Jul 9, 2020
Joe Biden Speech Transcript on Economic Recovery Plan July 9
Joe Biden gave a July 9 speech laying out an economic recovery plan for working class families after coronavirus. He outlined a New Deal-like populist economic plan to counter Donald Trump. Read the full transcript here.
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Joe Biden: (01:09)
Hello everyone. Well, let me start off by saying hello to Theresa Casey, and the guy that hangs out with her occasionally, and Bobby. Thank you. Thanks for being here, and thanks for welcoming me home. And the McGregor family, all of them, including the long suffering wife who’s had to be the sister, like my sister, of a mayor for all those years. But I want to thank them all. And to Mayor Burk and Mayor Canetti, congratulations. And President Eric Dean. Mr. President, as I said earlier, the Ironworkers have been with me my entire career. The first operation to ever endorsed me in 1972. I wasn’t even old enough to be elected Senator and you guys endorsed me and I was able to turn 30 by the time I got sworn in, but at the time I was elected, I wasn’t old enough.
Joe Biden: (02:07)
And it’s great to be home. My dad is some Dunmore, Mr. Mayor and my mom was from Scranton. And I want to thank, I want to thank Bob and everyone here at the McGregor Industries for showing me around this morning, although I knew of this establishment for a long time, it’s only been around a hundred years, but this is the kind of small manufacturing business that demonstrates that the resilience, the creativity, and the staying power of the American industrial base.
Joe Biden: (02:44)
You know, I’m not telling you anything new, but we’re living through a time unlike any other in American history. Our country is facing three simultaneous crises. A pandemic that’s infected over 3 million Americans and cost thus far over 130,000 lives. Bobby, three times a week I’m on the phone with the national folks, the docs who were head of CDC and other places before. The expectation is they think it get as high as 200,000 before it’s over. And it shows no sign of slowing down.
Joe Biden: (03:27)
We have an economic crisis that’s left almost 18 million Americans out of work, with some of the greatest pain inflicted on small businesses and communities of color. A national reckoning on the issue of racial injustices also, that’s long plagued the United States of America, long plagued dark country. It’s come on top of a widening economic inequity and a mounting climate crisis.
Joe Biden: (03:53)
Each of these, each of these crises, is an enormous challenge that’s testing our strength, our patience, our resilience, and our commitment to our core values, and a commitment to one another. But each of these also presents tremendous opportunity for the nation, an opportunity to prepare now for the future threats we know are just around the corner, an opportunity to address fundamental inequities of our nation, the growing gap between the very wealthy and everyone else. It’s an opportunity to finally and fully live up to the words and the values enshrined in our founding documents of this nation, that we’re all created equal, or we’re entitled to be treated equally for the rest of our lives. Not just created equal, to be treated equally.
Joe Biden: (04:52)
We all know the stakes couldn’t be higher. That’s why it’s no time for the divisive politics we’re hearing more about today. Donald Trump may believe that pitting Americans against Americans will benefit him. I don’t. We have a health crisis, an economic crisis, a racial justice crisis, a climate crisis. We need to come together to solve these crises, to solve them as Americans. This is our moment to imagine, and to build a new American economy for our families and for our communities, an economy where every American, every American has a chance to get a fair return for the work they put in, an equal chance to get ahead.
Joe Biden: (05:46)
My grandpa, when I lived with him down in Greenridge, used to talk about, “Everybody, everybody Joey deserves a shot. Just a shot. Everybody.” An economy that is more powerful we can build precisely because everyone will be cut in on the deal this time, as we rebuild the middle class, this time bringing everyone along. Everybody. An economy that says investing in American people and working families is more important than the nearly $2 trillion in tax breaks predominantly handed out to the super wealthy.
Joe Biden: (06:27)
Donald Trump loves to talk and talk and talk. But after three and a half years of big promises, what do the American people have to show for all the talk? He promised a healthcare plan, but never even offered his own bill as he continues to try to wipe out Obamacare in the middle of a pandemic. Instead, he’s fought repeatedly to take healthcare away from tens of millions of people who didn’t have it before, and over a hundred million people who were covered because they had preexisting conditions now that they couldn’t have gotten coverage for before.
