The Ed Show for Tuesday, May 26th, 2015
Read the transcript to the Tuesday show
Show: THE ED SHOW
Date: May 26, 2015
Guest: John Nichols
ED SCHULTZ, MSNBC HOST: Good evening Americans and welcome to the Ed Show
live from Burlington, Vermont.
Any minute now Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders will officially kickoff his
presidential campaign here from Waterfront Park. When Senator Sanders
takes the stage, we will bring you his remarks live.
But first, we`re waiting a news conference from Texas Governor Greg Abbott
and Houston Mayor Annise Parker following the severe flooding in the Texas
area over the weekend. Senator Ted Cruz will also participate in the press
At this hour 12 are confirmed dead in Texas and Oklahoma, 13 people
remained missing in Hays County, Texas.
NBC`s Jay Gray has more on this record setting storm.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAY GRAY, NBC CORRESPONDENT: From the air and then the light of day. The
streets of Houston look more like canals after flash flood swept across
More than 10 inches of rain in some areas in just hours, cars, trucks even
tractor trailers were no match for the rising flood water that overwhelmed
dozens of city streets.
Response teams carried out more than 500 high water rescues throughout the
night and into the day.
CHIEF RICHARD MANN, HOUSTON FIRE DEPARTMENT: Please use common sense.
Stay in and stay out of the high water, don`t drive into the high water.
GRAY: In Wimberley, Texas the search continues for 12 people still missing
after the Blanco River rose more than 28 feet in just an hour, cresting at
more than 40 feet Saturday night.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have 12 missing. We have over 30 people unaccounted
GRAY: Among the missing, two families with children.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My sister will always be my sister.
GRAY: Laura McComb made a frantic call to his sister Julia as the flood
water took their cabin.
JULIA SHIELDS, LAURA N MCCOMB`S SISTER: The house we were in the roof
collapsed and we`re now floating down the river. Call mom and dad I love
you and pray.
GRAY: Her husband Jonathan was found almost 12 miles down river Laura and
their two kids still listed as missing.
SHIELDS: The blessing in all of this is that she is with her children, and
she is with her babies, and she will be with her babies that way in heaven
and we know that is the family.
GRAY: A family like this area torn apart by the water and still searching
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Let`s bring in NBC`s Charles Hadlock who is reporting from
Houston Texas tonight.
Charles, you can just see the emotional strain that these folks are going
through. What is the latest for first responders and what`s the game plan
CHARLES HADLOCK, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, it`s been quite a week here in
Texas Ed as you know. Here in Houston they got 11 inches of rain
overnight, six inches in one hour and this is the result.
This is Buffalo Bayou, normally you have to walk up to edge of the Bayou
and look down to see it. The Bayou is out of its bank. It was bankfull
today in fact it flooded many, many, many places, many overpass and
underpasses where flooded here in Houston today, making travel into the
town today a nightmare.
Downtown Houston looks ominous there but actually the water is going around
downtown Houston. The buildings there are not affected.
Two people are drowned when they drove into the water last night in the
dark. Their bodies were discovered at daylight today by rescuers. When
the water got down low enough they were able to get to the cars and find
the bodies inside.
Three others are missing. They were apparently swept away after a fire
department rescue boat overturned. The firefighters and several others
were rescue, but the others are missing. They were wearing life vest and
authorities hope that they somehow survived.
Ed, back to you.
SCHULTZ: Well, Charles, are they evacuating people in the area and what`s
the game plan if they get this kind of rain again?
HADLOCK: Well, the good news is the water is way down. As we`ve been
watching it go down all day today. The question is, as you say more rain
is expected. But it`s not supposed to be the torrential rain that we got
in the last 24 hours. It`s the typical afternoon showers. But even that
with the ground so saturated, it posses a big problem here if we get a
little bit of rain, it could come back out of the banks again Ed. They`re
watching it very, very, very closely here.
SCHULTZ: All right, Charles Hadlock reporting tonight from Houston Texas,
here on the Ed Show. I appreciate your time. Thanks so much.
