Hillary Rodham Clinton

Economic Policy with Warren Buffett in Omaha, Nebraska - Aug. 1, 2016

Hillary Rodham Clinton
August 01, 2016— Omaha, Nebraska
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Wow! Thank you. Thank you all so much. Wow. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, Omaha. Thank you. Thank you, Congressional District 2. I am so delighted to be back here with so many friends and supporters, and with everyone here today. And especially, I want to thank Warren Buffett for that kind and generous introduction. I've heard Warren called the Omaha Oracle. I call him my friend. He is an American original. I am honored to have his support, and I love the idea that together all of you are going to aim to have the highest percentage turnout of any congressional district in America.

It's great to be here at the North High School—the Magnet School. I had a chance to say hello to your principal, Gene Haynes. And I see scattered throughout the crowd both students and teachers, and I love teachers. Thank you. I also wanted to thank a former colleague of mine in the United States Senate, your former Senator, Ben Nelson. I have to tell you, I've had the best week. Any of you watch the convention? I was so excited to have the opportunity for so many people who care about our country, who have contributed in many different ways, to have a chance to stand before America, and to tell their stories. Because America is story after story. And what I want is to provide the opportunity and the support so that every single American can live his or her best story, can make the most of your own God-given potential.

And after the convention was over, starting Friday morning, Tim Kaine and his wonderful wife Anne—and Bill and I got on a bus and started traveling across Pennsylvania, into Ohio; we visited factories, small towns, bigger cities. We met with so many hard-working people who told us their stories. And they proved every day that Donald Trump is wrong. America is not weak. I agree with Warren. This is the greatest nation on earth, and our best days are still ahead of us.

Now, that doesn't mean we don't have challenges and problems. Of course we do. Right here at home and around the world. But I don't believe there is anything that Americans can't do if we make up our minds, because, you know why? We are stronger together. But as Warren said, too many people haven't gotten a raise since the great crash. There's too much inequality and too little opportunity. Washington is paralyzed by special interests and big money. But don't let anyone tell you we don't have what it takes if we make up our minds to solve our problems. And don't believe anyone who tells you, "I alone can fix it."

When Donald Trump said that in his convention speech, I did a bit of a mental double take. I listened to that speech, 75 minutes of it, and it was like he was talking about a different country. Forgetting about everyone in America who gets up every day and works together. People who make a difference every single day. He's forgetting our troops on the front lines, he's forgetting police officers and firefighters who run toward danger. He's forgetting about doctors and nurses who save lives, and teachers who change lives. He's forgetting about unions who fight for working families, and communities that pull together through hard times.

I grew up in the Midwest. I was born in Chicago, raised outside of Chicago. My dad was a small businessman. I mean, really small. It was mostly just him and occasionally my mother, my brothers, and me. And sometimes he'd hire helpers to get one of his orders out, because he printed fabrics to be made into draperies. And he had a print plant with long tables. He was a very self-reliant man. But I don't think he, for a minute, through his growing up in Scranton, Pennsylvania, through his service as a chief petty officer in the Navy, through his work in business or his raising our family, ever thought to himself, "I alone can fix it."

That's just not the way we were raised. We were raised to get together. We were raised to follow up on the extraordinary example of our founders 240 years ago, in Philadelphia, who came together. You see that across Nebraska. You see people working. I've been in Omaha. I have visited projects, schools, other kinds of nonprofits and institutions where people are working together. That's what we do in America. We see a problem and we say, "We'll fix it together." And that's what we're going to do when we get the White House to move us forward in the direction we need to go.

Now, I know how hard the great recession was. It was a terrible time. The worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. And people in Nebraska worked hard to come back. I think it was a terrible moment. It could've gotten even worse. I believe that a lot of difficult decisions had to be made. And we have come back from that terrible financial crisis. Thanks to the hard work of Nebraskans, Americans, and President Obama, we got out of the ditch we were in. So I think if we're going to solve the problems we have, we ought to be really clear about where we've come from. We now have 15 million new jobs that have been created in the last 7 ½ years. We now have 20 million more Americans who have access to healthcare. We have the highest percentage ever in our history of young people walking across graduation stages to get their high school diplomas.

So I know we've made progress, but I know we shouldn't be satisfied. As Americans, we always have to be asking ourselves, what can we do better? How can we make more progress? How can we help more people? We're still facing tough challenges that developed long before the recession, and they've stayed with us. The economy is not working the way it should for everyone. Starting in Iowa back in April 2015, until the convention this week, I have met so many people who tell me, you know, they don't expect a handout. They don't even expect, you know, life to be easy. But they don't think it should be this hard.

