Watch his remarks here.
Remarks as Delivered in Chicago
Chicago, IL — “AJ, thank you – and let me thank everyone here at Olive-Harvey for hosting us. Didn’t AJ do a great job? Another round of applause for her. I think she has a bright future if she chooses to stay at McDonald’s.
“But I should admit that I am more of a Subway sandwich guy. I could have their B.M.T.’s every meal for the rest of my life – no oil or cheese, extra vinegar, please.
“It’s great to be here on the South Side of Chicago. And even though the Bulls aren’t having a great season, it could be worse: you could be a Knicks fan.
“This really is a great city, and I’ve always enjoyed my time here. But let me say at the outset that my thoughts this morning, and I’m sure yours, are with the men and women in uniform serving in Iraq and the Middle East.
“I know that a young Army specialist from this area was killed this week during an attack on his base in Kenya. And I know all our prayers are with him. So if we could have a moment of silence just to think about him.
“That’s a tragedy – and now I think we face even more extreme threats from Iran. The situation is still unfolding, but in any crisis it’s imperative that the Commander-in-Chief think through all the implications of his actions or her actions, with the help of her or his top advisers, and not act rashly or recklessly. I certainly hope the president does that. But unfortunately, as we all know, that’s just not in his nature.
“That’s one of the reasons why I spoke at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia back in 2016, and I said that he did not have the characteristics that we need as president. And at a time when our nation should be unified, he has spent three years dividing us by party, by race, by ethnicity, and by religion.
“A few months ago, President Trump was in Chicago to give a speech, and as he usually does he equated immigrants with criminals. He often does that and it’s become almost normal. Well, I’ve got to tell you, it is not normal. And we can’t ever let it become normal.
“The fact is, immigration doesn’t threaten America. It strengthens America. You’ve seen that right here in Chicago. I’ve seen it in New York. And you see it in towns around the country, and they’ve all seen it.
“Today, I’d like to address another fact that the President tries to deny: the U.S. economy is working just fine for people like me, it really is. But it is badly broken for the vast majority of Americans.
“The president says this is the greatest economy in the history of America. Well yeah, the stock market is at an all-time high. But almost half the country doesn’t own any stocks. And the top 10 percent own about 85 percent of the market. So nearly all the gains from the market are going to a select few. That’s not fair – and it’s not sustainable either. We have to change it – and as President, I promise you I will.
“The President also talks about record low unemployment. But 53 million Americans – nearly half of all the workers – are making an average of only $10.22 per hour, and earning $18,000 a year before taxes. That’s not enough to escape poverty – no less raise a family.
“But has President Trump pushed for an increase in the minimum wage? No he has not. It’s been the same – $7.25 – for ten years. Ten years.
“Think about what happened during that ten years. The cost of the average home has gone up by more than $100,000, and the cost of health care has gone up $3,000 per person.
“If the economy were actually healthy, Americans would be seeing it in their pockets. But they’re not. And changing that will be one of my top priorities.
“Now, that starts with raising the national minimum wage to $15 an hour, which we’ve done in New York. And expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit, and increasing the child tax credit so that no American worker has to raise a family in poverty.
“In fairness, our country faces serious economic problems and faced them before President Trump took office. That’s one of the reasons he won in 2016. He promised to fix the problems, but instead I think he has made them worse. He has broken promise after promise.
“Let me just jog your memory for a moment: remember when Candidate Trump promised to deliver for regular people – the forgotten Americans? Well, President Trump passed the biggest tax cut in history, and nearly all of the money went to people who did not need it, like me.
“Remember when Candidate Trump stood up in front of the General Motors factory in Lordstown, Ohio and he promised to keep it open? In 2018, that plant closed down.
“Remember when Candidate Trump promised to save the American steel industry? Well, he didn’t. And before Christmas, U.S. Steel announced that it would cut up to 1,550 jobs in Michigan.
“Remember when Candidate Trump promised to protect the American farmer? Well, last year farmers lost billions of dollars, and many lost their farms, as a direct result of the tariffs and trade wars.
“Again and again, Candidate Trump made economic promises to working people that he had no intention of keeping, and no ability to do that. And I’m sure he has broken all of them.
“All across America, there are people and places that are getting shortchanged by an economy that is failing to spread opportunity and by a president who doesn’t keep his word.
