From this Friday evening's forum “Vision for a New America: A Future without Poverty” hosted by Tavis Smiley, which included guests Cornel West, Jonathan Kozol, Mariana Chilton, Newt Gingrich, Jeffrey Sachs, Rep. Marcia Fudge, John Graham and the National Nurses United Executive Director RoseAnn DeMoro, I wanted to share a portion with Smiley and DeMoro which was also highlighted over at Daily KOS here: 'We Need a Real Economy' to Eradicate Poverty in the U.S.:
“We have to have an economy – a real economy. What do we have now? We want our jobs back. We want our pensions. We want our healthcare. We want to raise standards for everyone in America. We want a civil society…. Where’s our country?”
These questions, posed by National Nurses United Executive Director RoseAnn DeMoro set the stage last night as TV and radio host Tavis Smiley convened a group of eight individuals for a landmark national broadcast promoting his goal of a “Vision for a New America: A Future Without Poverty.” [...]
Smiley is calling on President Obama to convene forthwith a White House Conference to Eradicate Poverty. He is asking people to sign on to this letter to the President. [...]
One solution for both the healthcare crisis and poverty, DeMoro said, is a single-payer healthcare system. “ It would cover everyone. The insurance companies would be gone. We could have cost, quality and access and the ability to be a civil society. If we had a single payer healthcare system, we could generate almost three million jobs, which would actually serve to stimulate the rest of the economy so you’re building and actually taking care of the people of America.” [...]
DeMoro highlighted a major campaign promoted by NNU for a Robin Hood tax, now supported by more than 125 organizations – labor, religious, consumer, health advocates and others, embodied in The Inclusive Prosperity Act, sponsored by Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN).
It says to Wall Street, “you’re going to pay your fair share in this country.”
Sachs is among many public figures speaking out in support of the Robin Hood Tax, whose annual revenue would address the nation’s impoverishment with good jobs and decent retirement, quality education and healthcare and more.
“Influential Americans are buying into the Robin Hood Tax,” said Smiley.
“It’s simply a tax on Wall Street,” explained DeMoro, just “50 cents in the case of stock on a $100 trade. We all pay sales tax on everything we buy. This is saying to Wall Street that you have gotten such a pass.” [...]
“The other thing the American labor movement does is raises all boats. It set living wages for people, benefits, pensions. If everyone in this country was unionized, we would have Wall Street on the run.,” she said.
“There is a concerted effort as part of the neo-liberal agenda to vilify teachers, vilify anything public,” said DeMoro. “The greatest institutions we’ve ever had have been public institutions. The corporations have been in control and this country is a disaster.”
She critiqued those who have placed bipartisanship above principle. “We compromise on the things that are fundamentals. We can compromise on tactics but people will have to draw a line in the sand. Learn that from the labor movement and the building trades … . get the cement, fill in that line and we say this is a line that you do not cross.”
DeMoro endorsed Fudge’s statement “that you’ve got to push. We’ve got to push. We’ve got to create a movement in this country. Occupy was a moment. Occupy needs to start up and keep going and needs to bring millions and millions of people with it. We are organizing a movement. It’s in the streets. It’s in Congress and it’s across the world and we’re not going to stop.”
Go read the rest of the post for more on the forum and you can watch the entire two and a half hour segment on C-SPAN's web site here: Tavis Smiley Presents Poverty in America. It was a good discussion even if it did include Newt Gingrich.