Joe Biden on Corporations
Vice President; previously Democratic Senator (DE)
When the vice president finally speaks, offering up a 20-minute performance that is a classic Biden hodgepodge, he ends up with a ramble that includes a victory lap for the 2009 auto bailout he championed ("We and the American people placed a bet on all of you sitting in front of me. We won!"), an homage to American muscle cars ("I love that Cadillac ATS!") and a bit of campaign rhetoric, ready-made to outflank Clinton in the industrial heartland ("This is going to be the American century in manufacturing!").
We listened to Senators, Congressmen, advisors--we shouldn't step in, the risks were too high, the outcome too uncertain. But the President didn't see it their way. He understood something they didn't: this wasn't just about cars. It was about the Americans who built those cars.
In those meetings, I often thought about my dad. My dad was an automobile man. He would have been one of those guys selling American cars to the American people. I thought about what this crisis would have meant for the mechanics, the secretaries, the sales people who he managed. And I know for certain, that if my dad were here today, he would be fighting for this President, who fought to save all those jobs, his job, and the jobs of all the people he cared about. He would respect Barack Obama for having the guts to stand up for the automobile industry, when others walked away.
Remember what the headlines were saying when you woke up a couple of years ago. "It's bankruptcy time for GM." Another headline--"Crunch time looms for Chrysler." A million good jobs were at stake on the assembly line, at the parts factories, at the automobile dealerships, right down to the diners outside each of those facilities. We knew that resurrecting the industry wasn't going to be popular. We weren't going to give up on a million jobs and on the iconic industry America invented without a real fight.
A: With the WTO guidelines, we could stop these [unsafe] products coming in now. This president doesn’t act. We have much more leverage on China than they have on us. The idea that a country with 800 million people in poverty has greater leverage over us is preposterous. We’ve yielded to corporate America. We’ve yielded to this president’s notion of what constitutes trade, and we’ve refused to enforce the laws that exist.
CLINTON: Well, outsourcing is a problem. We have to end the tax breaks that still exist in the tax code for outsourcing jobs.
BIDEN: Eliminating the tax breaks is not going to keep jobs here in America. We’ve got to make it more attractive to have jobs here in America and for corporations to be here. You’ve got to take the burden off the corporations with a health care system that’s universal, so we’re not at a competitive disadvantage. You’ve got to have a better education system to provide for the highest-tech jobs that we educate our folks for, so we’re not importing 400,000 computer engineers to work in Silicon Valley. And you’ve got to deal with the innovation and infrastructure needs in this country--tunnels, bridges, etc.--which we haven’t done to make us more competitive.
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