We`re just minutes away from Senator Bernie Sanders taking the stage here
in Burlington, Vermont for his official campaign announcement. We`ll bring
you he`s speech live and have analysis on what the Senator bring to the
But next, a violent weekend across the country brings new questions about
Stay tuned we`ll be right back on the Ed Show.
SCHULTZ: The Governor of Texas and the Mayor of Houston are updating the
media on flooding in the area.
Let`s listen in.
MAYOR ANNISE PARKER, (D) HOUSTON TX: ... by used (inaudible) away from
begun to swell and many of our local Bayou went over their banks. That
took flooding into structure particularly in the Brays Bayou and White Oak
at Buffalo Bayou confluence.
We know there was some structural flooding in the gallery area, parking
garages and some commercial properties, flooding also in Crosstimbers and
smaller areas of flooding across the city.
We also tragically know that there has been loss of life. We have three
confirmed flood victims now, two that were recovered from vehicles, one
body recovered from Brays Bayou and another person who apparently had -- he
may have had a heart attack while pushing his vehicle out of the flood
waters. There are three people missing. There maybe others but those are
the once we know at this moment.
We have begun a property by property assessment. But we`re hampered by not
being able to go into the areas until the water recede. And these are
visual inspections from the outside until we can get enough structural
experts to accompany our inspectors to see the full extent of the problem.
We have a thousand properties that we visually inspected. We believe that
there maybe as many as 4,000 with significant damage.
There are two shelters open at this time. One is that the Chinese
community center, 9800 Town Park and another is the Acres Home Community
Center, 6719 West Montgomery.
At this point we`re only sheltering 84 people. We have capacity for many
more. But those are locations being managed by the Red Cross, where people
can go if they need other assistance even if they have a place to stay
The first thing we did on the roadways as the water receded was start to
tow cars, to get those roads open again. And at this point we have more
than 750 vehicles of various kinds in city impound lots and temporarily
We have an app, or findmytowedcar.com, 713-308-8580. Our 311 system for
the City of Houston is still the appropriate place to report any kind of
damage. It`s the one entry point to our entire system. And if you have
any kind of structural damage, we need to know it, and if you see
infrastructure damage, roads, bridges anything that may have been
undermined by the water. We need to know that again reporting to 311.
Right now all of the Bayou`s are receding. We still have 14 segments of
gauges -- where we have gauges that are over flood stage and all moving in
the right direction and 12 that are now back within their banks.
We`re going to continue to monitor that, but we`re cautiously optimistic
over the weather for the next few days. I appreciate Governor Abbott
making the trip down to Houston. I know he has been examining the damage
in other parts of the state. Some areas hit much worst that we were with
greater loss of life. But, all the levels of government are working
closely together at this point to make sure that the emergency response
falls seamlessly into the recovery effort with state and local resources
combined with federal resources.
I`m going to pause here and allow the Governor to address you, we`ll take
some questions and I think we`re going to continue the press conference.
Ma`am if you will join me over here.
GOV. GREG ABBOTT, (R) TEXAS: Well, thank you Mayor. I arrived in Houston
several hours ago and had the opportunity to have a helicopter ride over
many of the areas that have been dramatically impacted by the flooding
waters. And my heart, my prayers go out to the families who have been
impacted by this dramatic flooding. We have heard about the loss of life
here in Houston as well as other parts of the state of Texas.
A number that we don`t know and we will never know is the number of lives
that have been saved by the effective response of first responders. And
all of the many people who have been helping out in the Houston and Harris
County area as well as across the state of Texas.
I know for a fact that first responder in Houston were able to take swift
action who erect barrier to keep people from entering into flooding waters.
I know for a fact in areas whether it be a Harris County of other parts of
the state of Texas. Water rescue mission have taken place that have saved
countless lives. And so, I want to extend my profound gratitude to all
first responders across the state for the effective way that they have
helped save lives.
Now as the mayor mentioned, flooding in something that we have been working
on across the entire state of Texas over the past week. I witness first
hand the devastation of the Tsunami style river rise on the Blanco River in
Wimberley Texas just west of San Marcos.
