Oct 11, 2020
Joe Biden Erie, Pennsylvania Speech Transcript October 10
Joe Biden delivered a 2020 campaign speech on October 10 in Erie, PA. Read the full speech transcript here.
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Joe Biden: (00:03)
Hello, hello, hello, hello. Thank you, thank you, thank you. It’s good to be back in Erie. I want to say hello to all of Erie. But mainly Mr.Mayor, City Council President Horton, and all local elected leaders who are joining us here today. And to your next Senator, Julie. We need to turn out and support for Democrats down the line here in Pennsylvania and win back that Pennsylvania state Senate. Folks, look. I want to thank you President McManus for coming out, you’ve been a good friend a long time. And for everyone at the UA for hosting this incredible training facility. I’m so grateful to have earned UA’s endorsement. You have over 355 proud plumbers, pipe fitters, and more behind me then I can possibly thank you for.
Joe Biden: (00:58)
Also, want to thank Rick for sharing his story with us today. And for being part of a conversation this year where he shared a story with America. And Rick, Delaware is thought of as being a great corporate entity, and chemical facilities, and all those things. But we have a $4 billion, as you probably well know, agricultural industry in the Delmarva Peninsula. It’s a big deal and a lot of farmers are being hurt really badly, really badly. Farmers all across the country have been gutted by the president’s broken promises and reckless trade war. But our farmers, just like our union members and anyone who actually does an honest day’s work, see him and his promises for what they are. Rick, I want to thank you. And I think you put it best in the op-ed you wrote last year. You said, “It’s a bunch of hot air and cold wind.”
Joe Biden: (01:55)
Folks, this is it. Election’s here. The choice couldn’t be more stark. The stakes couldn’t be higher. So many Pennsylvanians are facing hard times right now. After my debate in Cleveland last week I took a train. That’s what I’ve ridden a lot, an Amtrak train. From northeastern Ohio into Pittsburgh and Greensburg, Latrobe, Johnstown. And I heard the same stories everywhere, I’ve been hearing all around the country. You’re trying your best but it never feels like enough. You’re not looking for a handout. You’re just looking for a fair shot. That’s how my dad felt when we had to leave Scranton after it was no work, when coal died. He was in sales, he wasn’t a guy who was in the coal mines. Although my great-grandfather was, they tell me, the first Irish Catholic State Senator ever elected in the state of Pennsylvania, and he was a mining engineer. But I remember him saying he made that walk, which a lot of you know here in Erie.
Joe Biden: (02:59)
I call it the longest walk any parent has to make up a short flight of stairs to tell his kids we can’t play in that ball camp, can’t play in Green Ridge Little League anymore. You can’t go to St.Paul’s, you got to leave. Dad doesn’t have a job. I’m going to have to leave. I remember him taking us home, my mom and three children at the time, home to my grandpop’s. And I don’t know how much pride it must’ve cost him to ask my grandfather, “Will you take care of Jean and the kids? I’ll be back.” And he started commuting every weekend 157 miles down to Delaware where he had grown up. We ended up in a steel town called Claymont, Delaware. Then we went to Wilmington. My dad got a sales job and he worked hard. Took about four years to build a decent middle class life and be able to buy a home.
Joe Biden: (03:46)
But it wasn’t easy for him, but he had an expression. He said, “Joey, I don’t expect the government to solve my problems, but I at least expected them to understand my problems.” America deserves a president who understands what people are going through. You’re facing real challenges right now. And the last thing you need is a president who exacerbates them. More than 210,000 are dead, as was pointed out. We lose anywhere from 700 to a thousand people a day, dead. The president was told a little while ago… When he was told a 100,000 people a day were dying, you know what he said? He says, “It is what it is.” Well, it is what it is because he is who he is. More than 7.5 million Americans have been infected, and counting. 175,000 cases right here in Pennsylvania. My heart goes out to all those families who, like any of us have lost a child’s spirit, look at that empty chair at the dining room table tonight where somebody you love used to sit.
