Oct 3, 2020
Bernie Sanders NH Rally Speech for Joe Biden & Kamala Harris October 3
Bernie Sanders gave a speech at a socially distanced rally on October 3 for Joe Biden in Lebanon, New Hampshire. Read the full transcript of his speech here.
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Bernie Sanders: (00:11)
I have participated in many rallies in my life. This is clearly the most unusual. So, I want to thank everybody for being here for this limited audience event. It means a lot to me, and I know it means a lot to the Vice President. And let me begin by wishing the President and the First Lady a full and speedy recovery from the COVID-19 illness that they are now dealing with. And of course, we wish the same for my colleagues in the Congress, as well as the many, many millions of Americans who are struggling with this terrible disease.
Bernie Sanders: (01:03)
What the last few days have told us is, if there was ever any doubts, it should now be clear that no one, no one, is safe from this pandemic. It doesn’t matter if you are a frontline worker in a hospital. And I want to take a moment to thank all of the doctors and the nurses and the medical personnel who have put their lives on the line to protect all of us. And it doesn’t matter if you are an essential worker in a supermarket, if you are a packing house worker, if you are a bus driver, and it doesn’t matter if you are the President of the United States. Each and every one of us is vulnerable, and we will remain vulnerable until there is a vaccine or a perfected cure. That is the reality, and there is no way to get away from that. There are some who say that we have to make a choice between having a strong economy and protecting the American people from this terrible disease. I disagree. The truth is, we will never have a strong economy so long as this pandemic continues to surge as it is today.
Bernie Sanders: (02:46)
We will never have a strong economy if people are afraid to go to work, afraid to go to school, afraid to shop, or afraid to have dinner at a restaurant, or afraid to do all of the things that we normally do. We will never have a strong economy unless we get this pandemic under control. Is the solution to this crisis to shut down the economy and lock everybody in their homes? No, it is not. We can keep our country moving forward if we do so in a way that is disciplined, not dangerous, that is responsible, not reckless.
Bernie Sanders: (03:47)
Now, I want to ask you and the American people some very simple questions. Which candidate for President has shown that he will be disciplined, that he will be responsible in dealing with this pandemic? Which candidate for President has made it clear that he will develop policies based on the advice of the best scientists in our country and the world? Which candidate for President will develop national protocols and guidelines and model the behaviors we all need to engage in to keep our families, our neighbors, and ourselves safe? Which candidate has the temperament to see us through this difficult crisis?
Bernie Sanders: (04:53)
Let me repeat that point. Which candidate has the temperament to see us through this difficult crisis? I don’t think there is any doubt that the answer to those questions is that in the worst public health crisis of the last 100 years, we need Joe Biden as our president. Now, let me say a word about the economy. Let me be blunt, tell you the way it is. And that is that the working class of this country is in more desperation today than at any time since the Great Depression of the 1930s. That is a fact. It is a sad fact, but that is the truth. Tens of millions of our fellow citizens have lost their jobs as a result of this pandemic. They have lost their incomes. They have lost their health insurance. They have depleted their life savings. They cannot afford to pay their rent or their mortgages.
Bernie Sanders: (06:27)
And in too many cases, in the richest country on Earth, they cannot afford to put food on the table for their kids. Today, the percentage of Americans who lack employment is at the highest level in 45 years, while tens of millions of Americans who do have jobs are often working part-time for starvation wages. And as bad as the economy is in general, it is far worse for the African American and Latino communities. During this pandemic, nearly 60% of Latino families and 55% of African-American families have either experienced a job loss or a pay cut. How devastating is that? Meanwhile, and it is important to make this point because it is not made often enough, while the working class of this country is being devastated as a result of the pandemic, not everybody in America is hurting. The truth is that at a time of massive income and wealth inequality, over the last six months, that situation has gotten-
Bernie Sanders: (08:03)
Last six months, that situation has gotten even more grotesque. In the last number of months, 643 billionaires, that’s not a lot of people, have seen their wealth go up by $845 billion.
