Most working people don’t vote. Some say this is because we’re content and complacent. Others charge us with being lazy. But we think there’s a different explanation.
Many working people don’t vote because we don’t see any meaningful differences between candidates; don’t trust any of the politicians; and believe no good will come from whichever ones win. We don’t consent to playing in a rigged game.
Here are some reasons why:
America spends far more money on health care than any other country. Yet the World Health Organization ranks the U.S. 37th among the world’s nations in our health care delivery. Every other industrialized country provides universal health care to all residents as a public service. They get better results while spending less. In our country health care access is largely held hostage by private insurance companies and HMOs. 44 million Americans have no health care coverage.
The Democrats and Republicans offer only inconsequential reforms for a system that has clearly failed. Ralph Nader believes American workers deserve at least as good a health care system as working people in Europe and Japan enjoy.
Only Ralph Nader supports universal health care as a public service.
Bush wants to divert withholdings from the Social Security Trust Fund to new individual accounts to encourage investment in Wall Street. His plan would sharply reduce benefits for future retirees.
Gore proposes to essentially freeze Social Security at present levels while pumping new money, in the form of tax credits, into individual accounts that would encourage investment in Wall Street.
Nader supports the original concept of Social Security—funded by contributions from both workers and employers, invested in secure government bonds, providing guaranteed benefits adequate for a decent retirement.
Only Ralph Nader supports Social Security with no ifs, ands, or buts.
The issue that has become known as “globalization,” which has played out in this country around clashes over the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the World Trade Organization (WTO), and most recently trade status for China, is not just about trade. Corporations are not only moving goods across borders—they are also moving capital, factories, jobs. The fight is not just about tariffs but all kinds of laws protecting labor, defending the environment. Globalization is also threatening many useful public services with private corporations demanding the right to obtain Social Security, schools, airports, prisons, transit systems—and even our drinking water.
Both Bush and Gore have told us “free trade” is a win-win situation. Economic growth means increased prosperity for American, Canadian, and Mexican workers alike. But the actual result has been just the opposite. While a new, thin layer of rich has developed in all three countries around NAFTA workers and farmers in all three have taken a beating.
The impact on U.S. workers has been far greater than the several hundred thousand jobs that have been directly lost to “free trade.” The mere threat by bosses to relocate jobs has had a chilling effect on labor relations. Workers displaced by job movement have taken a cut in wages and benefits in new jobs while most other workers, wary of relocation threats, have settled for stagnant wages—even in the midst of what is supposed to be unprecedented prosperity.
It is important for U.S. workers to sort out who are our allies and who are our adversaries in the globalization struggle. Our enemy is not the working people of China, or Mexico, or any place else. We're in a fight with the multinational corporations—the biggest of which are based in our country—and the governments and politicians who do their bidding.
We must be wary of some who try to latch on to the fight against globalization to promote a more sinister agenda. Pat Buchanan doesn't care about the plight of working people here or anywhere else. He has been a lifelong friend of the most reactionary rich and a die-hard opponent of our unions. He, and others of his ilk, are trying to exploit the sentiment against globalization with thinly veiled appeals to bigotry. We should soundly reject those appeals in no uncertain terms.
The bottom line is that if globalization prevails the living standards of working people everywhere will be driven down to the lowest level anywhere. The only effective defense is to promote workers standards everywhere through organization and solidarity. Our allies are the workers of the world. We help ourselves when we assist them.
Only Ralph Nader opposes globalization from such a working class solidarity perspective.
Labor Law Reform
Workers need unions to get a fair deal from employers. But labor laws in this country are stacked against our unions. Unlike most other countries, American workers can be permanently replaced when we go on strike. We’re forbidden by law from using successful tactics that helped build the labor movement such as mass picketing and secondary boycotts. Representation election rules for organizing drives give the bosses a big advantage.
Bush, Gore, and Buchanan all support these restrictions. Nader favors repealing the Taft-Hartley Act and proposes that unions be certified to bargain for workers once a majority have signed authorization cards.
Only Ralph Nader favors real labor law reform and encourages workers to organize.
Many credit Nader with launching the consumer protection movement. Among the organizations he has helped found are Public Interest Research Groups and Public Citizen. He also helped start the respected magazine Multinational Monitor.
What Some Labor Leaders Are Saying About Nader
It's time to forget about party labels and instead focus on supporting candidates, such as Ralph Nader, who will take a stand based on what is right, not what big money dictates.—United Auto Workers President Stephen Yokich.
There is no distinction between Al Gore and George W. Bush when it comes to trade. We agree wholeheartedly with what Mr. Nader has said.—James P Hoffa, President, International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
What makes Ralph Nader stand apart is his uncompromising commitment to a comprehensive program for universal health care for all, and his unwillingness to play politics on health care while peoples’ lives hang in the balance. He is the real thing, and he deserves the support of caregivers. —Kay McVay, President, California Nurses Association.