Joe Biden: (04:53)
My heart goes out to everyone struggling in this economic crisis. Simple neglect on the part of this administration. There’re 11 million jobs lost since the beginning of this crisis and still have not come back. Temporary layoffs have turned into permanent layoffs. We’re still down 674,000 manufacturing jobs nationwide since the crisis started, and more than 40,000 manufacturing jobs here in Pennsylvania. The Trump presidency will be the first presidency since Hoover that is going to end up leaving office with fewer jobs than when he came into office. Since Hoover. But President Trump has laid… He talks about this V recovery. We went down real quick, we’re coming up quick. Well, that’s what you call a K-shape recovery. Those folks on the top of the K are doing very, very well. Recession at the top, those folks, everything’s going up for them. But everybody in the middle and below is going down, seeing things get worse.
Joe Biden: (05:57)
It means essential workers who sacrificed to keep us going through this pandemic are being left behind by the most unequal recovery in American history. And it means while the top… This is a fact, which is startling to me when I found it out. The top 100 billionaires, in the middle of this pandemic they made $300 billion additional dollars. Hear me now? 100 individuals made $300 billion this year. And what’d the bottom half get? They got the K, they got the slide down. Because the fact is, the President can only see the world from Park Avenue. I see it from Scranton. I see it from Claymont, for real. You all know what I’m talking about. You all see it from Erie. That’s why my program to build back better is focused on working people.
Joe Biden: (06:53)
Think about it. Think about all the people you know who got up this morning and had the following conversation. “Honey, I know we need four new tires, they’re bald. But we can’t do it now, we got to wait. You got to wait.” Or “I know we just lost our insurance, but we’re going to be okay. We’re going to hang in there.” Or having to make a choice, literally a choice, between getting the prescription or putting food on the table. If I said to that 10 years ago you’d look at me like I was writing a fiction story, but that’s the truth. Those are decisions people are making today, right now.
Joe Biden: (07:34)
Independent analysis put out by a highly respected Wall Street firm of all things, Moody’s from Wall Street firm, projects that my build back better plan’s going to create 18.6 million jobs in four years. That’s harder now. That’s not a liberal think tank, that’s Moody’s. And it’s going to create seven million more jobs than the president’s economic plan. And a trillion dollars more in economic growth than the president’s plan. And here’s how it works, I’m going to raise taxes. I’m not going to raise taxes on anybody making less than $400K, but you won’t pay a penny more. But those making more than that, I’m going to ask them to finally begin to pay the fair share. I’m going to ask the big corporations and the wealthy to begin to pay. 91 of the fortune 500 companies today pay zero tax. You hear me? Zero tax. How many of you pay zero tax? And billionaires are paying at a tax rate… Because it’s all investment money, they’re paying a lower tax rate than you pay if you have a job as a plumber.
Joe Biden: (08:46)
How can that be? So I’m going to raise. The money I’m going to raise, we’re going to allow us to invest in working people and grow the middle-class back, and make sure everyone comes along this time. My plan is about making the kinds of investments that are going to stimulate economic growth. To get it back to full employment fast and help us build back better than before. We’re going to create millions of good paying union jobs. I had the honor of being the guy in charge of the Recovery Act when the Great Recession occurred. The president turned to me, he used to love doing it at State of the Union messages. He’d never tell me what he was going to do. And he turns, says “And Joe, sheriff Joe’s going to take care of that $800 billion.”
Joe Biden: (09:28)
Well, we got it done less than two tenths of 1% waste or fraud. And we built back the longest expansion in American history. Manufacturing and technology, making sure we’re going to make the future made in America. And infrastructure, building: airports, schools, affordable housing, upgrading the water and pipes. Making sure it’s sustainable and resilient, built, laid down by union plumbers and pipe fitters here in Pennsylvania and across the country. And clean energy, we’re going to upgrade four million buildings with weatherization of two million homes. And it’s estimated that’ll create one million good paying jobs, union jobs. Union jobs to be filled by men and women like in this local here. Look folks, we’re in a situation now where if you take a look at this build back better… I’m going to take a second. But I hope I don’t take too many seconds before it rains here.