Joe Biden: (07:12)
He promised an infrastructure plan to deliver, deliver on jobs and opportunities. We’re rated as having the 23rd, ranked 23rd in the world in terms of our transportation infrastructure. What happened to all of that?
Joe Biden: (07:31)
He promised to bring back jobs, but manufacturing was in recession even before COVID-19. He promised to buy American, then they let federal contractors double the rate of offshoring jobs in his first 18 months.
Joe Biden: (07:49)
I’m going to change that. We’re going to double the tax on foreign profits so we don’t encourage people to leave and build abroad. And when it comes to COVID-19, after months of doing nothing other than predicting the virus would disappear or maybe if you drank bleach you may be okay, Trump has simply given up. He’s waved the white flag. He’s walked away and his failures come with a terrible human costs and deep economic toll.
Joe Biden: (08:28)
Time and again, working families are paying the price for this administration’s incompetence. There’s no other way to say it than incompetence. Small businesses have ended up with the short end of the stick as well. Less than a third of the massive amounts of money for stimulus that the Congress has passed and the Federal Reserve has made available to the private sector, less than a third of it has gone to mainstream businesses, big businesses, the wealthy, Trump’s cronies-
Joe Biden: (09:03)
Big businesses, the wealthy, Trump’s cronies and pals, they’d be the big winners. As Senator Casey can tell you, they wrote in the law there had to be oversight, an inspector general to make sure where that money went. I’m the guy that had responsibility of handing out $84 billion in the Recovery Act in the financial recession. I met once every two weeks with the inspectors general, everything was open. What are we finding out now? That large chains and hotel chains and chains of restaurants, they divided all the restaurants up and treated them as individual restaurants, they’re already making hundreds of millions of dollars. The mainstream mom and pop businesses, they didn’t get the money.
Joe Biden: (09:56)
The truth is throughout this crisis, Donald Trump has been almost singularly focused on the stock market, the Dow and NASDAQ, not you, not your families. If I am fortunate enough to be elected president, I’ll be laser focused on working families, the middle class families I came from here in Scranton, not the wealthy investor class. They don’t need me, but working families do. And this maybe, should be in my view, the guiding principle, we must reward work as much as we’ve rewarded wealth, but now we just reward excessive wealth. You see growing up rich and looking down on people as a bit different than how I grew up up here. Here nobody thought and understood, nobody thought, but also knew that Wall Street bankers and CEOs didn’t build this country. You can just look around your neighborhood or your kitchen table and see who built this country.
Joe Biden: (11:13)
It was at my grandfather Finnegan’s kitchen table in Greenwich that I learned, money doesn’t determine your worth. He’d say, “Joey, No one in the world is more worthy than you and everyone is equally worthy.” My dad used to have an expression, and the people who follow me I know they’re probably tired of me saying it, but he meant it, and I never understood it as well as I have the last 15 years, he said, “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 your community. It’s about being able to look your kid in the eye and say, “Honey, it’s going to be okay.” And mean it.” You know, Mr. President, over 56% of the American people think their kids will never, never reach the standard of living they had.
Joe Biden: (12:14)
And folks, we know who built this country, hardworking folks like you grew up with. And you know who built the middle class? Unions, built the middle class. That’s why we have a middle class. I had an uncle who’d said, ” Joey, your labor from belt buckle to shoe sole.” Well, I’ve taken pride in that because the only way my dad would say you deal with power is with power, with power. In corporate America, and I come from the corporate state of the world, Delaware. The only way to deal with abuse of power is with power and labor, unions are the only one that have that capacity to do it. If that’s raining outside, come on in guys. I don’t want anybody out there… Are you guys in the rain? Or is that not rain? Okay, I thought that was rain. It is, you guys can come on in, don’t stay out there.