Speaker 1: (08:21)
Bernie Sanders: (08:24)
And let me just say that again. While 30 million Americans have lost their jobs, while 12 million Americans have lost their health insurance, while 29 million Americans do not have enough food to eat, while 40 million of our people face eviction, 643 billionaires increased their wealth by $845 billion over the last six months alone. So, that is the state of the economy today. Simple truth is that the very, very rich are getting much, much richer while nearly everybody else is struggling or getting poorer. And let us be very clear, despite what you may have heard over the past four years, the economy has not been very good for the working class of this country.
Bernie Sanders: (09:35)
And sometimes we lose track of that, but here is the truth, you don’t have over the last four years, and I’m not now just talking about the last six months, but you don’t have a strong economy when half of our people are living paycheck to paycheck. Do you all know what living paycheck to paycheck is about? I grew up in a family that lived paycheck to paycheck. Joe Biden grew up in a family that lived paycheck to paycheck. Many of you are living paycheck to paycheck.
Speaker 2: (10:11)
If we got one.
Bernie Sanders: (10:13)
If you got one. It was not a good economy for the last four years when 87 million Americans were uninsured or under-insured, couldn’t get to a doctor when they were sick, and unbelievably and horrifically when 68,000 Americans were dying each year, because they could not go to the doctor when they got sick. Can you imagine that? Richest country in the history of the world, 68,000 of our people die each year, because they can’t get to a doctor when they get sick, because they lack the money and don’t have any health insurance. It is not and has not been a good economy when over 40 million workers were earning starvation wages of less than $15 an hour. And here, again, is the simple truth, nobody in America can make it on eight, or nine, or $10 an hour.
Bernie Sanders: (11:28)
And over the last four years, it has not been a good economy. When a half of older workers, and we don’t talk about this enough, when half of older workers had no retirement savings. Imagine being 55, 60, 65, you don’t got a nickel in the bank and now you’re on retirement. And how do you do that with any shred of dignity? It is not a good economy when over half a million Americans are homeless! Half a million of our people are homeless, including many veterans who put their lives on the line to defend us. And as part of that housing crisis that we are experiencing some 18 million families are spending half of their incomes on housing or more! How do you take care of your basic needs if you’re spending half of your income on housing. But I must tell you, over the last four years, it was again a great economy for the billionaire class and it has become even better for them during this horrific pandemic. My friends, we need an economy that works for all of us, not just the few. And it’s not just in recent years, it’s not just over the last four years. Here is something else that we don’t talk about. Over the last 45 years, there has been a massive redistribution of wealth in America, but sadly, that redistribution has gone in the wrong direction. From the working class, from the middle class, from the poor to the very richest people in this country. Since 1990, while the top 1% saw their wealth go up by $22 trillion, you got that? Top 1% saw their wealth increase by $22 trillion, the bottom half of America saw their wealth actually go down. Today, the average worker in America, and this is really quite astounding when you consider the growth of technology and the explosion in productivity, the average American worker today is now making $34 a week less than he or she did 47 years ago after adjusting for inflation. Can you imagine that? Over a 47-year period, an explosion in technology, increase in worker productivity, and yet the average American is earning less than he or she did 47 years ago.
Bernie Sanders: (14:41)
What I understand, and I believe you understand, and the American people know is that we are all becoming more and more outraged with the corporate greed that we are seeing every single day. The American people are sick and tired of large, profitable corporations shutting down here in America and then moving to low wage countries all over the world. They are sick and tired of seeing CEOs now make 300 times more than their average employees. While they give themselves huge bonuses, they cut back on their health care benefits of their workers. The American people are sick and tired of that corporate greed.
Speaker 3: (15:45)
Yeah, they are.
Bernie Sanders: (15:45)
They are sick and tired all of us paying by far the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs. While at the same time, the pharmaceutical industry makes 10.
