government finances the health care but it is delivered from private non-profit corporations to keep health care costs down.

Under a single-payer health care system, the National Coalition on Health Care estimates taxpayers would save $350 million a year. Nader claims these savings will allow for everyone to have their medical necessities met.

However, McCain and Obama don’t even consider single payer health care, even though Americans seem to want it.

Equally important is how much is spent on the military budget. The United States uses 41 percent of its budget on defense. Obama and McCain both would like to increase that wasteful military spending, whereas Nader would cut the military budget and focus instead on using that money to rebuild the deteriorating infrastructure of our country.

While differing with the two major party candidates on military spending, Nader also differs on what the function of the American military in Iraq should be. McCain recently said that it would be acceptable if Americans were in Iraq for over 100 years.

Obama says the American military would be out by the year 2010, but what he doesn’t usually say is that he would like keep 50,000 soldiers in Iraq to fight terrorism – and he doesn’t specify when those soldiers would leave. Obama’s plan would also increase the troop levels in Afghanistan.

Nader proposes that America plan a six-month withdrawal, starting from the day he is inaugurated. During this time frame, Iraq would have United Nations-sponsored elections and the United States would also continue to give Iraq humanitarian aid, according to Nader’s plan.

Meanwhile, back at home, Obama and McCain are constantly talking about the middle class. What about those that live in poverty? Americans are struggling with their finances. How can two parents expect to be able to pay for health care, food, transportation and housing when both are only making $6, $7 or $8 an hour? They can’t.

Both major party candidates seem to forget about those impoverished Americans who are struggling. Nader would repeal the Taft-Hartley Act, an anti-union law that infringes on workers’ rights to get better wages. He would also focus on making minimum wage $10 an hour for the entire country immediately after taking office.

Nader would also adopt a Wall Street speculation tax that would mean less income tax on lower paid workers and no income tax for workers making less than $50,000 a year.

I challenge Obama and McCain to be true to their political parties’ names. They should truly show what democracy and republics are and open the debates up. They should defend their positions, which are often against those of the people.