Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Edwards Only Top Dem to Take on Wall Street

By Dean Baker
Posted on December 26, 2007

It would be difficult to identify much difference between the three leading Democratic presidential candidates' positions on major economic issues. They have come forward with comparable positions on taxes, healthcare and trade. Insofar as it is possible to identify differences between Hillary Clinton, John Edwards and Barack Obama, it is primarily due to judgments about their level of commitment and the powers to whom they will answer.

On taxes, all three candidates have said they want the wealthy to pay a larger portion of the bill, which starts with taking back the Bush tax cuts on families earning more than $200,000 a year. All three have proposed eliminating various loopholes that primarily benefit the wealthy. Edwards has gone the furthest in this respect, calling for raising the capital gains tax rate back to the pre-Clinton level of 28%. This tax increase almost exclusively affects the wealthy. Most of the capital gains earned by middle-class families are either from selling their home, which is generally not taxed, or in retirement accounts that are subject to normal income tax rates.

All three contenders have proposed a national healthcare system that is a variant of the plan developed by Yale political scientist Jacob Hacker. The basics of the plan are to require that all firms either insure their workers directly or pay a fee to the government. The government then uses this money to heavily subsidise insurance for low- and moderate-income families. It also establishes an expanded Medicare-type public plan that people will have the option to buy into. In addition, it reforms the private insurance market, most importantly by requiring that insurers not discriminate based on pre-existing conditions.

Both Clinton and Edwards would impose a mandate that everyone buy into this system. Obama has claimed that he would not require a mandate. As a practical matter, the healthcare system that any of them are able to put in place will depend on the arms they twist and the pressure they can bring to bear against the insurance companies, the pharmaceutical industry and other powerful actors who will be hurt by real reform.

Any serious plan will require a mandate - this directly follows from its requirement that insurers take all comers. Without a mandate, no one would buy insurance until they had serious bills. This would be like letting people buy car insurance after an accident, and then sending the company the bill. That doesn't work.

All three contenders have said that they want to break with the Bush-Clinton-Bush trade agenda. Since recent trade deals like Nafta and Cafta are hugely unpopular, especially among Democrats, this position is not surprising. What their position means in practice remains to be seen. For example, in spite of her newfound opposition to these trade deals, senator Clinton found the time to vote for the recent Peru trade pact, which is largely in the Nafta/Cafta mode.
As a practical matter, the country has already gone about as far as it can in placing its manufacturing workers in competition with low-wage workers in the developing world. The impact of any future trade deals on the US economy will be almost imperceptible. A decline of the dollar by an additional 10% against the currencies of our trading partners would swamp the impact of all currently pending trade deals.

On this issue there are likely to be substantial differences among the candidates. Former Treasury secretary Robert Rubin is likely to be the guiding light for economic policy in a Clinton or Obama administration. Rubin was the architect of the high dollar policy of the 1990s, which led to the massive trade deficits of recent years. He remains an enthusiastic supporter of a high dollar. Therefore Clinton or Obama would be more likely than Edwards to sacrifice the jobs and wages of manufacturing workers in order to prop up the dollar.

Rubin's Wall Street agenda would also apply to other areas of economic policy, most importantly the budget. Rubin places balanced budgets and even budget surpluses at the centre of his economic vision. A push to a balanced budget will seriously curtail the ability to extend healthcare coverage, promote access to childcare, promote clean technologies and address other neglected priorities. By contrast, Edwards has clearly stated that he does not view a balanced budget as a priority, arguing instead for deficit targets that prevent the debt from growing relative to the size of the economy. The willingness to accept deficits may prove especially important in the context of an economy that could be in recession when the next president takes office.

In short, Edwards has set himself apart from the other two top candidates by indicating a clear willingness to challenge an agenda set on Wall Street. If a President Edwards actually carried through with this course, he would pursue a very different economic agenda than his two leading rivals.

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research.© 2007 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.View this story online at:

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Monday, December 17, 2007

Iowa First Lady Mari Culver endorses John Edwards for President

Endorsement Builds on Edwards’ Growing Momentum in Iowa

Des Moines, Iowa – On the last day of his "Main Street Express" bus tour and following a widely praised debate performance, today Senator John Edwards will receive the endorsement of Iowa First Lady Mari Culver. Culver believes Edwards’ lifetime of fighting for those without a voice makes him the best candidate to stand up for America’s families and bring change to America. Culver’s endorsement adds to Edwards’ growing momentum in the final weeks before the Iowa caucuses. Edwards recently was endorsed by Congressman Bruce Braley and continues to gain support from community leaders and undecided caucus goers.

