National Public Radio presidential debate

So the question is, how do we get rid of the structural deficiencies in the American economy that are creating that environment? There are a variety of things that we need to do. Universal health care, which others have spoken about, is crucial. Half the bankruptcies in America are the result of health care costs.

Our dependence on oil is strangling the American economy, so we need an aggressive effort to get off that dependence and get toward cleaner alternative sources of energy. We have to lift people out of poverty by raising the minimum wage to $9.50 an hour, expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit, strengthening the right of unions to organize in the workplace. Protect people's assets by having a national predatory lending law, having a housing policy that actually works. Our housing policy in America is dysfunctional.

MR. SIEGEL: Could it all lead to a balanced budget in one term?

MR. EDWARDS: I think it would take two realistically. And can I mention one last thing?

MR. SIEGEL: A very short one.

MR. EDWARDS: Also making it easier for kids to go to college. I think all those things in combination grow and strengthen the middle class, which is crucial to eliminating the debt.

MR. SIEGEL: Congressman Kucinich, you have the last word, your sense of the future of this country's economy over the next four years.

REP. KUCINICH: Well, with Senator Clinton saying that it takes a Clinton to clean up after a Bush, Hillary, I want you to know, this is the first argument that I've heard for you to be on my ticket, so I'm glad to hear you say that.

I think that we need to recapture the Democratic Party's tradition of providing economic opportunity for people. Here's how I would do it. Jobs for all, a full employment economy where the government becomes the employer of last resort when the private sector gets rid of jobs. We have to create jobs. Rebuilding America, a new WPA, put millions of people back to work rebuilding our roads, our bridges, our water systems, our sewer systems.

Put millions more back to work building new microtechnologies for wind and solar, lowering our carbon footprint and enabling a transition away from oil, coal and nuclear, and have a not-for-profit health care system. And I'm the author of that bill, H.R. 676. Medicare for all, it's the only way to go.

Thank you very much.

MR. SIEGEL: Congressman Kucinich, thank you very much, and thanks to all of you.

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