Bernie Sanders: (16:03)
… the same time, the pharmaceutical industry makes tens of billions of dollars in profit, year after year after year.
Bernie Sanders: (16:14)
In my view, the American people understand that we can no longer sustain an economy which has more income and wealth inequality today than at any time since the 1920s. When three people own more wealth than the bottom half of this country; three people; that is not acceptable. Under Joe Biden and under a Democratic Congress, we’re going to change all of that.
Bernie Sanders: (16:57)
Together, we are going to end a rigged tax code that allows billionaires to pay a lower tax rate, an effective tax rate, than nurses, teachers, and truck drivers. While at the same time, we have the highest rate of childhood poverty of almost any major country on earth.
Bernie Sanders: (17:28)
So together, what this campaign is about, and what we must do in the future, is bring our people together by the millions to create a government and an economy that works for all of us, not just the 1%.
Bernie Sanders: (17:53)
Now, it is no great secret that Joe Biden and I disagree on a number of issues. That’s a fact. But there is also no question that the economic proposals that Joe Biden is supporting are strong, and will go a long, long way to improving life for working families.
Bernie Sanders: (18:20)
I want to take a minute to talk about those proposals. Because of everything that’s going on in this crazy world today, I think there has not been enough focus on Joe’s economic proposals. Again, they’re not mine, but they are strong proposals. And I want you and the American people to know what they are.
Bernie Sanders: (18:41)
Joe Biden, you, and I know that it is not acceptable that tens of millions of Americans work at starvation wages. People cannot make it on nine, 10 bucks an hour. Joe knows that, you know that, I know that. That is why Joe Biden is going to help us raise that minimum wage to at least 15 bucks an hour.
Bernie Sanders: (19:15)
What Joe understands is that if you work 40 hours a week, you should not be living in poverty. Joe Biden also understands that it is absurd that women make 75 cents on the dollar compared to men. If you’re a minority woman, that’s even lower. That is why Joe is going to make sure that we have equal pay for equal work.
Bernie Sanders: (19:52)
Joe also knows that the path toward a stronger middle class is strengthening trade unions in America. Right now, all across this country, there are millions of workers who want to join unions. But because of the heavy-handed corporate tactics that now exist, it’s impossible for them to do that.
Bernie Sanders: (20:21)
Joe and I and the United States Congress are going to go forward and make it easier for workers to join unions, engage in collective bargaining.
Bernie Sanders: (20:38)
Joe also understands that we have got to stop providing corporate welfare to companies that are throwing American workers out on the street and moving abroad.
Bernie Sanders: (20:52)
It’s absolutely insane that we provide welfare to these guys. Then they say thank you and they shut down factories and plants in America.
Bernie Sanders: (21:02)
There’s something else that Joe understands. And that is that in the midst of the worst economic crisis in our lifetimes, we need to create millions and millions of good-paying union jobs.
Bernie Sanders: (21:20)
The fastest way to do that is to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure; our roads, our bridges, our wastewater plants, our water systems; and to build millions of units of affordable housing.
Bernie Sanders: (21:42)
I’ll tell you what else Joe understands. He understands that we have got to end the international embarrassment of the United States being the only major country on Earth not to guarantee paid medical and family leave.
Bernie Sanders: (22:04)
When a woman in America gives birth, she should not be forced to go back to work after one or two weeks. When a child gets sick, Mom or Dad should be able to stay home, take care of that kid, and not lose a day’s pay.
Bernie Sanders: (22:25)
I want everybody to hear it because it’s not been talked about enough. That is why Joe Biden has proposed at least 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave for working families.
Bernie Sanders: (22:45)
When we talk about babies and we talk about young children, we all know that our current childcare system is dysfunctional, and it is totally inadequate. Our children and their parents deserve high-quality, reliable, and affordable childcare. That is why Joe has proposed universal pre-K education for every three- and four-year-old child in this country.