They completely devastated the area round there and caused a significant
loss of life. I have -- as governor declared disaster declarations from,
literally the Red River to the Rio Grande where flooding has been taking
place across the state.
But just like in so many other times of challenges, we see Texans respond
by coming together helping each other. We see that in Houston, Texas,
we`ve seen it another parts of the state with friends helping friends and
neighbors helping neighbors.
And I want to express my gratitude to all of our neighboring states.
Governor Susana Martinez and her team in New Mexico, Governor Mary Fallin
in Oklahoma, Governor Asa Hutchison in Arkansas and Governor Bobby Jindal
in Louisiana. All of our neighbors have offered their support in fact
Louisiana sent two Black Hawk helicopter as well as sandbag loaders to help
us address our challenges here in the state of Texas.
We work more effectively when we work as a team. But just like we have
faced these challenges in the past, we will respond effectively to face
Earlier today I had telephone conversation with the Harris County judge
with whom I will be meeting shortly. And I announced that among the 46
counties in the state of Texas that have declared a disaster declaration,
I`ve now added Harris County as one of the counties included in the
disaster declaration. This will provide additional resources and tools
that will allow everyone in Harris County to be able to respond even more
effectively to the challenges you face.
Let me say one last thing. Maybe the most important thing I could say, and
that is some of the lives that have been lost, or lives that were lost by
people who`re in vehicles who we`re trying to bypass through waterways,
it`s essential to understand that in so many of the rivers across the state
of Texas. We`re going to continue to have rising waters.
If there are rising waters if your local elective officials tell you to
evacuate, it is essential that you heed those warnings. Do not drive into
rising water. I know it may seem like something that you can easily
traverse but it`s something that is incredibly powerful and can swept you
away just like it has so many others in the state of Texas over the past
week. So, don`t drive into rising water, you know, the common phrase "Turn
around don`t drown". It has a sense of reality to it right now that we
need everyone in the state of Texas to heed.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you Governor.
SCHUTLZ: You just heard from Houston Mayor Annise Parker and also Governor
Greg Abbott on the flooding in Houston and the surrounding area.
Still to come here on the Ed Show. Senator Bernie Sanders will make his
official presidential campaign announcement.
We`ll be back right after this. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BERNIE SANDERS, (I) VERMONT: I`m a former mayor. I know that being a cop
is not an easy job. But when police officers misbehave, they`ve got to be
You can have every police officer in America being a Harvard Law School
graduate and you`re not going to address this issue unless we give people
some hope, unless we give people some opportunity. That means jobs, that
means education, you can`t turn your back on neglected parts of America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: And we are coming to you live from Burlington, Vermont waiting
for Senator Bernie Sanders to kickoff his official presidential campaign.
But first, we want to turn our focus to what is happening in Baltimore,
Maryland and around the country. It was a violent weekend across America.
There were dozens of shootings in cities struggling to overcome gun
violence and strained relations with law enforcement.
In Chicago, 56 people were shot between Friday night and Monday, 12 of them
fatally. Cleveland, Ohio has agreed to overhaul its police department.
It`s part of a settlement with the Justice Department over a pattern of
excessive force and other abuses by law enforcement officers. In
Baltimore, 32 people were shot over the weekend, 9 were killed over the
weekend, bringing the total homicide number this month to 35. May 2015 is
now the deadliest month in Baltimore since 1999.
I`m joined tonight by Trymaine Lee, MSNBC National Reporter. Trymaine, you
would believe that possibly this behavior would be going in a different
direction but all the focus that`s been put on Baltimore. How do residents
responding to this continued violence?
TRYMAINE LEE, MSNBC NATIONAL REPORTER: Unfortunately, this kind of carnage
that we`ve seen has been part in cities like Baltimore and Chicago as you
mentioned. There simply seemed to be too many guns on the streets and not
And so, while there has been heightened awareness and attention what the
police are doing and what they`re not doing in terms of training, et
cetera. There seems to be little to be able to be done about giving young
Now, typically, when we headed to summer months, it`s hotter. Young people
are out of school, I mean, a lot of these communities, they are outside
because there simply is nowhere else to go and always seems to ramp up and
if this weekend, there`s been any indication. It also given just the
tenure and climate we`ve seen of anger and angst across the country, it
could most certainly be a really rough summer.