Joe Biden: (10:28)
Number one, we were talking about it, Mr.President, a little while ago. He promised an infrastructure plan in 2016, ’17, ’18, ’19. He didn’t do a damn thing. Not one single bit. He promised to relieve main street slammed by the recession. But guess where that money went, that the Congress passed? It went into the Mar-a-Lago crowd, the wealthy. See, I’m not joking. It didn’t go to small businesses. It didn’t go to the people that needed it. My plan to revitalize American manufacturing infrastructure says we’re going to use by American. We’re supposed to be only buying American now.
Joe Biden: (11:07)
Well, I’m going to invest $2 trillion in infrastructure and clean energy. We’re going to raise over $3.7 trillion by eliminating that tax cut for the super wealthy. And folks, we’re going to: fix water pipes, pipelines, replace lead pipes, upgrade treatment plants. We’re going to construct 1.5 million new affordable housing units. We’re going to build a $100 billion dollars rebuilding our schools. We’re going to retrofit, which we started in our administration, 4 million buildings; including advanced heating and cooling system. There’s going to be such a race to job creation for unions that you’re not going to believe it, and I really mean this. And by the way, when I did the Recovery Act, which is $800 billion, not one… We had the largest infrastructure project short of Eisenhower’s Interstate Highway Program; since that.
Joe Biden: (12:00)
Not one single solitary dollar went to anything other than a prevailing wage. Had to be a prevailing wage. Look, I’m also going to make sure that corporate America being so kind, wanting to take over registered apprenticeships… You know what that’s all about? You guys spend a quarter billion dollars a year making sure that you have apprenticeships that are the best trained people in the world. Well folks, I’m also going to pass the PRO Act. They’re spending over $2 billion a year trying to keep you from being able to organize around the country. That’s a promise. And also strengthen labor standards, especially OSHA rules. There’s a lot we can do, but it’s not enough to praise workers. We got to make sure they get benefited.
Joe Biden: (12:45)
Folks, look, my dad had another expression. After he lost his job, we moved to Delaware. He’d say, “Joey, a job’s about a lot more than a paycheck. It’s about your dignity. It’s about respect. It’s about your place in the community. It’s about being able to look your kid in the eye and say, ‘Honey, it’s going to be okay.'” The fact is that every time the word climate change comes up Donald Trump thinks hoax. Every time it comes up, I think jobs. Let me be clear, no matter how many lies he tells, I am not, not, not banning fracking; period. We’ll also increase incomes. We’re going to see the burden and the cost with an increased 50, we’re going to make sure. Not prevailing wage. We can’t mandate that, you guys. By the way, I said inside, the other expression my dad had was, “There’s only one way to deal with the abuse of power.” Which corporate America is exercising now. “It’s with power.” And the only power we have is union power. You’re the guys that keep the ball bearings on the other side of the gate from taking everything, and that’s a fact.
Joe Biden: (13:56)
So look, I’ll try to move along quickly here. The fact is that we not ease the burden on the major costs in your life. What’s the average middle-class person fear most? They’re trying to tear down the Affordable Care Act. We’re going to build on it, adding a new health insurance option. A not-for-profit public option, which is going to give private insurers real competition. We’re going to increase the subsidies so premiums are lower and we can afford plans with lower deductibles and lower out-of-pocket expenses. Because we’re going to be able to do that with the money we take back from the super wealthy. We’re going to take on the pharmaceutical companies with a plan that slashes the cost of prescription drugs by 60%.
