Yes. These are crazy times. We’re dealing with a pandemic, an economic meltdown, the struggle for racial justice and we’re seeing the destruction caused by climate change in Iowa, California, Louisiana and Texas.
But, in the midst of all of this, we have got to remain focused, focused, focused. In 65 days the most important election in modern American history will be taking place and we have got to defeat Donald Trump. We have got to defeat him not only because he is a pathological liar, because he rejects science and because he is a racist and a xenophobe. We have got to defeat him because he is undermining American democracy and is rapidly moving this country into an authoritarian type of society, something we may never recover from.
In terms of defeating Trump, one of the issues that has not gotten the attention that it deserves is the real contrast that exists between Trump’s economic agenda and the economic proposals being supported by Joe Biden. At a time when our country is struggling with the worst economic meltdown since the great depression, this is an issue of enormous consequence for tens of millions of working class families.
Let me be clear. Biden’s economic agenda is not mine and does not go as far as I, and many of you, wish it would. But, on the other hand, at a time of massive and growing income and wealth inequality there is no question but that his proposals are strong and will go a long, long way toward improving life for working families.
Yesterday, I made an important speech about this issue on our social media channels. Let me summarize here what I said about Joe’s plans for the economy.
When Joe Biden is president, he will increase the federal minimum wage from a starvation wage of $7.25 an hour to a living wage of $15 an hour. And let’s be clear: When we increase that minimum wage to $15 an hour we will be raising the wages of more than 40 million workers.
Joe Biden also knows that if we are going to expand the middle class in this country, we must make it easier for workers to join unions, engage in collective bargaining and end the heavy-handed corporate tactics that make it hard for workers to unionize in America.
And here’s something else that Joe Biden understands. And that is that, in the midst of the worst economic crisis in our lifetimes, we need to create millions of good-paying jobs through a massive investment in rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure — our roads, bridges, sidewalks, schools, water systems and affordable housing.
Paid Family and Medical Leave
Like most of us, Joe Biden is embarrassed that the United States is the only major nation on earth not to guarantee paid medical and family leave. That’s why Joe has proposed at least 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave for working families.
And when we talk about babies and young children, we all know that our current childcare system is totally inadequate. Our children and their parents deserve high-quality, reliable and affordable childcare. That’s why Joe has proposed universal pre-K education for every 3- and 4-year-old in the country.
And when we talk about making sure that we have the best educated workforce in the world, Joe understands that we need to make public colleges, universities and trade schools tuition-free for working families.
As some of you may recall, last year I traveled to Canada with a group of diabetics to buy insulin, a life and death drug for more than 30 million Americans. And here’s what we found. You can buy insulin in Canada, a few miles from our border, for 1/10th the price that it is sold here. No. You didn’t mishear me. The same product, made by the same company, is sold for 1/10th the price that it’s sold here. But it’s not just Canada and it’s not just insulin. While the drug companies, through their collusion, price fixing and greed, make obscene profits, we pay by far the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs. Joe Biden understands that we must take on the pharmaceutical industry and significantly lower drug prices in this country.
As many of you know the United States is the only major country not to guarantee health care for all people. Meanwhile, despite paying almost twice as much per capita for health care as the people of other countries, over 90 million Americans are uninsured or underinsured and over half a million Americans go bankrupt because they cannot afford to pay their medical bills.
While Joe and I disagree on the best path to get to universal coverage, his proposal will greatly expand access to health care and make it more affordable for tens of millions across this country.
My friends, of course many of us wish our campaign would have won the Democratic primary. But now our first priority must be to defeat Donald Trump, the most dangerous president in modern American history.
Then, on Day 1 of the Biden administration, we will mobilize the working families of this country to demand a government that represents all of us and not just the few.
So I am asking you today to do something important — because Donald Trump and the Republican Party would love nothing more than to divide our supporters up as people start to vote. And the truth is, the corporate media would love nothing more than to write stories about how we are not united in the fight to beat Trump.
So I am asking:
We live in the wealthiest nation in the history of the world, but that reality means very little because almost all of that wealth is controlled by a tiny handful of individuals.
This November we take the first step to turn that around and to create a government that works for all of us, and not just the 1 percent.