SCHULTZ: Trymaine, this morning, there was a march against Governor
Hogan`s decision to build a youth detention center in Baltimore City.
Where do we go from here? What`s going to turn this around? What are city
officials saying at this point?
LEE: Well, city officials right now are still kind of trying to find their
footing with all the unrest, because clearly if you look at the Department
of Justice reports out of Ferguson and now Cleveland, clearly training is
an issue. Clearly, there needs to be -- they see more resource need to be
directed toward their agencies collecting data, non-bias training, et
But, so many of them are still in this kind of funny position because,
again, there are protests and unrest all across the country. And so those
like Cleveland, Mayor Jackson said, you know, he agrees with the protest.
There needs to be change more immediately or at least sooner rather than
later. But that again is the tricky position we`re in right now. Where do
they go? And right now, nobody knows but we know the people in the streets
are still pushing and fighting and their voices are rising for immediate
change. Now, we`ll see if politicians can and somehow heed to their
SCHULTZ: Trymaine Lee with us tonight here on the Ed Show. Thanks so
We are awaiting Senator Bernie Sanders` presidential announcement. We`ll
bring it to you live right after this here on the Ed Show from Burlington,
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to the Ed Show live from Burlington, Vermont. I`m
joined tonight by two of my colleagues, Steve Kornacki, host of MSNBC`s "Up
with Steve Kornacki" who sit on the weekend Saturday and Sunday here on
MSNBC, also with us John Nichols, Washington correspondent of The Nation
OK. It`s been a hard news day, a lot of flooding, people lost their lives,
shootings in Baltimore, tough things going on in Cleveland. It`s time to
have a little bit of fun.
STEVE KORNACKI, HOST "UP WITH STEVE MSNBC": Yeah.
SCHULTZ: Notice that the two MSNBC guys are wearing the ties, OK. And the
guy at The Nation who covers this stuff all the time is really playing kind
of loose. Just like Bernie Sanders is doing it. You know...
JOHN NICHOLS, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT "THE NATION MAGAZINE": Yeah.
SCHULTZ: ... Bernie is loose, isn`t he John? I mean you have covered
Bernie Sanders for a long time.
SCHULTZ: I have long (inaudible) with him today and of course he`s been on
all the cable shows, but there`s a lot of things people don`t know about
this guy. This was not he`s career path. This was something that really
involved in his heart.
NICHOLS: You know what Bernie Sanders does well? You know why he`s done
well on your show? Because he not calculating it. It`s who he is.
Now, it happens that who he is, is the right thing to me at this morning as
we start talking about income inequality, wages stagnation, but they`re
also seeing something else here. Ben and Jerry are up on that stage right
now, what other candidates for president, we have Ben and Jerry Instagram
SCHULTZ: Well, and what other candidate would not run a negative ad?
SCHULTZ: Steve, this is really interesting. This is retail politics, the
issue not personality bashing, not being negative going after the
opponents, talking about what people want in America, how is that going to
play outside of Vermont?
KORNACKI: Well, I`ll tell you, it`s interesting. You look at the calendar
for this thing. The first two states, if you`re the Bernie Sanders
campaign and he said you take the first two states they have vote and
Vermont can`t be one of them. I think Iowa and New Hampshire would be
close to the top of that list. If you look at Iowa, Iowa State it`s an
activist oriented electorate, it`s caucuses, it`s the most committed party
members. Hillary Clinton had a lot of problems there in 2008 and she just
came in third place.
If you look at New Hampshire he`s the next door neighbor Bernie Sanders, a
little bit a lot of those cities in town. And we look at Connecticut,
River Valley, the voters there are very similar to the voters he`s appealed
in Vermont. So I`m not sitting here saying he`s going to win those two
states but those two states are favorable climates to him.
SCHULTZ: Well, how does the most amiable guy in the world say don`t
underestimate me? How are we supposed to interpret that?