Joe Biden: (14:39)
Look folks, we’re going to work with states to ensure that every three, four, and five year old has access to free high quality preschool, not daycare. You send them to preschool, there’s evidence of 58% of them will go all the way through. No matter what their background. No matter what poor school, poor neighbor they come from. You start them at age three, they have a 58% better chance of graduating all the way through high school and beyond. We’re going to make sure the low and middle income families will never have to spend more than 7% of their income caring for their young. What’s the comp… Talk to the women around here. I was a single dad for five years. I couldn’t afford help. I thank God I had my mom, and my sister, and my brother to help me with my kids when my wife and daughter were killed.
Joe Biden: (15:24)
We’re going to make four year public college and universities tuition free for families making less than $125,000 a year. And when Erie gets his first new community college to open in Pennsylvania in 27 years, we’re going to make sure that it’s free for anyone who qualifies to get in. That’s a fact. And by the way, that costs a lot of money. That costs $6 billion a year. That’s about as much as we give a tax deduction for race horses. I mean this, we got to have priorities.
Joe Biden: (15:55)
If you’re buying your first home? Look at all people who’ve gotten out of school since the 9/11 generation. Where they got out of high school without a graduation. Where they got out of college, no graduations. Where they thought they had these good jobs waiting for them, but they all got shut down in the Great Recession. And now, what are they doing? They’re unable to make that first home down payment. They’re out there busting their neck. And a lot of them are college graduates, some of them are beyond that. Some of have their graduate degrees and no jobs, or no access. Well, I’m going to make sure you get a tax credit for up to $15,000 for your first time home buyer; period. That’s going to provide you a down payment. We’re going to protect social security, increase benefits for millions of seniors. So he can retire with dignity in some respect.
Joe Biden: (16:40)
Folks look, but if we’re going to get anything done, we’ve got to come together. We’re going to have to vote like we’ve never voted before. Early voting is open here in Pennsylvania. So go vote if you can. And go to IWillVote.com/pa to find out when and where you can vote early. And if you requested a mail in ballot, return it as soon as possible. Make sure you seal it first in the secrecy envelope, and then sign the declaration on the outside of the envelope before you return it. As I said early this week on the sacred grounds of Gettysburg battlefield, I’m running as a proud Democrat, but I’m going to govern as an American president. I’m going to work as hard for those who don’t support me as those who do.
Joe Biden: (17:34)
And I’m so proud in this campaign to have earned the support of so many proud and patriotic Republicans, including Pennsylvania’s former governor and secretary of Homeland Security, Tom Ridge. I want to thank him publicly for his endorsement. We may not in everything. We agree on this. This is a moment to put country above party. Because after all this country’s been through, after all that America has accomplished, after all the years we’ve stood as a beacon for the rest of the world. It cannot be that here in the year 2020 we’ll allow the government of the people, by the people, and for the people, to perish on this earth; as Lincoln said. We can do better. We can do better than what we’ve seen. We can be what we are at our best, the United States of America.
Joe Biden: (18:24)
All this division being pushed by this president, all this stuff about encouraging… Here in the debate we had I ask him to condemn the Proud Boys. He said, “Stand back and stand down, but stand ready.” What’s going on here? This is not who we are. This is not who we are as a country, for real. We can argue like hell, but end of the day we come together. I am more optimistic about America’s chances today than I ever been. Why? Because I think the blinders have been taken off, people have realized what’s really at stake here. I think we can pull this together. I’m optimistic. I really genuinely am.
Joe Biden: (19:06)
But here’s the deal guys, we got to go out and make sure you vote. Because, the only way we lose this is by the chicanery going on relative to polling places. This whole idea… Not a single solitary reasonable person in either party has said mail-in ballots are corrupt. No evidence, but he’s trying to make it sound that way. Trying to put people in polling places. The same guys you saw standing blocking people’s way in Virginia with banners and rifles slung across their shoulders. Folks, it’s not who we are. We’re so much better than this. So I say to you all, God bless you all. Let’s go out and vote. And may God protect our troops. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Appreciate it. Thank you. Where am I going? Am I going this way? Thanks everybody. See you pal, thanks a million. Thank you! The other way, [inaudible 00:20:11].