Joe Biden: (13:22)
But look, determination, resilience and grit, the strength to get up, no matter how many times you get knocked down, respect for hard work and for the people who do it. These are the values I grew up with and all of you have grown up with. These are the values that I’m going to take with me to the oval office. I’ll get more help to mainstream business and entrepreneurs and ask more of corporate America. Nearly half of the jobs in America are small business jobs. And even back as early as May, some estimates found that more than 100,000 small businesses have been permanently shut down, more have closed and it’s been devastating. So enough is enough, it’s time to reverse the priorities in this country. It’s time to help small businesses, middle class folks manage their way through a pandemic. Let’s help millions of would be entrepreneurs get out from under their debts so they can start businesses.
Joe Biden: (14:35)
And it’s time corporate America paid their fair share of taxes. We thought in our administration we should lower the tax in the high 30s to 28%, [inaudible 00:14:46] lowered it to 21, I’m going to raise it back up to 28, provide hundreds of billions of dollars to invest in the growth of this country. And the days of Amazon paying nothing in federal income tax will be over. Let’s make sure their workers have a power and a voice, it’s way past time we put an end to the era of shareholder capitalism. The idea the only responsibility a corporation has is with shareholders, that’s simply not true, it’s an absolute farce. They have responsibility to their workers, their community, to their country. That isn’t a new or radical notion, these are basic values and principles that helped build this nation in the first instance.
Joe Biden: (15:39)
Now the challenge is to take these fundamental values and apply them to a new economy, we have to build in the years ahead. And folks it’s not sufficient to build back, we have to build back better. That’s what my plan is to build back better. It’s bold, it’s practical and it’s focused on building an economy for the future, not for the past. And it responds to the five truths laid out in this moment of crisis. The first is that we’ve seen in the course of this pandemic that we need to strengthen our industrial base as longterm sources of middle class job creation. Let’s use this opportunity to take bold investments in American industry and innovation so the future is made in America, all in America. I do not accept a defeatist view that forecasted automation and globalization mean we can’t keep well paid jobs here in America and create more of them.
Joe Biden: (16:49)
I do not buy for one second that the vitality of American manufacturing is a thing of the past. America manufacturing was with a functioning arsenal of democracy in WW2, it has to be part of the engine of new prosperity in America now. So today I’m releasing a [inaudible 00:17:09] plan and I think the press has, how to create millions of good paying union jobs, building promising technologies that we need now and we’ll need in the future. And it starts with a pretty basic idea, when we spend taxpayers’ money, when the federal government spends taxpayers’ money, we should use it to buy American products and support American jobs. My plan would tighten the rules to make this a reality, and it goes further, during my first term alone, we’ll invest $400 billion in purchasing products and materials our country needs to modernize our infrastructure, replenish our critical stockpiles and enhance national security. That’s how much the federal government will spend on buying products, the federal government. These funds will provide reliable, predictable demand.
Joe Biden: (18:02)
We’ll provide reliable, predictable demand for products made by American workers and supply chains like this one right here for the American industries. We’ll purchase clean energy technologies, fight climate change, building materials, including steel products, like those produced here, stockpiles of critical goods and equipment and advanced technologies to modernize our government and enhance our national security. To ensure the future is made in America, we need to win not just the jobs of today we have to invest in what the jobs and industries of tomorrow are going to be. The Chinese are spending multiple billions of dollars trying to own the technology of the future while we sit with our thumb in our ear. That means fighting unfair trade practices, curbing the threat of intellectual property by countries like China. America can’t sit in the sidelines in a race to the future.
Joe Biden: (19:03)
That’s why I’m proposing a dramatic research and development investment of $300 billion in my first four years alone to sharpen American’s competitive edge in the new industries where global leadership is up for grabs like battery technology, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, clean energy. That’s the future. And this money will be used purposefully to ensure all of America’s in on the deal, including communities that historically been left out; black, Brown and native American entrepreneurs, cities, and towns everywhere in the region and the country. All told, this’ll be a mobilization of R&D and procurement investment in ways not seen since the great depression and World War two. In addition to bringing back the jobs that had been lost this year, my plan will help create at least 5 million, 5 million new, good paying jobs. As experts have looked at it in manufacturing and innovation and create them right here in the United States of America.
