Remarks at Martin Luther King, Jr., Plaza in Toledo, Ohio
"Hello, Toledo. I am – I am very happy to be here today and – I am so grateful to have this chance to talk to you about what we can do together to have the kind of economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top.
I want to acknowledge – we have an overflow crowd in another room, and I know they can hear us, but we're glad they're here. I want to thank your Congresswoman, Marcy Kaptur, for her leadership and her grit. I want to thank Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson. And the mayor told me there's a young man here who just won a boxing championship, Robert Easter. Where's Robert Easter? There you are, Robert Easter. Congratulations. I know Toledo is proud of you; we all are. I want to thank Kenyetta for that introduction. Do we have any other UAW members here?
It's a great day to be here in Ohio for a lot of different reasons. One is I am so thrilled that LeBron James has endorsed me and joined our campaign. I know – I've gotten a lot of wonderful endorsements over the past year and a half. I'm grateful for each and every one of them. But I got to say, there's something special about this one. And it's a real honor in part because of why he chose to endorse me. Now, not everyone knows this. I mean, you all know what an amazing athlete he his – MVP, winner of championships – but he's also – LeBron is also a dedicated advocate for children. And this afternoon I'll be in Akron, where he's done so much for the kids in that community.
It's a deep, personal commitment that he has that I share with him. We both believe every single child should have the chance to live up to his or her God-given potential. I could not be prouder to have LeBron joining our team as we head into the homestretch.
Now, one thing I know – I'll just say it because I know it's for sure – I hope to be elected president, but I know here in Ohio LeBron will always be the King.
I was listening to Kenyetta introduce me, and I really appreciated what she said, because Toledo is the kind of place where people work hard, look after one another, and yes, pay their taxes, right?
You recognize that we all have to do our part because we are all in this together, and it matters.
We believe honest work deserves honest pay. We believe everyone should have the right to join a strong union that will always have your back.
It's personal for me. I'm the granddaughter of a factory worker from Scranton, Pennsylvania. He went to work in the same lace mill every day for 50 years. He believed he passed it down to my dad, who passed it down to me that if he did what he was supposed to do, he'd have a good life and his kids would have an even better life. That is the American dream. That is what we believe in. That's what we've got to keep going generation after generation.
And because of my grandfather's hard work, my dad made it to college. And then after serving in the Navy during World War II, he started his own small business, printing fabric for draperies.
As a young girl, I'd sometimes go to his print plant. It was a long building, no natural light, no windows, but he had these long tables where he'd roll out the fabric and then I'd watch him work with silkscreens, if you've ever seen that. He would take the silkscreen, he'd put it down, he'd pour the paint in, he'd take the squeegee, go across all the way down to the end of one table, then over to the next table, all the way back. And then if there was a second color to be added, he would do that. He sometimes let me help with the squeegee. That was my favorite part.
And I know he worked really hard. He worked really hard. He believed in hard work. He passed that on to me. He provided a good middle-class life for us. So I am proud to stand with hardworking families all over Toledo, Ohio, and America, who should have the same chance that I did to share in the American Dream, which should be big enough for everybody.
Fighting for kids and families has been the cause of my life, as Kenyetta said, when I went to work for the Children's Defense Fund all those years ago. And it will be the mission of my presidency, because I want to focus on what are called kitchen table issues, the ones that keep you up at night – like the cost of child care, and college, and prescription drugs, and so much else.
And that means we've got to create more good jobs with rising incomes. That means we've got to have good schools in every zip code. That means everybody willing to work – and I say that very clearly; you've got to be willing to work – and if you're willing to work, you should be able to get ahead and stay ahead. That is the basic bargain.
Now, I don't know about you, but you wouldn't think that the theme of my campaign, 'getting an economy to work for everyone, not just those at the top' would be controversial – and yet this is one of the defining debates not just of this election but of our time.
Now, I will say, most American companies – most – are run by honorable, patriotic people who care about their employees and communities. But there are still too many powerful interests fighting to protect their own profits and privileges at the expense of everyone else. [Applause.] And they are aided and abetted by the rules and incentives in our economy who actually encourage people at the top to take advantage of consumers, workers, small businesses, and taxpayers.
