Climate change, erasing student debt top policies for Stein

NEW YORK (AP) — Jill Stein says America is running out of time.

Out of time to avert a climate disaster, to alleviate millions of people from crushing student debt, to end conflicts she says are leading the United States toward nuclear war.

The 66-year-old Massachusetts doctor and Green Party presidential candidate is offering an aggressive set of policy prescriptions in her longshot bid.

“My ultimate goal is to have a world in which we can survive and thrive,” Stein recently told The Associated Press. “I’m in this as a mother on fire, ultimately, and it’s clear there is no future for our younger generation.”

Stein’s proposals are far outside the mainstream of most elected officials, making it nearly impossible she’d be able to push her ideas through Congress. But she hopes her pitch for radical change to voters fed up with America’s two-party system can attract enough support to make the Green Party more viable in future elections.

“Right now this is a realignment election,” she said. “The more powerful we are in the election, the more votes we get, the greater the chances of averting this catastrophic future that is being pursued by both the Democratic and Republican parties.”

A look at Stein’s top issues.

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CLEAN ENERGY REVOLUTION

Stein’s platform centers on an ambitious “Green New Deal” that would push the U.S. toward using only renewable energy — wind, water and solar — by 2030. Stein’s called climate change a threat greater than World War II, and she’s seeking a wartime mobilization to tackle it.

Stein pledges to create 20 million jobs, mainly in public transportation, sustainable agriculture and conservation. She’s estimated the cost at $500 billion. She contends those costs would be recouped because people would be healthier and the U.S. would no longer fight wars over oil.

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NO STUDENT DEBT

On student debt, Stein offers a far more radical vision than Democrat Hillary Clinton, who would make tuition free at in-state public colleges for many students. Stein would wipe out student debt.

Roughly 44 million Americans are expected to hold about $1.3 trillion in such debt, and Stein says she would erase it all. She reasons if the country can bail out big banks and Wall Street, it can afford to bail out students.

Stein also pledges to make public college tuition free.

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HEALTH CARE FOR ALL

Stein advocates a “Medicare-for-all” government-paid health care system. That would mean no co-pays, premiums or deductibles, and mental health, dental and vision care would be included.

She’d also push to make Americans healthier by spending on clean energy and food. She favors mandatory genetically modified organism (GMO) labeling.

PEACE NOT WAR

Consider Stein a pacifist. She advocates a foreign policy based on a “peace offensive,” meaning more attention to international law, human rights, diplomacy and nonviolence.

She proposes chopping military spending by half and closing more than 700 foreign military bases — like several of her proposals, a nonstarter with both parties in Congress. She’d also cut off financial and military support to “human rights abusers” and puts Israel, one of the closest U.S. allies, on that list.

She’d try to nix drone strikes, withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, remove U.S. nuclear weapons from other countries and begin a process of disarmament.

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GOVERNMENT

Whether it’s overhauling the campaign finance system or eliminating the Electoral College to have presidents picked by popular vote, Stein sees a shake-up of government and politics as critical.

Stein supports public financing of elections. She would make voter registration automatic and designate Election Day a national holiday. She’d also push to restore voting rights to people in prison.

And to move away from the two-party system, she supports eliminating “winner take all races,” instead allowing for proportional representation.

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