It shouldn't be that people feel like they're out there on their own, like no one cares about them, that they're not respected. That the dignity of their job is not something that we all support. I know a lot of people who feel that way. I bet there are some in this gymnasium who feel that way. Well, here's what I want you to know: You deserve a president who will get up every single day in the White House and do everything she can to give you the chance you deserve to have.

And I will quickly add, as important as it is to have someone who gets what you're going through, I think it's also really important that that person tells you what her plans are for producing results. So if you saw what I said on Thursday night, let me give you the short, punchier version. And it starts by making clear, we do have to rewrite the rules so that our economy works for everyone, not just those at the top. My overriding mission as president will be to do everything I can to help our country create more jobs with rising incomes. I believe anyone willing to work hard should be able to find a job that pays well—enough to support a family.

So in my first 100 days, we are going to break through the gridlock in Washington and make the biggest investment in new, good-paying jobs since World War II. We are going to make the boldest investment in American infrastructure since the highway system. Warren read you some of the quotes from Donald Trump. Well, he has said so many things that I profoundly, vehemently disagree with. And for the life of me, I don't know why someone runs to be president of the United States who thinks and says, we never win anymore. Our country is full of losers. Well, he could not be more wrong. We are going to fix and build the roads, the bridges, the tunnels, the ports, the airports, the water systems we need.

And I want to say a particular word to any of you here from rural Nebraska. We're going to bring diverse economic development to rural communities to support our farmers and others in small towns who keep America going. And one specific way we will do that is to make sure we have an electric grid that can take and distribute energy from clean, renewable sources. In fact, I know, because I've seen them in the crowd, there are a few people from Iowa here today. And your neighbor Iowa is already getting one third of its electricity from clean energy, primarily wind energy. And what I love about that is, they're also giving farmers extra income for hosting the turbines on their farm, and they are taking abandoned factories and actually assembling the wind turbines, putting people to work in Iowa to produce the energy for Iowa.

The other thing we're going to do is finish the job of building out broadband so everybody in America, no matter where you live, has access to the Internet. I don't know how we build a 21st-century economy for our young people if we don't give every home and business access to high-speed Internet connectivity. And I learned something from talking to some of my teacher friends—as I said, I do love teachers, and I'm going to work with you to support you.

And here's what they told me. They told me that a recent survey found 70 percent of our teachers give homework assignments to their students that require them to use the Internet. Now, that makes perfect sense. We want to have a really great opportunity for young people to understand how to be involved with and use the Internet. But here's the rub. We have 5 million kids in America who don't have access to the Internet in their homes. So already they're being left out and left behind. We don't have a child to waste. We need every child to be given an education to prepare them for the future.

So, to me, it's real simple. If we invest in infrastructure, we're going to put millions of people to work, and we're going to lay the foundation for new jobs in the future. The second thing we're going to do is invest in American manufacturing. And here's why. A lot of people say, you know, we can't make things in America anymore. And they think about all of the jobs we've lost because of low wage labor and other problems. Well, here's what I have seen—and I've seen it all over America—I was just in a plant in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. A wire plant called Johnstown Wire Technologies.

And I was talking—it's a plant that's been there more than 100 years. Started off as a steel plant. Now it's making wire products. And I was talking to them, and I said, well, what kind of future do you think you have? And they said, boy, if we get the right support, we've got a great future. We're actually bringing jobs back from China to Johnstown, Pennsylvania. When I was your Secretary of State, I visited 112 countries, and I went to a lot of places that really want American-made products. They're the best, the most innovative. Nobody can outwork or outcompete American workers or American businesses.

So what I want to do—I want to support manufacturers, large and small. And again, I hear Trump talking a big game about—I think he says, putting America first. Well, I don't know what part of "America first" leads him to make Trump furniture in Turkey, not Nebraska. Or Trump ties in China, not Colorado. Or Trump barware in Slovenia, not Ohio. He says he wants to make America great again. Well, he could start by actually making things in America again.

And then just this week we find out he's asking for permission to get visas to bring more foreign workers, which he has used consistently, to work in his country clubs, on his golf courses. And he was asked, I think, on that same interview Warren was talking about—he goes, oh, well, it's very hard to find people. Well, I bet together we could find thousands of people who would like to work at a country club or on a golf course in America.

We're also going to take seriously the education and training of our young people, and people in midcareer. We're going to invest in STEM education, which is part of the mission here. I want us to provide to every student in America the chance to learn computer science like you're doing here at Omaha North High School. We are going to partner with the private sector to train up to 50,000 computer science teachers over the next decade, so they're in the classroom preparing our young people. We're also going to make college tuition free for the middle class, and debt-free for everybody.