That makes it tougher for the well-meaning CEOs to take the high road. And it gets even harder when we don't aggressively enforce the rules, when we don't enforce trade rules that allow other countries with lower wages and standards to get an unfair leg up, when we don't enforce rules on Wall Street, which exerts enormous pressure on publicly traded companies to prioritize boosting share prices in the short term over building real value, investing in workers, plant, and equipment over the longer term.
And let's be honest, the tax code rewards corporations for outsourcing jobs and their profits overseas instead of investing here in the United States. And it is riddled with loopholes that let the rich get even richer and make income inequality even worse. It tilts the playing field further against small businesses that can't afford lawyers and lobbyists.
So with all these pressures pushing in the wrong direction, it's even more important that we have an election about these very issues. Because what I know will happen – if we have an election where we have an agenda that actually would begin to level that playing field, we will rebuild the middle class, we will make work pay, we will create greater opportunities for a great percentage of Americans.
Now, I know how hard this, but I think we are on the cusp, if we win this election, to be able to get these things done, right?"
Clinton: "That means pursuing reforms that unleash the enormous positive potential of the American private sector. We've got unmatched talent, innovation, entrepreneurial spirit.
So when we work together, we can all benefit.
Now, I believe corporations that benefit from everything America has to offer should feel some sense of responsibility not just to their biggest shareholders – but to their workers, to their customers, to their communities, and yes, to our country, to the United States of America. We have been moving off track for decades. I don't need to tell you that. You know it, you've lived it, you've seen it. But it is time to get back on track.
And you can ask anybody who's ever worked for me or worked with me, who's ever served with me, when I tell you I'm going to try to do something, I will get up every single day and work my heart out for you.
So let's begin by making it clear that for most businesses, America is the most important asset on their balance sheet. This country of ours, this system of ours, the rule of law, the opportunity to get an education and go as far as your hard work and ambition will take you. And we created the biggest engine of economic growth in the world, the American middle class. So when we middle class thrives, the country thrives. And when it doesn't, we don't, right?
And I'm going to use the White House and every tool at my disposal as your president to make the case that patriotism is profitable. Standing up for America, investing in America will pay off.
Now, we have always had innovators and entrepreneurs who build great companies and create real value. But we should not and we will not respect those who get rich by cheating everybody else.
So today I want to send a clear message to every boardroom, every executive suite across America: If you scam your customers, exploit your employees, pollute our environment, or rip off taxpayers, we will find ways to hold you accountable.
But on the other side – on the other side, if you do the right thing and you invest in your workers and your communities and our country's future, we will stand with you. That is the choice. Our goal is to make it easier for everyone to do better.
Now, to understand why this is so important, consider the recent examples we've seen of egregious corporate behavior.
Look at Wells Fargo. Really shocking, isn't it? One of the nation's biggest banks bullying thousands of employees into committing fraud against unsuspecting customers, secretly opening up millions of accounts for people without their consent, even their knowledge, misusing personal information, and then sticking customers with hidden fees. It is outrageous that eight years after a cowboy culture on Wall Street wrecked our economy, we are still seeing powerful bankers playing fast and loose with the law.
And then in a category by himself, there's Donald Trump. Well, you may have heard that he has long refused to release his tax returns the way every other nominee for president has done for decades. You can look at 40 years of my tax returns. I think we need a law that says if you become the nominee of the major parties, you have to release your tax returns.
Now, a lot of us were wondering, what is he hiding? It must be really terrible. Well, The New York Times has discovered at least part of the answer. Back in the 1990s, Trump apparently lost a billion dollars in a single year on bad investments and failing casinos. Now, how anybody can lose a dollar, let alone a billion dollars, in the casino industry is kind of beyond me. It's just hard to figure. But as a result, it doesn't look like he paid a dime of federal income tax for almost two decades.
Now, while millions of American families, including mine and yours, were working hard paying our fair share, it seems he was contributing nothing to our nation. Imagine that. Not fair. Nothing for Pell Grants to help kids go to college. Nothing for veterans. Nothing for our military. And you know, he has been dissing America in this whole campaign. Right? He talks us down. He makes disparaging comments about our country. He calls our military a disaster. Well, it's not, but it might have been if everybody else had failed to pay taxes to support our brave men and women in uniform.
I saw a newspaper article. A gentleman named Steve Crouse, who owns the Glass City Café here in Toledo, summed it up pretty well in this article. He said, 'I would feel guilty if I didn't pay anything. It's flat-out cheating the government.' Now, my friend Bernie Sanders was right yesterday when he said Trump reflects a distorted view of the American people and what this country is all about.
