Representative Dennis Kucinich, D-OH
July 28, 2003
Its an honor to be here before the Urban League to talk about a new urban policy. But before we talk about a new urban policy, we need to talk about a new international policy. As President Ill be dedicated to a policy that sets aside the idea of unilateralism, the idea of pre-emption. The United States needs to work with the world community to make the United States more secure. Im Congressman Dennis Kucinich, I led the effort in the House of Representatives to try to block the Bush Administrations march toward war. As co-chair of the Progressive Caucus, the largest caucus inside the Democratic Party, I worked with members of Congress and led 126 Democrats into voting against the Iraq war. I led the Democrats into challenging the lies about Iraqs nuclear capabilities. I led the challenge to claims about weapons of mass destruction. Where are the weapons of mass destruction?
Im from the inner city of Cleveland, I was mayor of Cleveland, and I know where those weapons of mass destruction are. Theyre in our inner cities. Poverty is a weapon of mass destruction. Joblessness is a weapon of mass destruction. Poor healthcare is a weapon of mass destruction. Homelessness is a weapon of mass destruction, discrimination is a weapon of mass destruction. Racism is a weapon of mass destruction. And lying to the American People is a weapon of mass destruction.
It is time it is time. to get out of Iraq. It is time to get out of Iraq and to rejoin the world community and international cooperation towards world security. U.N. in, U.S. out. U.N. in, U.S. out. U.N. in, U.S. out. Its time to have the United Nations handle the oil receipts and the contracts, Haliburton.
Our sons and daughters our sons and daughters are being used for target practice because of lies, greed, and desire for empire. Bring our men and women home. Bring our men and women home. Bring them home. Come home.
My candidacy for President will break the spell of fear which has settled over this country like a pall. We must remember the words of Francis Scott Key in the Star Spangled Banner, when he asked, Oh say, does that Star-Spangled Banner yet wave, over the land of the free and the home of the brave? He connected courage and democracy. We must have courage to save our democracy, and we must have truth to save our democracy. We shall know the truth and the truth shall set us free. And the truth is that fear has driven a Pentagon budget increase by 13 percent. That fear has caused our health care to be cut. Has caused housing benefits to be cut. Has caused Veterans benefits to be cut.
As President of the United States, Ill help break that spell of fear. We will cut the Pentagon budget by 15%. And put that money right into universal pre-kindergarten. Our children need an education. We will cut a 1.5 trillion dollar Bush tax cut, and we will put that money into a universal college for our children. Our children need college educations.
We will lead the way and Ill lead the way - to take profit out of health care. The market has failed at health care. We need universal health care, Medicare for all. No one paying any premiums, co-pays, deductibles. Preventative health care coverage, all medically necessary procedures. Vision care. Dental health care, mental health care.
We need universal health care. It is a moral responsibility of our government to provide health care. As President I intend to save social security. Ill stop the privatization of social security. And its time to take that retirement age back to 65.
As President of the United States, I intend to lead the way towards a new urban policy. A new WPA to rebuild our cities. A new manufacturing policy, which creates jobs. A new trade policy, which cancels NAFTA and the WTO.
My candidacy offers the sharpest contrast with the incumbent president. I come from a state with 19 electoral votes. Im a four-term member of Congress. I was Mayor of Cleveland.
And in this campaign, Im going to offer the contrast on matters of war and peace. On trade. On health care and urban policy.
I come from the streets of Cleveland, from a family that lived in 21 different places by the time I was 17 including a couple of cars. And Im telling you, itll be from the streets of Cleveland to Pennsylvania Avenue for a workers White House and a peoples President. Thank you very much.
Announcer: Youve spoken of getting the insurance companies out of health care. How do you do that, and what do you replace them with?
Candidate Kucinich: Right now Americans pay a total of 1.4 trillion dollars a year from local, state, and federal sources, and from what employers pay for health care. But what were seeing right now is that 41 million Americans without health care everyone in the room knows one story of someone who doesnt have health care, and cant get the care they need. People even have jobs and dont get the health care they need.
Whats happening? Premiums are going up, co-pays are going up, deductibles are going up. We need a universal health care system, and you know what? My plan, which is embodied and which I worked with Congressman John Conyers in developing, as well as Congressman McDermott, takes the private sector out of health care.
It establishes a public health care system, just like Medicare exists, and extends it to everyone. And there would be no more co-pays, premiums, deductibles. All of our people would be covered. If we dont do this, by the way, within ten years, health care spending is going to go up to 1.8 trillion dollars, 18% of the gross domestic product, and there will be more and more Americans who wont be covered.
My plan, by the way, includes a prescription drug benefit. Everyone knows that the insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies are depriving our people of decent health care. Theyre not delivering it. They make money NOT giving healthcare. Im going to be the President who takes this issue to the American people and establishes universal health care, thats what I intend to do.
Announcer: OK. My final question. President Bush was here today. He said that equal education is one of the most pressing civil rights issues of our day. What programs would you create to address this problem.
Candidate Kucinich: Well, it would have been good if when the President said that that he would have remembered that when his last budget came out it cut the No Child Left Behind Act by ten billion dollars. Now if youre going to talk the talk, walk the walk. And the President hasnt done that.
And as the next President, Ive indicated earlier that we have the money. To have universal pre-kindergarten. Our children 3, 4, and 5 can have fully-paid daycare. Can have reading skills that they learn. Can have nutrition programs. Can have social skills and educational skills that are developed. We have to look at that early development, because thats what gives our children a chance to be lifted up. The money is THERE.
We have to cut the Pentagon budget. Im the only candidate who has taken this issue over and over again about cutting the Pentagon budget and getting the money for universal pre-kindergarten.
Finally, on the issue of college. Do you know that there are 12 million young Americans who attend public institutions, colleges, and universities. They pay an average of four thousand dollars a year. Now, you multiply that, its 48 billion dollars a year.
This take cut of the Presidents amount to 155 billion dollars a year. For less than a third of the present tax cut you could have universal college for our young people. Its time to make education a priority.
One final word. When I walk up to vote every day in the House of Representatives, there is a statue of a woman whose arm is outstretched, and shes protecting a child who is blissfully sitting on top of a pile of books. And the title of that statue is called, Peace Protecting Genius.
Not with nuclear arms, but with the arms of love is the child, Genius, protected. We need to work for peace. And as we do that, that is the path to restoring this country to a new era where we have health care for all, education for all, jobs for all, and hope for all.
Thank you very much.