(CNSNews.com) – In his opening remarks during Sunday’s fourth Democratic presidential debate in Charleston, S.C, former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley called climate change “the greatest business opportunity to come to the United States in a hundred years.”
When NBC News anchor and debate moderator Lester Holt asked the candidates what their agenda would be for their first hundred days in office if they were elected president, O’Malley vowed to push for a “100 percent clean electric grid by 2050”:
“First of all, I would lay out an agenda to make wages go up again for all Americans rather than down. Equal pay for equal work. Making it easier rather than harder for people to join labor unions and bargain collectively for better wages. Getting 11 million of our neighbors out of the underground shadow economy by passing comprehensive immigration reform. Raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour however we can, wherever we can.
“Secondly, I believe the greatest business opportunity to come to the United States of America in a hundred years is climate change. And I put forward a plan to move us to a 100 percent clean electric energy grid by 2050 and create five million jobs along the way.
“And third and finally, we need a new agenda for America’s cities. We have not had a new agenda for America’s cities since Jimmy Carter. We need a new agenda for America’s cities that will invest in the talents and the skills of our people, that will invest in CDBG [community development block grants], transportation, infrastructure, transit options, and make our cities the leading edge in this move to redesign and build a clean green energy future that will employ our people.”
According to the Energy Information Administration, 67 percent of the electricity generated in the U.S. in 2014 was from fossil fuels: 39 percent from coal, 27 percent from natural gas, and 1 percent from petroleum.
O’Malley also bragged about signing gun control legislation while he was governor of Maryland.
“I’ve listened to Secretary Clinton and Senator Sanders go back and forth on which of them has the most inconsistent record on gun safety legislation, and I would have to agree with both of them. They’ve both been inconsistent when it comes to this issue.
"I’m the one candidate on this stage that actually brought people together to pass comprehensive gun safety legislation” that included universal background checks and a ban on so-called combat assault weapons, O’Malley said.
“And you know what? We did not interrupt a single person’s hunting season. I’ve never met a self-respecting deer hunter that needed an AR-15 to down a deer.”
The former governor touted Maryland’s “all-payer system” in which insurers are required to pay the same prices to hospitals “based on how well they keep patients out of the hospital.”
However, O’Malley, a former mayor of Baltimore, did not directly answer Holt’s question about what, if any, responsibility he had for the rioting there following the death of Freddie Gray given what Holt called his “tough on crime, so-called zero tolerance policies as mayor.”
“When I was elected mayor in 1999, Lester, it was not because our city was doing well. It was because we were burying over 300 young, poor black men every single year. And that’s why I ran, because, yes, black lives matter.
“And we did a number of things. We weren’t able to make our city immune from setbacks as the Freddie Gray unrest and tragic death showed. But we were able to save a lot of lives doing things that actually worked to improve police and community relations,” O’Malley stated.
O'Malley said his policy prescriptions - including "debt-free colege in the next five years" and "making national service a universal option to cut youth unemployment in half during the next three years" - can be achieved by raising taxes on capital gains.
“All of these things can be done if we eliminate one entitlement we can no longer afford as a nation. And that is the entitlement that the super wealthy among us, those making more than a million dollars, feel they are entitled to pay a much lower marginal tax rate than what’s usual for the better part of these 80 years.
“And if we tax earnings from investments on money – namely capital gains – at the same rate as we tax earnings from sweat and hard work and toil, we can make the investments we need to make our country better,” O’Malley said.