KORNACKI: You know I look at it. I mean if you look at his career first
of all and I mean the fact that at the age of 73, he`s standing here now
running for president. He`s been only likely political career in every
possible way. So, the odds that he faces right now, he`s clearly under --
he has no illusions about what he is up against. But again I think if you
talk to the people around them, I think what they like to get to and don`t
think its necessary unrealistic is, can they get to a moment and then
really is a one on one race. Bernie Sanders versus Hillary Clinton and
just put that contrast out there and see what happens.
SCHULTZ: He`s going to be tough one to debate, isn`t John Nichols because
he is so committed to the issues?
NICHOLS: Much more than that. He knows the issues. This is a guy who has
been in the Congress of to the United States now for 25 years. He has
worked on all the committees. He`s done all the structural stuff. And so,
he is capable of getting in there without going to personalities going
straight to the issues and frankly, Hillary Clinton will always have to be
on her toes if Hillary Clinton (inaudible) is in a debate with Bernie
SCHULTZ: He is running against Citizens United. He has hang up in the
very system that he can`t stand trying to do something different. He will
garnish the respect of lot of Americans to being that alone.
Let`s go to the podium. They are introducing Senator Bernie Sanders. Ben
and Jerry is a late take aim (ph), it just absolute a beautiful Saturday
(ph) morning. A man who did not run a television commercial in he`s last
senatorial campaign. He`s never run a negative ad in his life. And here
comes Bernie Sanders, the father of four, the grandfather of seven.
The theme has been income inequality, campaign finance reform. He`s
against Citizens United. He`ll tell you exactly who is going to appoint to
the Supreme Court if he gets elected. And he wants to make sure that
corporations and the wealthy in this country who have had advantages will
pay their fair share. I`m sure we`ll hear a lot of that. Here comes the
Senator from Vermont in the podium, Bernie Sanders.
SANDERS: This is an emotional day for me not just for what I`m going to be
announcing. But to see so many people here and to hear what`s been said.
Thank you very much.
Let me thank all of you not only for being here today but for all the
support you have given me over the years as mayor of this beautiful city,
as Vermont`s only congressman and now as a United States senator.
I also want to thanks my longtime friends and fellow Vermonters Bill
McKibben, Brenda Torpey, Donna Bailey, Mike O`Day and Ben and Jerry for all
that you do and for their very generous remarks. And thanks also to Jenny
Nelson for moderating this event and for our incredible leadership in
I also want to thank my family, my wife Jane, my brother Larry, my children
Levi, Heather, Carina and Dave for their love and support, and my beautiful
seven grandchildren -- Sonny, Cole, Ryleigh, Grayson, Ella, Tess and Dylan
who provide so much joy in my life.
Today, here in our small state, a state that has led this nation in so many
ways, I am proud to announce my candidacy for president of the United
States of America.
Today, with your support and the support of millions of people throughout
our country, we begin a political revolution to transform our country
economically, politically, socially and environmentally.
Today, we stand here and say loudly and clearly that, "Enough is enough.
This great nation and its government belong to all of the people and not to
a handful of billionaires."
Brothers and sisters, now is not the time for thinking small. Now is not
the time for the same old -- same old establishment politics and stale
Now is the time for millions of working families to come together, to
revitalize American democracy, to end the collapse of our middle class and
to make certain that our children and grandchildren are able to enjoy a
quality of life that brings them health, prosperity, security and joy and
that once again makes the United States the leader in the world in the
fight for economic and social justice, for environmental sanity and for a
world of peace.
My fellow Americans, this country faces more serious problems today than in
any time since the great depression and if you include the planetary crisis
of climate change, it may will be that the challenges we face now are more
dire than any time in our modern history of our country.
And here is my promise to you for this campaign. Not only will I fight to
protect the working families of this country, but we are going to build a
movement of millions of Americans who are prepared to stand up and fight
back. We`re going to take this campaign directly to the people in town
meetings, door to door conversations, on street corners and in social
This week we`re going to be in New Hampshire. We`re going to be in Iowa
and we`re going to be in Minnesota and that is just the start of this
Let me be clear, this campaign is not about Bernie Sanders. It`s not about
Hillary Clinton. It`s not about Jeb Bush or anyone else. This campaign is
about the needs of the American people, and the ideas and proposals that
effectively address those needs.