Joe Biden: (20:11)
The second thing we’ve seen the importance of a more resilient economy for the long term. Our President wasn’t prepared for this pandemic. He ignored the detailed briefings and warning that our administration left behind. The threat of a pandemic we told them was coming. We gave all this to his administration and transition, but he shut it all down. He shut down the pandemic office we had inside The White House. He praised the Chinese government, even as the virus was coming to our shores because he was so afraid that they’d walk away from his trade deal that cost us significant amounts of money as well. Let’s not get caught flat footed again. Let’s get prepared to meet the challenges of the climate crisis, that means investing in infrastructure, clean energy, creating millions of good paying union jobs in the process.
Joe Biden: (21:10)
Next week, I’ll be laying out an updated blueprint of how we can build a modern, safe, sustainable infrastructure and the clean energy economy, and how to make sure that the communities that have suffered the most from pollution are the first to benefit from this investment, how to strengthen the union movement, how to make sure that unions are building America, just like they built the middle class.
Joe Biden: (21:33)
Third thing, we’ve seen in this pandemic, the immense burden on working parents, especially women, they’re carrying as if they’re … They find themselves in a position where they’re working or attempting to work, they’re attempting to take care of their children who were young at the same time, they’re aging parents or need help and are suffering from disabilities. It’s been especially hard in this crisis, but let’s face it. It’s always hard. Let’s make it easier to afford childcare and care for our aging relatives, our moms and our dads. Let’s offer more, pay more economic dignity to millions of workers, often women, often women of color who are entrusted to help teach our youngest and care for our oldest at the same time.
Joe Biden: (22:24)
Donald Trump has no idea what it’s like to be a single parent who’s barely getting by, but needs to find childcare. He doesn’t have a clue what it’s like to provide for an aging parent and that’s understandable, but it’s unconscionable that he doesn’t even try to understand or empathize with the struggling of so many millions of people out there like a lot of you. I’ll bet there’s a lot of you out there in the audience, including the press, you understand that personally. I understand it. I know how hard it is to be a single dad who asked to work with two young sons at home. I know what it means to bring your aging parents into your home in the last months of their lives, care for them as well. I’ve done both and I had great help. I have a really close family and I was a US Senator making $42,000 a year at a time. I’ve done both. It’s hard, but it’s so much harder for millions of Americans are trying to make ends meet.
Joe Biden: (23:32)
In the weeks ahead, I’ll be laying out a plan to mobilize American talent and hearts to build a 21st century caregiving and education workforce. The fourth thing we’ve seen is millions of American workers and small businesses. Business owners put their lives on the line to keep their county or should be their country going. We need to treat these folks and their families as essential, not just in times of crisis, but all times. We call these folks the essential worker. I think the blinders have been taken off the bulk of the American people. Those who could afford to stay at home and stay in place. They look out there and they realize it was that grocery store clerk stacking the shelves. It was that nurse’s aid trying to find protective gear to take care of someone that’s on a ventilator. It’s that truck driver. It’s that mail delivery person. The essential worker, you see these ads will be clap for them as they come down the street. First responders. Well, it’s time we not only clap for them, it’s time we pay them.
Joe Biden: (24:44)
The idea that every one of them is not worth at least a minimum of $15 an hour, or spend time with frontline workers and then tell them they shouldn’t have the right to organize and become part of a union, organized for better pay, for paid leave, for benefits, for working conditions, where we insist that they have safe and sanitary conditions to work in. Maybe it is possible for him to ignore it, but I can’t and I won’t. There’s not enough just to praise these workers. We need to pay them.
