Edwards touts corporate responsibility as 'Main Street is drowning' ::
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Jennifer Hunter
DES MOINES, IOWA -- He has defined himself as a champion of the poor, and now Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards says he wants to help middle-class Americans redeem the prosperity and jobs that have been lost due to global trade agreements and diminishing corporate responsibility.
"This is way beyond politics," he said in a speech Friday. "This is the moral question of our time.
"The statistics say our economy is growing, that the economic tide is rising. But if you look around, the only thing rising with it are the yachts. Everyone else is taking on water.
"Profits are skyrocketing on Wall Street, but Main Street is drowning under a sea of cost and debt."
The lot of the middle class can be improved, he says, through:
• • Universal, portable retirement accounts that require businesses to enroll workers and contribute. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) has a similar plan.
• • Creating universal health care.
• • Making corporations more responsible by strengthening shareholder rights, creating more transparency, capping huge executive pensions.
• • Creating a Family Savings and Credit Commission to oversee financial service products marketed to families.
• • Making imported food, drugs, toys and other products safer.
"Decades of deregulation in Washington have weakened consumer protection laws, leaving Americans vulnerable to malfeasance and abuse by corporations, banks and lenders," he said.