And we will liberate millions of people who already have student debt. It is just not fair that Donald Trump takes bankruptcy six times to get out from under his debts, and we won't let families and students refinance their student debt. And here's something else. I don't think we say this enough. College is crucial, but a four-year degree should not be the only path to a good job in America. Right now, there are millions of job openings. We don't have enough machinists or welders or coders. We need more skilled people in the trades because a lot of the people who know how to do that work are going to be retiring in the next 10 or 15 years. That's why I want to support more business and union apprenticeship initiatives, targeted higher education programs, more training. We're going to help people build a better future.

And, finally, we are going to support the kind of small businesses that Donald Trump has consistently stiffed. Like I said, my dad was a very small businessman. I take this really personally. I had no idea before he started running and information began coming to light what he has done to hurt people. I said in the convention Atlantic City, New Jersey, hardworking contractors, small businesses, were left holding the bag after Trump refused to pay their bills. I'm talking about painters, landscapers, plumbers, the people who installed the glass in his casino, the people who laid the marble floor in his casino. They needed the money. They did the work. They bought the supplies. And he didn't pay them, not because he couldn't but because he wouldn't. That is just not the way you do business in America. We make good on our promises.

Well, I think about my dad standing over those big bolts of fabric. You take a silkscreen. You put it down. You pour paint in it. You take a squeegee. You go from one side to the other. Then you lift it up, and you keep going down the table. Then maybe you come back, and you add another color with a different silkscreen. And then, finally, you finish.

My dad would get contracts. He would do the work. Then he would load the fabrics into his car, and he would take them to the places that had ordered them: hotels, offices, restaurants. And he expected to be paid. If one of his major customers had refused, he would have been forced to close up his business. Luckily, he never had a contract with Donald Trump. If you hire someone to do a job and they do it, you pay them. You don't go around bullying small businesses just because you can.

Small businesses are the backbone of this economy. And I want to be a small business president. We're going to make it easier to give credit, to cut red tape. Too many dreams still die in the parking lots of banks in America. If you can dream it, you should be able to build it.

I also will tell you exactly how I'm going to pay for everything I have proposed. If you go to my website, hillaryclinton.com, you can see. It's not complicated. It's exactly what Warren said, "Follow the money." And I'm glad—I'm glad Warren is so good-humored about it because the super-rich, Wall Street and corporations, are going to start paying their fair share for supporting the United States of America. And this is not because—this is not because we resent success. We welcome success as long as you do it fairly and don't abuse people on the way up. But 90 percent of the income gains have gone to the wealthiest 1 percent in America. Our tax code is full of loopholes and special breaks that make it even worse.

And what I really appreciate about Warren is he has said—and he has said it consistently—he should never be able to pay a lower tax rate than his secretary. And he is right. So I have said I am going to follow Warren's example. Being successful doesn't have to come at the expense of others. He knows that real value comes from helping more people invest in themselves. Their businesses grow the economy. And so we're going to use him and his ideas about how we're going to tax the wealthy more as the real foundation of making the investments in America that will help everybody.

Now, I don't—I'm told that Donald Trump stays glued to the TV set. So I hope he heard Warren. There's always—there's always time for a conversion because while Warren is standing up for a fairer tax code, Trump wants to cut taxes for the super-rich. Well, we're not going there, my friends. I'm telling you right now we're going to write fairer rules for the middle class, and we aren't going to raise taxes on the middle class.

And while we're at it, we would like to see those tax returns, wouldn't we? My husband and I have put out I think about 33 or 34 years' worth if you're interested. He doesn't even respect the American people enough to do what every other presidential candidate has done for decades and release them. It's time for Trump to stop hiding. It's time to stand up for working families. It's time to make clear that when the middle class thrives, America thrives. And that's what we're going to get back to doing.

So, my friends, I will not rest until we get wages and incomes rising. I will not rest until we make it clear what's at stake in this election. And that's why I need your help. I just want to—I want to throw into the challenge that Warren made if this congressional district has the highest percentage of votes in any congressional district and, of course, if I win, here's what we'll do. I will shortly after I become president, sometime as soon as I can arrange it, come back here. And Warren and I will dance in the streets of Omaha together. And maybe if we're really lucky, he'll wear his Elvis costume again.

Please join this campaign. Text JOIN, J-O-I-N. Go to 47246. Go to hillaryclinton.com. And, oh, by the way, we are hiring organizers in Nebraska. So let's have some fun. Let's register voters. Let's turn people out. And let's win this election for America's future. Thank you.