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Why Vote for Ralph Nader?

by James Petras

Under the Democratic Presidency and the Republican-led Congress, the number of Americans without health insurance increased from 35 million to 46 million. Ralph Nader is for a single payer universal public health plan.

Under the Rep-Dems the income differences between CEOs and wage workers has widened from 80-1 in the early 1970s to 420-1 today. Ralph Nader favors higher corporate taxes, and lower taxes for wage workers.

Gore and Bush, Lieberman and Cheney have supported higher military spending and drastic cuts in social spending; Nader proposes to reverse these priorities.

Bush wants to use the budget surplus to lower taxes for the rich; Gore wants to enrich the bondholders via debt reductions. Nader proposes to rebuild America's schools, sustain and expand social security payments, and provide adequate and inexpensive day care centers for American families.

Bush's Vice-Presidential candidate Cheney opposed aid to the elderly while proclaiming his compassion for working Americans. Nader wants to control the price of prescription drugs to make them affordable to all Americans.

Gore and Jessie Jackson embrace Vice President Lieberman as a "friend of minorities" when Mr. Lieberman has been a vocal and hostile opponent of affirmative action. Nader has been a firm supporter of minority rights including affirmative action, as he explicitly stated at this year's NAACP convention.

The four candidates from the major parties are beholden to multi-millionaires for campaign funding and financing their posh convention parties, raising hundreds of millions of dollars to project their images and vacuous electoral promises. Nader is a backer and practitioner of strict campaign funding limitations. Who pays the piper calls the tune. After the elections, the big corporate contributors and their powerful lobbyists will be rewarded with billion dollar contracts, tax subsidies, natural resource and consumer rip-offs.

Nader has been a recognized life long supporter of environmental protection and defender of consumer interests, against corporate greed and has fought against the dismantling of public regulatory agencies.

Some might argue that Nader can't get elected, that it's better to vote the lesser evil. The problem is we have been voting the lesser evil for decades and what do we have to show for it? American wages in real terms have declined over the past 20 years, we work longer hours than we did twenty years ago, and have the shortest vacations in the industrialized world. We are the only advanced capitalist country without paid maternity leave. Thanks to the crackpot realists who tell us to vote for the Gores and Bushes, Cheney's, Lieberman's.

To the lesser evil argument, I am reminded of what a famous American, Eugene Debs, once said: "It's better to vote for someone you want and not get it, then to vote for someone you don't want and get it."

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