As someone who has never run a negative political ad in my life, my
campaign will not be driven by political gossip or reckless personal
attacks. This is what the American people want and deserve, these are
serious times we need serious debates. Politics in a democratic society
should not be treated as of a war a baseball game, a game show or a soap
opera and I hope the media understands that as well.
Let me take a minute to touch on some of the issues that I will be focusing
on in the coming months, and then give you a brief outline of an agenda for
America and agenda which in fact will deal with these serious problems and
lead us to a better future. Today, we live in the nation which is the
wealthiest nation in the history of the world but that reality means very
little for most of us because almost all of that wealth is owned and
controlled by a tiny handful of individuals.
In America we now have more income and wealth inequality than any other
major country on earth, and the gap between the very rich and everyone else
is growing wider and wider. The issue of wealth and income inequality is
the great moral issue of our time. It is the great economic issue of our
time. It is the great political issue of our time. And we will address
Let me be very clear and let the top 1 percent understand this. There is
something profoundly wrong when the top one-tenth of 1 percent owns almost
as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent, and when 99 percent of all new
income goes to the top 1 percent. There is something profoundly wrong when
in recent years, we have seen a proliferation of millionaires and
billionaires at the same time as millions of Americans are working longer
hours for lower wages and we have shamefully the highest rate of childhood
poverty of any major country.
There is something profoundly wrong when one family, one family owns more
wealth in this country than the bottom 130 million Americans. This
grotesque level of inequality is immoral. It is bad economics. It is
unsustainable. This type of rigged economy is not what America is supposed
to be about, this has got to change and, as your president, together we are
going to change it.
But it is not just income and wealth inequality. It is the tragic reality
that for the last 40 years the great middle class of our country once the
envy of the entire world has been disappearing. Despite exploding
technology and increased worker productivity, median family income is
almost $5,000 less today than it was in 1999. In our great state and all
over this country people are working not one job, but two jobs, three jobs
trying to cobble together an income and some health care, that is not
acceptable we can and must do better.
The truth is that real unemployment is not 5.4 percent which you read in
newspapers. It is close to 11 percent, youth unemployment 17 percent,
African-American youth unemployment off the charts. Today, shamefully, we
have 45 million people living in poverty, many of whom are working at low-
wage jobs. In America today despite the gains of the Affordable Care Act,
35 million Americans still lack any heath insurance.
My friends that this the reality of the middle class in America today and
that is a reality not just for us but for our kids and our grandchildren
that we are going to change.
My fellow Americans let me be as blunt be as blunt as I can and tell you
what you already know. As a result of the disastrous Supreme Court
decision on Citizens United, the American political system has been totally
corrupted, and the foundations of American democracy are now being
undermined. What the Supreme Court said essentially was that it was not
good enough for the billionaires to own much of the economy. They could
now own the United States government as well and that is precisely what
they are trying to do.
Now what I learned in school and I think what the men and women who put
their lives on the line to defend our country have long known that American
democracy is not about billionaires being able to buy candidates and buy
elections. It is not about the Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelson and other
incredibly wealthy individuals spending billions of dollars to elect
candidates who will make the rich richer and everyone else poorer.
According to media reports if you can believe it, the Koch brothers in this
election cycle are prepared to spend more money that either the Democratic
or Republican parties. That is not democracy that is oligarchy.
In Vermont and at our town meetings we know what democracy is about that is
one person, one vote. And that`s the kind of political system we are going
to fight for and are going to achieve.
Now when we talk about our responsibilities as human beings and as parents,
there is nothing more important than leaving this country and the entire
planet in a way that is habitable for our kids and grandchildren. The
debate is over. The scientific community has spoken in a virtually
unanimous voice. Climate change is real it is caused by human activity and
it is already causing devastating problems in our country and around the
And let`s be clear, if we do not get our act together and have the United
States lead the world in combating climate change there will be more
drought, more famine, more rising sea level, more floods, more ocean
acidification, more extreme weather disturbances. As human beings we look
out this environment who appreciate the beauty that we have on this planet,
we are not going to allow the fossil fuel industry to destroy this planet.