Trump represents the same rigged system that he claims he's going to change. The whole story tells us everything we need to know about how Trump does business. After he made all those bad bets and lost all that money, he didn't lift a finger to help and protect his employees, or all the small businesses and contractors he'd hired, or the people of Atlantic City. They all got hammered while he was busy with his accountants trying to figure out how he could keep living like a billionaire. And all the while he was using his political connections to collect hundreds of millions of dollars in government subsidies and extra tax breaks for his companies. In other words, Trump was taking from America with both hands and leaving the rest of us with the bill.
Now, he says that he's the one who can fix things, but that is like letting the fox guard the henhouse. Right? And here's what I really am just stunned by. I get stunned every day in this campaign. But here's one of the many things that I'm stunned by. He has put forth a tax plan that would cut his own taxes even more. It would be like you're paying zero. You expect us to pay you to stay in business, all the rest of us in America? He'd open the loopholes even wider. And according to a new independent study, he would actually – listen to this, people, because this is a real shocker – his plan would actually raise taxes for millions of middle class families. And you know the people it would hit the hardest? Are single parents, whose lives and challenges he doesn't care about, certainly doesn't understand.
Now, many have likely already spent years paying more than he did, and he now would make that even worse. And what does he say about it? Well, did you all see the debate last Monday? Well, in the debate – in the debate – well, then you all know that in the debate he said it was smart to avoid paying taxes. Yesterday his campaign was bragging it makes him a genius. Here's my question: What kind of genius loses a billion dollars in a single year?
This is Trump to a T. He's taken corporate excess and makes a business model out of it. He abuses his power, games the system, puts his own interests ahead of the country's. It's Trump first and everyone else last. And there are lots of principled, law-abiding business leaders out there who are horrified by all of this. Not a single – not a single CEO of a Fortune 100 company supports Trump's campaign. Think about it. I've been endorsed by very successful people – Warren Buffett, Mike Bloomberg, Mark Cuban. I loved what Mark Cuban said when he endorsed me. He said, 'Look, I've been successful.' He actually is a real billionaire. And you know what? He used profit-sharing to help his employees, not bankruptcy to fire people. And when he sold his first company, he shared the profits with his employees, and 300 of them became millionaires. That's the kind of business practices I want to see more of in our country.
But here's what we've got to do. Even if Trump is like one of a kind, we've got to reverse the broader trends he represents. It's time to rewrite the rules and make this economy fair for everyone. And today I want to briefly share with you my plan for protecting taxpayers, consumers, small businesses, and workers. We're going to crack down on the worst corporate abuses and empower companies willing to take the high road and invest in good jobs, in higher wages, and in stronger communities.
First let's start with protecting taxpayers and making sure we have more fairness in the system. It is wrong that corporations and the super-wealthy play by a different set of rules. A Wall Street money manager should not be able to pay a lower tax rate than a teacher or a nurse. And I'll tell you something else. Our largest companies should not be able to get away with paying hardly anything at all. It is insulting when they engage in these games, like moving their headquarters over to a foreign country – on paper, not in reality – just to take advantage of lower tax rates. And it is infuriating when they take tax breaks with one hand and give out pink slips in America with the other hand.
So here's what we're going to do. We're going to close those loopholes. I've got a list of them we're going after. We're going to make Wall Street corporations and the super-rich start paying their fair share of taxes. We're going to pass something called the Buffett rule, which means multimillionaires cannot lower rates than their secretaries and other people working for them. We're going to put in place a new exit tax. If companies try to leave our country to avoid paying their fair share, if they try to outsource jobs, they're going to have to give back every tax break they ever received in our country. And then we're going to put that money to work creating opportunities here in America.
Second, we're going to protect consumers. No American should ever be taken advantage of, like thousands were, by Wells Fargo. And this isn't a new fight for me. As a Senator, I raised the alarm about subprime mortgages. I fought to hold reckless managers accountable for toxic toys and household products that threaten our kids. I introduced legislation to protect Americans' personal data and combat identity theft. So as president, I will make consumer protection a top priority across the entire government.
And that starts by defending and empowering the Consumer Financial Protection Bu-reau, which was created after the financial crisis. And the principal person who got it created was Senator Elizabeth Warren. And under the leadership of Ohio's Rich Cordray, the agency has already returned more than $11 billion to more than 15 million Americans who were ripped off by predatory lenders, credit card companies, and others. And it is the one making sure that the defrauded Wells Fargo customers get their money back.
