Clinton’s speech emphasized economics, jobs and growth, and a heavy dose of tax and debt.
Former President Bill Clinton Speech, Edited Transcript
Democratic National Convention
Economic Growth and Jobs
I want to nominate a man who ran for president to change the course of an already weak economy. When President Barack Obama took office, the economy was in free-fall. We were losing 750,000 jobs a month. He inherited a deeply damaged economy. He began the long, hard road to recovery and laid the foundation for a modern, more well-balanced economy that will produce millions of good, new jobs, vibrant new businesses, and lots of new wealth for innovators. He has laid the foundations for a new, modern, successful economy of shared prosperity. I want a man who believes that we can build a new American dream economy.
We Democrats think the country works better with business and government actually working together to promote growth and broadly shared prosperity. Advancing equal opportunity and economic empowerment is both morally right and good economics. Poverty, discrimination, and ignorance restrict growth. Investments in education and infrastructure and scientific and technological research increase growth. They increase good jobs, and they create new wealth for all the rest of us.
In 2010, as the president's recovery program kicked in, the job losses stopped
and things began to turn around. The Recovery Act saved or created millions of jobs and cut taxes for 95 percent of the American people. In the last 29 months, our economy has produced about 4.5 million private-sector jobs. During this period more than 500,000 manufacturing jobs have been created under President Obama. That's the first time manufacturing jobs have increased since the 1990s.
The auto industry restructuring worked, saved more than a million jobs. The agreement to double car mileage, over the next 20 years, will bring us another 500,000 good, new jobs into the American economy.
A lot of Americans are still angry and frustrated about this economy. If you look at the numbers, employment is growing, banks are beginning to lend again, and in a lot of places, housing prices have even began to pick up. But too many people do not feel it yet. I had this same thing happen in 1994 and early '95. We could see that the policies were working, that the economy was growing, but most people didn't feel it yet. By 1996, the economy was roaring.
Of course, we need a lot more new jobs, but there are already more than 3 million jobs open and unfilled in America, mostly because the people who apply for them don't yet have the required skills to do them. So even as we get Americans more jobs, we have to prepare more Americans for the new jobs that are actually going to be created. The old economy is not coming back. We've got to build a new one and educate people to do those jobs.
The president's student loan reform means no one will ever have to drop out of college again for fear they can't repay their debt. It means that if someone wants to take a job with a modest income, they won't have to turn those jobs down because they don't pay enough to repay the debt. Their debt obligation will be determined by their salary.
Now let's talk about the debt. It will become a big problem when the economy grows and interest rates start to rise. We've got to deal with this big long-term debt problem or it will deal with us. The president has offered a reasonable plan of $4 trillion in debt reduction over a decade.
Republican economic policies quadrupled the national debt before I took officeand doubled the debt in the eight years after I left. Somebody says, ``Oh, we've got a big debt problem. We've got to reduce the debt. To reduce the debt, we're going to have another $5 trillion in tax cuts, heavily weighted to upper-income people. So we'll make the debt hole bigger before we start to get out of it.'' Now, when you say, ``What are you going to do about this $5 trillion you just added on?'' They say, ``Oh, we'll make it up by eliminating loopholes in the tax code.''
If they stay with this $5 trillion tax cut plan in a debt reduction plan, middle- class families will see their tax bills go up an average of $2,000, while anybody who makes $3 million or more will see their tax bill go down $250,000. They'll hurt the middle class and the poor and give tax cuts to upper-income people. They'll cut the taxes way more than they cut spending, especially with that big defense increase, and they'll just explode the debt and weaken the economy, and they'll destroy the federal government's ability to help you by letting interest gobble up all your tax payments.
President Obama's plan cuts the debt, honors our values, brightens the future of our children, our families, and our nation.