"With all the challenges facing our country, we need a leader who will fight for our families," said Culver. "I am proud to endorse John Edwards for President. John has spent his career standing up for children and families in their hour of need. I admire his commitment to speaking out for those who have no voice and look forward to working with him to make sure children here in Iowa and across the country are safe and secure and have the opportunity to realize their dreams."

"I am honored to have Mari’s support," said Edwards. "She has been a passionate advocate on behalf of families and children in crises. Her commitment to helping the less fortunate is exactly the kind of the leadership America so desperately needs. With Mari’s help and the help of the people of Iowa, we can build the One America we believe in."

Culver’s support adds to Edwards’ strength in Iowa. He has strong grassroots organizations in all 99 Iowa counties. He also enjoys the support of Caucus for Priorities, which represents 10,000 Iowa caucus goers. Edwards has the support of numerous labor groups who are actively working to put him in the White House. He has been endorsed by the Iowa State Council of the SEIU and 11 other SEIU state councils representing more than a million SEIU members. Additionally, he has been endorsed by the Iowa Postal Workers Union, the United Steelworkers, the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, the Transport Workers Union of America, the United Mine Workers of America and the UNITE HERE Chicago and Midwest Regional Joint Board.

Culver will join Edwards today at his “Main Street Express” bus tour finale events in Des Moines, Cedar Rapids and Davenport. During the eight-day tour, Edwards has been highlighting his plans to fight for regular families like the ones he grew up with in his small, rural hometown.

Please help John during this critical phase of the campaign.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Edwards supporter makes daily 6.1-mile trek to rally voters

by Kiley Miller - 12/13/2007

NEW LONDON, IA -- It was a touch after 3 p.m. Monday and Carrie Duncan had just finished another day on the job.

Now she was ready to go the extra mile for John Edwards.

Make that 6.1 miles.

Read the rest of story at

Join me, and Carrie Duncan, in supporting John Edwards for President

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Roadtrip to Reno!

What: Roadtrip To Reno!

When: Saturday, December 15th at 10:30 AM

700 Smithridge Dr., #101
Reno, Nevada 89502

Event Description:

Looking for a way to help John Edwards WIN an early state? Going to Iowa would be great! But if you can't manage Iowa, the next best thing would be to help John Edwards win Nevada. And Nevada is just a short, scenic drive away from us!

This weekend, a number of Edwards supporters from California will be roadtripping to the official Edwards for President Office in Reno to help out. So why not join in the fun? Help out, see the sights, and have some fun! A statewide Nevada canvassing effort for John Edwards is scheduled for Saturday, December 15th from 10:30AM to 5:00 PM.

For details, directions, and even free lodging, contact Sandra More, the Reno volunteer coordinator. She can be reached at, 775-338-5382.

The Reno office itself is located at:

700 Smithridge Dr. #101
Reno, NV 89502

If you can't make it this weekend, you are still needed. The Reno office needs volunteers seven days a week from now until the day of the caucus, January 19th. So, pick a day that fits your schedule, and roadtrip to Reno. All they ask is at least 24 hours notice of your arrival.

If, by chance, you would prefer to help in Las Vegas, please contact Amanda Clausen,, 702-434-3978.

And if you want to help in Iowa, please be sure to call Abby Curran in Iowa at 515-883-7803

For more information, and to RSVP for this event, please click here:

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New CNN Poll: Edwards Only Dem to Beat All Four Republican Candidates

A CNN poll released today concluded that Senator John Edwards is the only Democrat who can beat all four major Republican candidates.

"On the Democratic side, Edwards performs best against each of the leading Republicans. In addition to beating Huckabee by 25 percent and McCain by 8 percent, the North Carolina Democrat beats Romney by 22 percentage points (59 percent to 37 percent) and Giuliani by 9 percentage points (53 percent to 44 percent)."

CNN article:

Full Polling Results:

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Road Trip for One America

With so little time left until the caucuses and primaries begin, we need your help now! Please join other supporters from all over the country as we travel to the earliest voting states—Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina—for a few hours, a few days, or a few weeks to help engage voters and spread John Edwards' powerful message.

Except for possible travel conditions over the Sierra, Reno is an easy day trip from Sacramento and other Norcal locations.

To sign up to help go to John and click on the Road Trip for One America Graphic, or just click right here.

If you can't travel but would still like to help come back here to see more opportunities. And, as we all know, money is always needed.

Join me in supporting John Edwards for President