“Today, the share of national income going to workers – rather than to investors – is near an all-time low. Too much wealth is in too few hands, and too few places as well. We have an economic inequality that is distributed unfairly across this country.
“Yes, there are a handful of big cities that have boomed, including New York and Chicago. But too many people in the boomed regions are excluded from sharing in the prosperity. And much of the rest of the country has been in stagnation and hollowing out of the middle class.
“We can’t continue to have opportunity and good jobs clustered in a small number of places. That geographic inequality is a prosperity divide that President Trump is making worse.
“But it’s not enough to criticize just President Trump. We need to elect someone who can actually deliver real change – not just talk about it – and create more good jobs, with good salaries, all across America than just make some empty promises. And that’s why I’m here today.
“We need to build what I call an All-In Economy. It’s an economy where all Americans benefit from good jobs and rising incomes all across the country.
“I know we can do that. Why? Because we did it in New York City in the 12 years I was Mayor. And I want to help communities all across the country do it as well.
“I know how to create jobs and build businesses not because I played a business leader on a TV show, but because I’ve actually been one in real life.
“So today, I’m announcing a concrete strategy for spreading good jobs and good pay to places where they don’t exist now.
“My strategy starts with a basic premise: the federal government is grossly under-investing in America – and Americans. Well, I believe in America and I believe in the American spirit. And I have always believed that success starts with investing in people and place where they live and work.
“Let me talk about places first. What I’ve been doing is building my business, and that’s what I’ve done in running New York City for 12 years, and that’s what I’ll do if I have the honor of serving as the next president of the United States.
“First, let me begin with investments that I’ll make in places. When I was elected mayor just a few weeks after the terror attacks of 9/11, our city was in tatters and many people doubted its future.
“The question everyone asked us was can you rebuild Lower Manhattan? Our answer was yes, but that’s not enough. So we set out to rebuild every area of the city that had been hurt by the same kind of factory closures and industrial decline that places across America have been experiencing for a long time.
“One of the first things I did was cancel a taxpayer subsidy for a new stock exchange building, and we developed a citywide economic plan that focused on creating good jobs in neighborhoods outside of Manhattan. And you know what? It worked.
“We did it by investing in places – particularly places that had been abandoned and neglected. We built new infrastructure – like water and sewer lines – where they didn’t exist. We expanded the mass transit system so you could get from where the jobs were to where you could afford to live.
“We offered incentives for companies to transform old industrial areas into advanced manufacturing centers. We built affordable housing which helped revitalize local business districts. We helped communities that lacked access to capital to get it – so they could start small businesses. We offered land to attract a major new university campus.
“And through all that, we spread good jobs to every corner of the city, and places that had been abandoned and shortchanged for all too long.
“I know we can do that across America, especially in small towns, rural areas, and neighborhoods like this one where good jobs are all too scarce.
“The single best thing we can do to raise economic growth and income is to dramatically increase public investment in America, especially in areas of the country that have been hurt by globalization and automation, and that the federal government has ignored for all too long.
“Other countries are already doing this. In fact, one of the reasons that the Chinese economy has seen such strong growth is that they are catching up to us in R&D investment, and this at a time when Trump has been trying to cut back.
“That’s the problem: Trump wants to take on China, but he doesn’t know the first thing about how to do it effectively.
“Yes, we need to hold China accountable for exploiting the world’s trading systems and stealing American intellectual property. But we also have to try to get them to change their undemocratic practices and human rights violations.
“Having said that, we won’t beat China with trade wars that hurt our own farmers and factory workers. We’ll beat China by investing in America. And that’s what we should do, and that would be my program.
“We’ll spread that investment across America through a new effort to build something that we’re going to call job factories. I will increase spending on R&D by over $100 billion through agencies like the National Institutes of Health, DARPA, the Department of Defense, the National Science Foundation, and new programs that will advance innovation in manufacturing, agriculture, and other industries.
“Now those job factories won’t typically be new physical plants. Instead, they will be investments built on strengths that already exist in communities. We’ll help local partners tap into the potential of the economic engines that already exist within them, because we don’t have the time to do something where the game plan is to do something 10 and 15 years from now.
“People need jobs right now, and so if you have a tradition of manufacturing or farming in your area, we’ll help you grow new businesses right there. If you have a good hospital system, or a good university, we’ll help it become an even stronger job creator. But we won’t let them get hijacked by a few financial gamers, the way that federal opportunity zones have been.