Now, I got to say I am so proud of what this new agency has done. Sometimes people say, well, what does the government really do? Well, there's a lot of examples, but this is a primary one, standing up and making sure consumers get paid back when they are ripped off. And because of its success, Republicans in Congress keep trying to shut it down. And Donald Trump agrees with them. In fact, he wants to scrap all the tough new rules imposed on Wall Street after the crisis. Well, not on my watch, Donald. We're never going to let that happen.
Now, instead of gutting consumer protection, we should be expanding it. And we should build on the Dodd-Frank financial reforms and go even further because Wall Street can never, ever be permitted to threaten Main Street again. And the Wells Fargo scandal sheds light on another threat to consumers that we have to address. When the scam's victims, people like you and me, who had accounts there tried to sue, they were shocked to learn there was a provision in the very fine print of their contracts that kept them from going to court to sue the bank for being cheated. Instead, they are forced into a closed-door arbitration process without the important protections that you get in a court of law. We are not going to let corporations like Wells Fargo use these fine print "gotchas" to escape accountability.
And in fact, this is now common practice across a lot of industries – from nursing homes, nursing homes that mistreat seniors, to for-profit colleges that defraud students. Who reads all that fine print? I don't. And you get defrauded or you get mistreated, and then all of a sudden they say, 'Well, you can't sue us.' So we're going to rein in that abuse across everybody.
We also see a similar problem in some international trade agreements, like the Trans-Pacific Partnership. It sets up a dispute resolution system that favors large corporations over everyone else. It's one of the reasons I'm against it. I've warned about this for years, I've written about it, and I oppose TPP now, I will oppose it after the election, I will oppose it as president – because it is one-sided and unfair to American workers.
And what about all those pharmaceutical companies that jack up prices for no reason? We're going to have to protect ourselves against that too. And when we find unjustified spikes in the prices of longstanding, life-saving drugs, we should slap penalties on companies trying to cheat people who need those drugs.
And let's finally import safe alternatives from other countries, like Canada, and speed up approvals to get more generic drugs on the market. And it is long past time to allow Medicare to negotiate for better prices for drugs and get the cost down for Medicare recipients. And I believe we should cap the amount working families pay out of pocket every month for medicine. No one should ever have to choose between paying the rent and filling their prescriptions.
So let's stand up for taxpayers. Let's stand up for consumers. And let's stand up for small businesses, which create most of the jobs in America. I take this personally be-cause of my dad's very small business. We need fair rules of the road so big corporations can't use their power to gain unfair advantages.
Now, when it comes to bullying small businesses, Donald Trump is the poster boy. I have heard so many stories of contractors, and I've met some too, who worked for him, produced the goods and services, and never got paid for what they were owed. I'm talking about painters, and plumbers, piano sellers, architects, glass installers – he stiffed them all. Not because he couldn't pay them, but he wouldn't pay them. And he told them, 'You want to get your money? Sue me.' My dad could never have done that. I'm just grateful my dad never got a contract with Donald Trump, because I don't know what we would have done.
More than 60 percent of small businesses face payment delays. That can cause a serious cash flow crisis. So as president, I will explore new ways to arm small businesses with the tools to fight back and level the playing field. Part of the problem is large corporations are amassing so much power in our economy. Sometimes it's called market concentration or even old-fashioned monopolies, but either way it threatens businesses of all sizes, as well as consumers. With less competition, corporations can use their power to raise prices, limit choice for consumers, cut wages for workers, crowd out startups and small businesses.
I mean, look what's happening right now. In most of the country, the three largest health insurance companies in each state control 80 percent of the market. No wonder premiums are going up. As president, I will appoint tough, independent authorities to strengthen anti-trust enforcement and really scrutinize mergers and acquisitions, so the big don't keep getting bigger and bigger.
I want every business to compete and thrive, and then I also want to do something else. Let's protect and empower workers who actually drive our economy. Everyone who works hard should be able to share in the rewards, not just senior executives. So we're proposing new tax credits to encourage more companies to share profits, on top of, not instead of, higher wages.
We need to support new organizing strategies for employees who too often have never had the benefit of collective bargaining. And we have to resist the assault on workers' rights. Let's say loudly and clearly: 'right to work' is wrong for workers and wrong for America.
