U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Edwards stopped in Tysons Corner for a luncheon address Tuesday to partisans working to win Democratic control of the Virginia state legislature in the fall elections.
Edwards called for reversing the Bush tax cut for Americans making over $200,000 a year as one step to begin closing the growing divide between the nation’s super rich and everyone else. He noted that the nation’s 300 richest families earn more than 150 million at the lower end of the income scale. “This is the worst income disparity since the Depression,” he said.
With 37 million Americans living in poverty, he called for the minimum wage to be raised to $9.50 per hour, and called for “strengthening and growing the organized labor movement to help build the middle class.”
He called for universal health care to redress current conditions, where 45 million Americans have no health care. He said reversing the Bush tax cuts for the rich could more than pay for the cost of the program, itself.
He said he was in no way against people becoming successful, but that “for those who do well, they should give something back,” adding, “No one who’s been successful got there by themselves, but with the support and assistance of the entire society.”
Calling for “redoing the way we do energy in the U.S.,” Edwards got his biggest applause when he called for addressing the energy crisis as a national priority, saying, “We have to be patriotic about something other than war.”
An energy alternative mobilization will “create one million green-collar jobs,” he said, and give the U.S. credibility in the eyes of the world to address pressing environmental concerns.
He called for a program to provide lower income families with tuition-free “college for everyone,” and he assailed the Bush administration’s “destruction of the U.S. leadership role in the world over the last seven years.”
“We are seen by the rest of the world as bullies and selfish. We need to end the damage and make the U.S., once again, a force for good in the world,” he said. He called for ending the genocide in Western Sudan and Darfur, for providing clean drinking water and the education of 100 million children in the world. “That would be transformational,” he said.