“Done right, this is the best way to help a community’s economy – not five, ten, or twenty years down the road, but immediately. Because the key to creating good jobs isn’t tearing everything down and starting from scratch. We just don’t have the luxury of doing that. It’s figuring out what strengths communities have – and building on them. And that’s what we did in New York.
“By doing that, we’ll pave the way for technological and scientific breakthroughs that will create good jobs locally – and all across the country in everything from green energy and sustainable agriculture to advanced manufacturing and public health. That’s why we call them job factories – because that’s what those investments will produce: jobs.
“Let me just give you a quick example of how it could work using a city that I’m going to later today. I’m going to Akron, Ohio, and even though Akron lost 40,000 manufacturing jobs over the past 40 years, Akron has as much potential as ever. Goodyear is headquartered there, and it conducts R&D there. Why? Because the local workforce has decades of experience in industry.
“In addition, the University of Akron’s polymer and engineering program is one of the best in the world.
“By working with local leaders to invest in Akron’s strengths, we think we can turn that into a job factory for advanced manufacturing for the region. Companies will go there because the people that are there are well educated and want to work hard, and the community wants to welcome new people in. We just need to give them a little bit of help to advertise it and get people to come, and maybe a little subsidy here and there.
“We can do that not only in Akron – but we can do it in communities across this country. And as a precondition to receiving funding, I’ll make sure that local governments will have to show that they have concrete job creating projects for all communities in the region – including women and people of color – who will participate in this growth, and benefit from it.
“Also, they will have to have a public schedule as to when and where those jobs will be so the press can hold our feet to the fire so it’s just not another announcement. We’re going to make sure everyone knows when we create those jobs and how long they last. For too long the scam of promising something and delivering nothing has just kept us going downhill, and we’ve just got to turn it around.
“Now, investing in places to spur more good job growth also means investing in their infrastructure, and that’s where government can come in.
“As a candidate, Donald Trump promised that he would transform the nation’s infrastructure – but he’s done nothing. It’s another broken promise that is hurting our country.
“I have a long track record of investing in infrastructure. As president, I will improve and expand roads and bridges, water systems, and the other infrastructure, just as we did in New York.
“And in rural areas, we will provide every single American with access to high speed internet through wireless, fixed broadband, and rapidly emerging satellite services that are getting better and better, thanks to new technologies and investments from new entrants into the field. By investing in infrastructure and R&D, we’ll create good jobs that pay well.
“So second, let me talk about people. We need to make sure that the people who need those jobs most can actually do the work, so let’s move about talking from places to investing in people, because too many Americans just don’t have the support and opportunities that my generation had.
“Growing up, my father never made more than $6,000 his best year of his life. I was luckier. Fifteen or 20 years later my first job paid $9,000 a year and it lasted for 15 years until I got fired. But as my mother once told me, we never knew anyone whose name was in the newspaper unless it was in the crime or obit section. So we didn’t have any influence. We went out, and I followed my mother and father and they taught me hard work and honesty.
“Back then if you remember, even a high school diploma was enough to have a good career, buy a house, raise a family. None of us ever worried our jobs would be automated out of existence, it just wasn’t a concept that we thought about. But over the past few decades, technology has eliminated millions of good-paying jobs across our country, and that’s a trend that is continuing.
“We have to tackle this challenge head-on – and not by promising to bring back jobs that are gone forever, as President Trump does. We have to make job training and re-training for the new era. Jobs have to be a national priority – and I will make them so.
“We have to invest in our community colleges, like this one, so they can connect more Americans to good paying jobs – and I will do that.
“We have to lead a major expansion of apprenticeship programs – and I will do that.
“The dignity of a good job with good pay is so important – and I’m going help all Americans get the skills they need to get those jobs, and with hard work let them share in the American Dream. Too many Americans don’t have the support and opportunity that my generation had, and we’ve got to make sure that we expand that opportunity.
“As president, on my first day in office, I will sign an executive order streamlining the 46 existing training and re-training programs – and bringing them under one umbrella.
“I will also ask my Vice President, whoever he or she may be, to directly oversee the reorganization publicly so everyone can measure the results – and hold their feet to the fire, along with mine.
