Rolling Stone has a new interview with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. A few highlights from the interview, conducted last month by Tessa Stuart and Jann S. Wenner:
On the Green New Deal: “It’s an economic issue, and it is a moral issue to pass this planet on to future generations in the best possible way. As a Catholic, I believe that this is God’s creation, and we have a moral responsibility to be good stewards of it. … In any event, to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, we have to put a price on coal, on carbon. It might be a carbon tax. We’ll see, but that’s the reason you have hearings and see what’s possible, what the market will be, what the private sector is willing to invest in, what is working in some other countries, and what we can do working together. … Now, in terms of the Green New Deal [as conceived], that goes beyond what our charge is. Our charge is about saving the planet. They have in there things like single-payer and ... what is it? Guaranteed income? … And then they have, I don’t know if it’s single-payer or Medicare for All. ... It’s kind of, like, a broader agenda. All good values, but nonetheless, not what we hope to achieve with this focused, determined, decision-making: You’re either for the planet or you are not. There is no ‘plan B’ for the planet.”
On Medicare for All: “Medicare for All is not as good a benefit as the Affordable Care Act. It doesn’t have catastrophic [coverage] — you have to go buy it. It doesn’t have dental. It’s not as good as the plans that you can buy under the Affordable Care Act. So I say to them, come in with your ideas, but understand that we’re either gonna have to improve Medicare — for all, including seniors — or else people are not gonna get what they think they’re gonna get. And by the way, how’s it gonna be paid for?
“Now, single-payer is a different thing. … Single-payer is just about who pays. It’s not about what the benefits are. That is, administratively, the simplest thing to do, but to convert to it? Thirty trillion dollars. Now, how do you pay for that? … All I want is the goal of every American having access to health care. You don’t get there by dismantling the Affordable Care Act.”
On income inequality: “The disparity in income in our country is an obscenity. And I’ve said to the members, ‘Everything that we put forth has to be in furtherance of reducing that disparity.’ Whether we’re talking about tax policy, whether we’re talking about investments in education and workforce development, whether we’re talking about infrastructure and how we do it in a way that increases paychecks, or how we do our oversight. We don’t begrudge anybody their success or their wealth. We just don’t like exploitation of the worker.”
On the GOP tax cuts: “The only way our economy is going to be really strong is if you have increased purchasing power of the middle class. It’s not about giving tax breaks to the wealthiest people in our country. That wasn’t supposed to happen. … It is shameful what [Republicans are] doing to the national debt, to enrich people. I mean, again, we don’t resent people their success and their wealth, but then they say, ‘Well, now we have to cover it by cutting Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security and the rest of that, because we have this national debt’?”