Let's also, my friends, let's raise the minimum wage and support the Fight for 15 so you don't live in poverty. Let's defend overtime and go after wage theft. Let's provide family leave that is paid and access to affordable, high-quality childcare. And of course you know what I'm going to say: let's finally guarantee equal pay for women.
Now, my opponent and his chief surrogates like to say I'm playing the woman's card. And I'll tell you – right? – if fighting for working families is playing the women's card, you know what? Deal me in!
And then finally, I've got a lot on my mind, but finally, we need to make it easier for companies to invest in good jobs here at home. As president, I will ramp up enforcement of trade rules by appointing a new chief trade prosecutor and tripling the number of enforcement officers. We will work with both parties to pass the biggest investment in new, good-paying jobs since World War II. I want to direct $10 billion to create a 'Make It in America' partnership to support American manufacturing. And I want to take some of the ideas that worked when my husband was President and we ended up with 23 million new jobs and incomes went up for everybody.
That includes incentives like the New Markets Tax Credit for creating good jobs in poor or remote areas, from inner cities to rural communities ravaged – ravaged – by hollowed-out factories, ravaged by mines that have been shut down, ravaged by opiate addiction. It all comes down to this: When I say our economy should work for everyone, not just those at the top, I mean it. And we're going to do everything we can to make sure workers are treated like assets, not costs. And we're going to bring back infrastructure jobs, advanced manufacturing jobs, clean, renewable energy jobs, innovation, technology, small business.
Now, you don't have to look any further than right here in Northwest Ohio. Just a few years ago, as you heard Kenyetta say, in 2009 you were in the eye of the storm. Jobs, homes, savings, wiped out. The auto industry on the verge of collapse. A lot of people were ready to give up on it. Well, that would have meant giving up on 850,000 people across this state whose jobs were tied to the industry. Donald Trump, for one, said rescuing the auto industry didn't matter very much. Either way would have been acceptable, he said. 'We could have just let it go,' and that's a direct quote from him. Everybody in Ohio who's thinking about voting for Trump needs to hear that. At the time of the worst financial crisis in Ohio in 2009, he would have let you twist and fall. And for his running mate he picked Mike Pence, an ardent opponent of the auto rescue. Well, thank goodness the people of Northwest Ohio weren't ready to let it go. You never gave up. You didn't lose faith. And now, after a lot of hard work and sacrifice, the auto industry just had its best year ever.
But that's not all there is to the story because in addition to that hard work, America, America, came to the rescue. Taxpayers like all of us, not him but us, provided the funds for the rescue. Union workers stepped up. Communities like Toledo came together to make it work. And now that the industry's back on its feet, the auto companies have a responsibility to give back.
So I was delighted to hear that Chrysler is doubling down on Toledo, investing $700 million here to start building the next generation Jeep Wrangler, which could create about 700 new good jobs. And tens of thousands of UAW workers at Chrysler plants should see a big increase in profit-sharing payments above and beyond wages and benefits. Now, that's the way it's supposed to work, when we all help each other out. When we stand together, we are stronger together.
So what I want you to know is if you join me in this campaign, I will always stand up and fight for you and fight for your jobs and fight for your families. And I guess we have about 36 days left. The election's going to be close. Every call you make, every door you knock, every friend you register to vote, could make the difference. You can text 'join,' j-o-i-n, to 47246 right now or go to hillaryclinton.com to sign up and volunteer. Here in Ohio you have until October the 11th to register to vote. And there are people with clipboards around, and you can go actually register today on your way out the door.
So we have just over a week to register, and then early voting starts October 12th. Let's prove – let's prove – that the American dream is big enough for everyone to share in its promise. Let's prove that we're going to stand together, make the smart decisions that we get the economy going and growing for everybody, not just those at the top; that we will stand up against special privilege and special interest; that we will be ready after this election to have an agenda that will really make a difference here in Toledo and across Ohio. So I'm here asking for your help, asking for your work, asking for you to be part of this campaign, and then when we win on November 8, be part of changing our country for the better! Thank you all and God bless you!"
NOTE: Speech as delivered. Secretary Clinton was introduced by Kenyetta Jones, member of UAW Local 14.
Hillary Clinton, Remarks at Martin Luther King, Jr., Plaza in Toledo, Ohio Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/319578