“And I will expand and improve the Trade Adjustment Assistance Program to cover workers who have lost their jobs due to new technology.
“But sometimes, training isn’t enough. Last week, I met a woman named Jackie from Toledo who worked at Chrysler for 13 years before the company downsized. She took the buyout and used the money to get a Master’s Degree in Public Health because she’s already had a background in engineering, and because she knew health was a growing field.
“Since graduating, she has sent in 75 applications to employers but she hasn’t gotten one call back. Not one. Zero. Nada. Zilch. Nothing. Something is wrong. I was with this woman and I thought that she really is qualified. She is qualified so much that after hearing her story I told her she could put me down as a reference. Whether that’s going to get her a job or not, I don’t know. The problem she faces is that she doesn’t have a network – and it’s hard to break into a new industry.
“My plan will connect people to available career advisors and navigators who will help people like Jackie not just get a degree or credential, but to get a good job and raise their incomes.
“Now I know this strategy can work. Why? Because my foundation has already used it to help low-income high school students graduate and go to the top colleges in the country. We know how to make those connections between student applicants and good schools – and using a similar model to connect job applicants and employers I think is a no-brainer. It’s another example of how using proven techniques in a different but comparable setting to do things to help workers today.
“One of our most valuable allies in this work will be community colleges like this one – and we will make a major investment in their capacity to prepare students for good jobs and connect them to those industries.
“We will form partnerships with governors to align community college curriculums and standards with the skills that lead to those good jobs. Programs like these have been found to boost future earnings for students by as much as 30 percent.
“But many students are unable to enroll in them because they can’t afford the up-front costs. So we will end restrictions on federal Pell grant money for short-term training programs. That will make a big difference. We’ll also restore access to Pell grants for those in prison so that they can return to their communities ready to make a living and support their families and stay out of that turnstile justice that leads people down a slippery slope from which they never recover.
“Community colleges were an essential part of spreading opportunity in New York. We created a program that doubled the graduation rate for low-income students – and that’s why President Obama embraced it and helped other cities create similar programs.
“I will do something else that’s been proven to work almost immediately. Sometimes the best education comes from on-the-job training – but right now there are very few apprenticeships in the United States. Apprenticeships have been proven to work in countries like Germany, and England, and Switzerland. There, you go to work for the company and they train you because what do they get out of it? They get great employees who they know and who know their systems.
“Here in the United States, we do have an apprentice program. It’s tiny and it doesn’t work very well.
“We will dramatically scale that up. The effort to increase apprenticeships across the country can also be helped by subsidizing wages to give employers more incentive to opt in. The objective is to create a million of them every year by the year 2030, and I think we can do that.
“This will be good for workers who get training and experience and will open doors for their careers. And it will be good for employers who will have more access to more employees who can do the jobs that they need. We’ve got to make sure that the employers benefit out of all of these programs as well or they’re not going to be here, and then the jobs that we want to train people for aren’t going to exist.
“Helping American workers adjust to the changing economy also means making sure they have the flexibility to take care of their family and themselves. I will work to guarantee paid sick leave and paid family leave for all workers, just as we do at my company. At my company, one of the things that we’ve done is give 26 weeks of maternity or paternity or caregiver care, which makes a big difference.
“And as president, I will support the right of all workers to organize and bargain collectively if they so wish, including gig, contract, and franchise employees.
“Now, I know a lot of presidential aspirants say they’re going to create good jobs. But for me, creating good jobs is not something I just talk about. It’s something I’ve spent my whole career doing. First working for somebody else, then with my own company, then for the City of New York.
“Others shake their fists and point to scapegoats and make promises that they can’t deliver on. I think we’ve had enough of that. I believe we need a President who’s actually done it – and who knows how to get things done. That’s the job of being president. And that’s the message I think we need to replace Donald Trump.
“He’s counting on the economy to lift him to victory – and he’s hoping to face a career politician who’s never created any jobs. Well let me tell you, I’m going to take him on over the economy – and I won’t let him get away with selling the American people more empty promises.
“So I hope you’ll join me because this really is an election that we cannot afford to lose. Thank you, and I look forward to having the chance to meet and talk with you.
“Just remember, this is the most wonderful country in the world. We have young men and women overseas trying to make sure that we don’t lose that. We should make sure that we don’t lose it domestically.
“God bless and thank you.”