Jill Stein is a name that most people aren’t yet familiar with. Her affiliation with the Green Party makes her understandably unfamiliar. The Green Party is a left wing group that puts an emphasis on saving the environment. The Green Party prides itself on being a political party that brings issues regarding social equality, knowledge about the environment, community based economics, diversity, sustainability, feminism, and decentralization of political power. They also believe in universal health care, solving poverty, tuition free public colleges, and protecting voters’ rights from fraud inside the system. Now that you know what they stand for, we will be diving into their presidential candidate, Jill Stein.
Jill Stein is a physician who graduated from Harvard and served on the Lexington Town Hall from the Second District. She served on the town hall from 2005 through 2011. As with the rest of the Green Party, her platform mainly springs off of saving the environment and worker’s rights. Her policies and stances on controversial topics such as GMO’s and vaccines leave many details to be desired. According to Forbes and The Washington Post, Jill Stein had this to say about vaccines “people do not trust a Food and Drug Administration, or even the CDC for that matter, where corporate influence and the pharmaceutical industry has a lot of influence.” Believe it or not, the FDA isn’t owned by corporate lobbyists, in fact, most of the people on the FDA Vaccine Certification Board are professors and doctors. If Stein’s argument sounds familiar, then you’ve probably heard anti-vaxxers state a similar argument. To add insult to injury, according to Forbes and the Washington Post, Stein had this to add “They should be … what shall we say … approved? … by a regulatory board of people we trust.” I find it disappointing that a physician who graduated from Harvard University could be so ignorant about the regulatory boards currently in place regarding vaccines. Stein has also advocated for a temporary ban on GMO’s, according to her own website and CNN. GMO’s, however, have been proven safe to eat by scientists from the National Academy of Sciences Engineering and Medicine division. Stein has stated during talks with teachers that she believes children should not be exposed to the current number of screen time they are now, which is a valid point. Holding a screen in front of your eyes all day long reduces your ability to see long distances. Having children play games exclusively on tablets reduces motor control and coordination as well. Stein, however, takes this one step further. She states that “we should not be subjecting kids’ brains to especially that.” Jill Stein’s comment on “Wi-Fi sickness” contradicts one of the Green Party’s key values, which is universal access to internet. Moreover, the WHO concluded in their own study that “No adverse health effects are expected from exposure to them”. Further going against Stein’s argument, the Journal of Psychosomatic Research published a study regarding alleged “Wi-Fi Sickness”. Doctors placed a fake Wi-Fi router next to half of the participants, while the other half had nothing. 82% of the 76 participants who sat next to the fake Wi-Fi router “complained of anxiety, head pain, and a tingling feeling,” according to Big Think. Of course, this is impossible considering the Wi-Fi router wasn’t functional. As highlighted before, it is disappointing that someone who went to one of the top schools in our country is unable to provide accurate commentary on something as vital as our nation’s health.
If you did know Jill Stein before this article, you probably know about her plan to cancel student debt. In an interview with The Young Turks, Stein explained student debt “should be canceled in the same way that the debt of Wall Street was canceled, essentially writing it off as a digital ‘hat trick,’ which is done in the form of quantitative easing.” She justifies this point as a similarity to what was done for Wall Street during the 2008 Economic Crisis. The problem is that it’s not, just the opposite, actually. Quantitative easing was an oddball plan used by the Federal Reserve in order to try reinvigorating the economy. It involved buying debt owed by the banks (the money that banks would pay the government), not owned by the banks (the money that people pay back to banks). During the Wall Street Bailout, the Federal Reserve bought up what banks needed to pay back to the government. What she is proposing is buying what the people owe to the banks. Either Stein doesn’t understand what quantitative easing is, or she’s purposely lying to anyone who will listen to her in order to get more votes. Ignoring the fact that Stein uses the wrong economic term, there are several other issues with her plan. First off, it’s expensive. Student debt has ballooned to about 1.25 trillion dollars, according to Slate Magazine. To put that into perspective, that’s more than the current federal budget. It’s also enough to fund Social Security for 78 years, according to that same Slate article. The majority of student debt (39%) is owed to “For-Profit” schools, according to a Brookings Institution writer. Students who drop out of college are also more likely to fall behind on their payments, or default. About 30% of all people who take out a student loan drop out of college, according to The Atlantic. This mountain of student debt primarily affects minorities who have a low wage, compared to the rate they pay. What’s even more unfortunate is the lack of people signing up for government programs. According to The Atlantic, these help make paying student debt a more manageable mountain. Income-Based Repayment (IBR) and its newer cousin Pay as You Earn help regulate the amount of monthly payments based on earnings. Another problem is that the small number of people who use this are in the top 15% of debt holders. These debt holders owe an average of fifty-five thousand dollars, according to The Atlantic. While this might not actually sound like a bad thing, these are the people who earn the most money in order to pay their loans. The people who are struggling to pay their loans are the ones who are in the least amount of debt, but aren’t making enough or aren’t able to properly manage their debt. Jill Stein, unfortunately, does not seem to be aware of this fact.
While many people would be happy to welcome a new, third party candidate, most people are not willing to see ignorance and pseudoscience as the party platform. It’s great to see a political party that is so focused on trying to make the world better above all else. However, before the Green Party can become something to be taken seriously, they need to find someone who has knowledge and legitimate solutions regarding the issues facing this country today.
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