Bernie Sanders: (23:26)
When we talk about having the best educated workforce in the world, Joe understands that we have got to make public colleges and universities tuition free for the working class of this country. And that we must substantially reduce student debt in America.
Bernie Sanders: (23:57)
And at a time of massive income wealth inequality, Joe Biden understands that we must-
Bernie Sanders: (24:03)
… Equality, Joe Biden understands that we must demand that the wealthiest people and the most profitable corporations in our country start paying their fair share of taxes. No more tax breaks for billionaires while half a million Americans sleep out on the street. No more tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas or shift their profits to the Cayman Islands. Joe also understands that one out of five Americans who walk into their doctor’s office and gets a prescription, they cannot afford to fill that prescription because of the outrageous cost of prescription drugs in this country. And what Joe Biden knows and what I know is that if anybody is serious about healthcare reform, we have finally got to summon the guts to take on the greed of the pharmaceutical industry.
Bernie Sanders: (25:21)
During my campaign for the presidency I took a trip from the Midwest, a few miles into Canada to buy insulin for diabetics. And we’ve got millions of people who were dealing with diabetes and the need for insulin. We went 15 minutes away from Detroit, Michigan into Ontario, Canada. We bought the same damn insulin as sold in the United States for 1/10th the price that was charged in America, 1/10th the price. That is an outrage. And together, Joe knows, I know, and you know that we have to take on the collusion, the price-fixing and the greed of the pharmaceutical industry, so that Americans no longer pay the highest prices in the world for the medicine we need.
Bernie Sanders: (26:18)
Now, as many of you also know, the United States is the only major country on Earth not to guarantee healthcare to all people as a human, right. Meanwhile, despite paying almost twice as much per person for healthcare as the people of other countries, over 90 million Americans today are uninsured or under-insured. And unbelievably, over a half a million people go bankrupt every single year because they cannot afford to pay their medical bills. While Joe and disagree on the best path to get to universal coverage, his proposal will greatly expand access to healthcare and make it more affordable for tens of millions of people across this country.
Bernie Sanders: (27:17)
And here’s an important point that has not been talked about enough during this campaign. He is going to lower the eligibility age for Medicare from 65 to 60, meaning millions of more people will be eligible for Medicare. He will expand Medicare to cover dental core, eye glasses and hearing AIDS. And he will substantially increase funding for community health centers to make sure that millions of Americans get the primary health care and the mental health care that they desperately need. Joe knows that when you talk about healthcare, you’re talking about mental healthcare as well. And by the way, if the Democrats gain control of the Senate, you’re looking at the chairman of the subcommittee on health. And trust me that the healthcare industry and the drug companies will understand a very new reality when that happens.
Bernie Sanders: (28:38)
Let me conclude by once again, thanking all of you for coming out today and for saying that in the wealthiest country, in the history of the world and I want everybody to remember that, sometimes we forget it. We’re not a poor country. We are the wealthiest country, not only in the world, but in the history of the world. We need to create an economy that works for all of us. That works for our children. That works for our seniors. That works for the middle class, for the working class. We need to have a government and an economy that works for all, not just wealthy campaign contributors and the 1%. There is no excuse, none whatsoever, that in our country we have millions of workers today who are unemployed. We can put those workers back to work. There is no reason why over 90 million people lack health insurance or are under-insured. We can provide healthcare to all as a human right.
Bernie Sanders: (29:51)
There Is no reason why we have the highest rate of childhood poverty of almost any major on Earth. And a dysfunctional childcare system. If we love our country, we love our children and it’s high time we had the best educational system in the entire world. Brothers and sisters, at this critical and unprecedented moment in American history, it is absolutely imperative that we stand together, black and white, Latino, Asian, American, Native American, gay, and straight. Those of us born in the United States, those of us who are immigrants. Let us stand together and elect Joe Biden as the next president of the United States. Thank you all very much.