Green Party candidate: 'It's time to bail out the students'
Dr. Jill Stein says she would focus on education if elected president.
Woodbury University student Jonathan Ortega talks with Green Party presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein after her talk at the school. (Mark Kellam / September 28, 2012)
While President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal at the end of the Depression created public-sector jobs, Stein's plan would use incentives for small business to hire more employees and invest in green jobs.
She said her proposal would be funded by scaling back the military and taking interest-free loans currently given to large corporations and directing them to small businesses instead.
Stein also pointed to bailouts of Wall Street and large banks as a sign that the current economic strategy is flawed.
“We need to break up these big banks that are too big to fail and too big to jail,” said Stein, a physician and instructor of internal medicine.
The trickle-down economics that has been touted by Republicans for decades hasn't served the country well, she added.
“It ain't worked,” Stein said.
Speaking to an audience made up mostly of students, Stein said the country is seeing a generation of college graduates who are basically “indentured servants” because many of them are strapped with such staggering debt.
She wants to forgive student loan debt and offer a tuition-free college education.
“It's time to bail out the students,” Stein said, adding that in the 20th century, a high school diploma was enough for most people to get good-paying jobs, but a college degree is vital in the 21th century to land positions that pay enough to live — even modestly.
“Our economy needs to be rebooted every generation,” she said, and making sure young people are well-educated is key for that to happen.
Despite the dominance of the Republican and Democratic parties, the Green Party is a needed alternative.
President Obama and GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney adhere to the same basic policies, Stein added.
“They're only different around the margins,” she said.
The tenets to which they subscribe include more deregulation, tax breaks for job creators and too much reliance on “dirty energy,” such as fossil fuels, said Stein, who is co-author of two reports — “In Harm's Way: Toxic Threats to Child Development,” published in 2000, and “Environmental Threats to Healthy Aging,” published in 2009.