Brothers and sisters it is no secret that there is massive discontent with
politics in America today. In the last midterm election some 63 percent of
Americans did not vote, including 80 percent of young people. Poll after
poll tells us that our citizens no longer have confidence in our political
institutions and given the power of Big Money in the political process in
general. They understand that their pain is not being heard in Washington
and that people in Washington and elected officials are much concerned
about the lobbyists and the billionaires than the suffering of ordinary
Now combating this political alienation, this cynicism and this legitimate
anger will not be easy, that`s for sure. But that is exactly what together
we must do if we`re going to turn this country around and that is what this
campaign is all about.
And if we are going to bring people together we need a simple,
straightforward progressive agenda which speaks to the needs of the
American people, and provides us with a vision of a very different America.
And what is that agenda? Let me briefly tell you what I think. The agenda
begins with jobs, jobs and more jobs.
If we are serious about reversing the decline of the middle class we need a
major federal jobs program which puts millions of people back to work and
good paying jobs. In a time when our roads, our bridges, our water
systems, rail and airports are decaying, the most effective way to rapidly
create meaningful jobs is to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure. And
that is why I`ve introduced legislation which would invest $1 trillion over
5 years to modernize our country`s physical infrastructure, legislation
that would create and maintain 13 million good paying jobs.
And as your president I will lead the effort to make sure that legislation
I will also continue to oppose our current trade policies. For decades,
presidents from both parties have supported trade agreements which have
cost us millions of decent paying jobs as corporate America shuts down
plants in Vermont throughout this country and moves to low wage countries.
As president, my trade policies will break that cycle of agreements which
enrich the few at the expense of the many.
Let us also be honest and acknowledge that today millions of American
workers are now working for totally inadequate wages. The current federal
minimum wage of $7.25 an hour is a starvation wage and must be raised. The
minimum wage in this country must become a living wage which means raising
it to $15 an hour over the next few years. Our goal -- this is not radical
idea but our goal must be that any worker in this country who works 40
hours a week is not living in poverty.
Further, we must establish pay equity for women workers. It is
unconscionable that women earn $0.78 on the dollar compared to men who
perform the same work. We must also revise our overtime standards so that
people making $25,000 or $30,000 a year who are working 50 or 60 hours a
week get time and a half. And we need paid sick leave and guaranteed
vacation time for every worker in this country.
This campaign, starting today, it`s going to send a message to the
billionaire class. And that is, you can`t have it all. You can`t get huge
tax breaks while children in this country go hungry. You can`t continue
sending our jobs abroad while millions are looking for work. You can`t
hide your profits in the Cayman Islands and other tax havens while there
are massive unmet needs on every corner of this nation.
To the billionaire class, I say that your greed has got to end. You cannot
take advantage of all the benefits of America if you refuse to accept your
And that is why we need a tax system which is fair and progressive, which
tells the wealthiest individuals and the largest corporations that they are
going to begin to start paying their fair share of taxes.
When we talk about power, we talk about Wall Street. In my view, it is
time to break up the largest financial institutions in the country. Wall
Street cannot continue to be an island unto itself, gambling trillions in
risky financial instruments while expecting the public to bail it out. If
a bank is too big to fail, that bank is too big to exist.
If we are serious about a progressive agenda that speaks to the needs of
working families, that talks about climate change and the needs of our kids
and the elderly. We must be focused on campaign finance reform and the
need for a constitutional amendment to overturn that disastrous Citizens
I have said it before and I`ll say it again, I will not nominate any
justice to the Supreme Court who has not made it clear that he or she will
move to overturn that disastrous decision which is undermining American
democracy. Longer term, we need to go further and establish public funding
As I look to our future, it is clear to me that the United States of
America must lead the world in reversing climate change. We can do that
like transforming our energy system away from fossil fuels, to an energy
efficiency and such sustainable energies as wind, solar, geothermal and
Brothers and sisters, the United States of America today...
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