Whoa, thank you. A lot of people here thank you. You know, three-and-a-half months ago we just began to campaign. And everybody said that this campaign was a joke. Who believes that the American people are prepared to take on the economic and political establishment of America? And three-and-a-half months have gone by we have had huge crowds all over America in Iowa, New Hampshire, California, Oregon you name it. And when people ask me why, what I tell them is the American people are saying enough is enough. This country belongs to all of us not just a handful of billionaires.
And before I get going I want to wish a happy birthday to some institution. It’s called Social Security, 80 years old. And let me be very clear. Virtually all of the Republican candidates in one form or another want to cut Social Security. Together we are not going to let them do that. When we have seniors in this country trying to get by on 12, 13,000 a year, disabled people unable to put enough food on the table, no, we’re not gonna cut Social Security. We’re going to expand Social Security. And we’re gonna do that by lifting the cap on taxable income.
In America today what we are seeing is the disappearance of the great middle class. We are seeing millions of our brothers and sisters in Iowa, Vermont all over this country working longer hours for lower wages. People are working two, three jobs in order to put food on the table. Meanwhile almost all of the new income all of the new wealth is going to the top one percent. That is going to change. We need an economy that works for working people not a handful of billionaires.
And let me tell you something about this campaign finance system that we have today. It is a corrupt system. Citizens United will go down in history as one of the worst decisions ever made by a Supreme Court. And let me repeat a promise that I have made to other crowds and that is no nominee of mine to the Supreme Court will get that position unless he or she pledges to make certain that Citizens United is overturned.
And when we try to understand why it is that so many of our family members our friends our neighbors are working at two or three jobs in order to cobble together an income and some healthcare the answer is that wages in our country for many people are much, much too low. And that is why we have got to recognize that a $7.25 minimum wage is a starvation wage. We’ve got to raise the minimum wage to a living wage $15 an hour.
What we understand also is that when we live in a competitive global economy we need the best educated workforce possible. It makes no sense to me that we have hundreds of thousands of bright qualified young people who want to get a higher education are unable to do so because their family lacks the income. That’s wrong. And that’s why I have introduced legislation and will fight for as President of the United States to make sure that every public college and university in America is tuition free. And we have also got to deal with the disgrace of outrageously high student debt. There are millions of Americans young and not so young who are paying seven, eight, 10 percent on their student debt, 20, 25 percent of their limited income. If you can refinance your home at two or three percent today you should not be paying eight or 10 percent on student debt. And the government should also not be profiteering on student debt held by working class families. And when we talk about raising the minimum wage to a living wage we have also got to talk about pay equity for women workers. Women cannot continue to earn 78 cents on the dollar compared to men workers.
Many of my Republican colleagues talk about family values. Their values are that a woman should not have the right to control her own body. I disagree. Their values are that our gay brothers and sisters should not be able to get married or enjoy all of the benefits of American citizenship. I disagree. But my family values, and I have been married 27 years, got four kids, seven grandchildren, my family values are that the United States has got to end the international embarrassment of being the only major country on Earth that doesn’t guarantee paid family and medical leave. When a woman has a baby in this country regardless of her income she should be able to spend three months with that baby, getting to know that baby, love that baby. That’s a family value. And when we talk about American values, when we talk about where we want to go as a country I want to end the absurdity of the United States being the only major country on Earth that does not guarantee healthcare to all people as a right. And that is why I strongly support a Medicare for all single payer program.
And when we talk about our responsibilities as adults, as parents, as citizens of this Earth we have a moral responsibility to make certain that we leave this planet in a way that is habitable for our kids and our grandchildren. The debate is over. Climate change is real, climate change is caused by human activity, climate change is already causing devastating problems in our country and around the world. What the United States must do, and I will do as President, is lead the world working with other countries to transform our energy system, well, there’s Donald Trump what can we do? You know, I apologize we left the helicopter at home. It’s in the garage forgot to bring it.
But our job is to make sure that we join the rest of the world, major countries around the world in guaranteeing healthcare to every man, woman, and child as a right of citizenship. It makes no sense to me that despite the gains of the Affordable Care Act we continue to have 35 million people uninsured and many of you are underinsured, right? High deductibles, high copayments. And yet after all of that we end up spending almost twice as much per capita on healthcare as do the people of any other country. That’s wrong. That has got to change.
And let me close on one issue that I know a lot people are thinking about. The truth is that in America we have made real progress in terms of fighting racism over the years. And I want to thank the people of Iowa for their courage in voting for Obama in 2008. And what you showed is that a state which is mostly white could go beyond the color of a candidate’s skin and vote for somebody based on their character and their ideas. Thank you, Iowa. But anyone who reads the papers, anyone who looks at TV understands that we still have a long way to go. Anyone who was seen the tapes of Sandra Bland or Samuel DuBose understands that it is unacceptable that African Americans can get taken out of their cars, thrown to the ground, assaulted, and thrown into jail and die three days later. That is not what this country is supposed to be about.
So you are looking at a candidate who if elected President will do everything that he can to end the stain of racism and institutional racism in this country and bring about major criminal justice reforms. I was a mayor for eight years and I work with our police department and the truth is most cops are good. Very difficult job, they do the right thing, and it’s a very hard job. But when a police officer or any other public official breaks the law that officer must be held accountable. Today in America we have more people in jail than any other country on Earth including China. We have a disproportionate number of people in jail who are black or Hispanic. So we’ve got a lot of work to do in criminal justice.
Number one, I will end this absurdity of having private corporations making billions out of jails. We are gonna end this minimum sentencing by which too many people have criminal records. And when people go to jail I want to make sure that there is a pathway for them out of jail. If people leave jail without money, without jobs, without education, without housing, without mental health issues being dealt with the likelihood is they’re gonna end up back in jail and that is pretty crazy. So what I want to see is I want to see us invest heavily in jobs and education, not jail and incarceration.
Now let me just conclude by telling you one thing that no other candidate will tell you. And that is I need your help obviously to win here in Iowa, and I appreciate the support of so many people. But, but if we are going to transform America, if we are going to have a government that represents working families and not large campaign donors we need a political revolution in this country. We need millions of people to stand up and make it clear to the billionaire class they cannot have it all. They are going to start paying their fair share of taxes. They are not going to continue to ship out jobs to China and elsewhere. But to make all of that happen we need a strong, grassroots political movement from Vermont to California and significantly here in Iowa. So I welcome and urge all of you to join me in helping to make the political revolution which transforms America, which creates a government that works for all of us and not just a handful. Thank you all very much.
(INAUDIBLE) = Areas that could not be heard due to background noise, tape/phone line quality, muffled speaking, etc.