Joe Biden: (25:22)
Let’s finish the job of Obamacare by ensuring everyone has access to quality, affordable healthcare. Let’s lower the cost of prescription drugs and stop the surprise billing and provide public options to cover the millions of Americans who are without healthcare, by adding it to Obamacare. Let’s make sure everyone has access to good education, regardless of the zip code. Let’s triple the amount of money we spend on Title One schools. Those are Title One schools and you have 18 of them, 18 of Title One schools in Scranton and Dunmore. It means that they’re very low tax basis so they’re having trouble keeping teachers. I’d triple the amount of money we spend on those from $15 billion a year to $45 billion, raising the salaries for the teachers in those schools up to $60,000 a year, making sure every single solitary child, aged three, four, and five is able to go to school, not daycare, Mr. Mayor.
Joe Biden: (26:23)
All the data shows and studies show whether it’s [inaudible 00:26:26] or it’s at University of Pennsylvania, anywhere around, that that increases above 58% to chance that that child will go all the way through and graduate without having any trouble. Imagine what a big difference it will make. I think because of this pandemic, everyone has renewed appreciation for just how hard our teachers work, how important their job is. Let’s give them the resources and the support they need, both to get through this crisis and empower the next generation of American ground breakers. Let’s pay them. These aren’t somebody else’s children, they’re all our children. They’re…
Joe Biden: (27:02)
These aren’t somebody else’s children, they’re all our children. They’re the children. Those children are the kite strings that hold our national ambitions aloft. And our teachers, our teachers are critical. And finally, we’ve seen with horrifying clarity, the cost of systemic racism, the need for a comprehensive agenda for racial equality in our country. It isn’t just about police reform. It’s about dealing with the deep wound of systemic racism in this nation.
Joe Biden: (27:34)
So we need a dedicated agenda to close the wealth gap, expand affordable housing, invest in brown and black and AAPI, Native American entrepreneurs, make real the promise of educational opportunity. For too long the battle for racial equality has divided America. It should be used now to unite us.
Joe Biden: (27:57)
Donald Trump cynically claims that he’s defending Americans’ heritage by embracing the Confederate flag and public monuments of generals who rebelled against and were treasonous against the United States of America, people who tried to permanently rip this nation apart.
Joe Biden: (28:17)
Do you think Donald Trump has any idea that 360,000 Pennsylvanians fought on the side of the Union to defeat the flag, that Confederate flag, including more black soldiers coming from the state of Pennsylvania and any other state in the nation? Do you think he has any clue that 33,000 Pennsylvanians died in the Civil War fighting against everything that flag stood for?
Joe Biden: (28:44)
I see a different America than Trump, one that despite all our flaws and shortcomings and failings, is still, after more than two centuries, dedicated to equality, liberty and human dignity. The challenges we face today are among the biggest than our history. We have to come together in this country to solve them. There’s no other way.
Joe Biden: (29:08)
I got criticized during the primaries by saying I was running for three reasons, restore the soul of America, number two, to rebuild the backbone of the country, the middle class, and three, unite America. And I was told you can’t unite it. If we can’t unite America, we’re done. I’ve long said America is at its best when we act as one nation, one America. That’s the tragedy of Donald Trump being president today. He’s exactly the wrong person to lead at this moment. He’ll not bring this country together. He’s determined to drive us apart, to keep his base in place. He’ll not be president for all the American people, his base. He believes he was elected president only by his base, and he’ll not appeal to the best instincts in the rest of us. He’s determined to stroke and revive the worst moments from our past.
Joe Biden: (30:04)
I have no illusion how tough the road ahead is going to be for our country, but I’m an optimist for one reason above all others. I know the history and the heart of this country, and given a chance, just a chance, ordinary Americans can and have done extraordinary things, and they’ll never ever, ever let their country down given half a chance. They won’t let it down.
Joe Biden: (30:34)
The only thing that can tear America part, and I mean this sincerely, no foreign country, not the way he coddles up to, well, I shouldn’t even get into this, but coddles up to Putin and others. They can’t tear us apart. The only entity, the only thing that can tear America apart is America itself, period. So we just need to remember who we are. This is the United States of America. There is not a single thing, nothing, not a single thing we’ve ever failed to do when we’ve decided to do it together. That’s what this is about, doing it together. We have a great opportunity to build back and build back better. God bless you all. And may God protect our troops. Thank you.