Editor's note: NPR fact-checked Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's economic speech on Monday.
Trump delivered an address Monday to the Detroit Economic Club, outlining a plan to cut taxes and get rid of regulations. Today was Hillary Clinton's turn, where she argued that her plan would boost the middle class while Trump's plan "would give trillions in tax cuts to big corporations, millionaires, and Wall Street money managers."
Clinton spoke at Futuramic Tool & Engineering, an advanced manufacturing facility in Warren, Mich. Clinton has been talking about her jobs plan for weeks now, visiting factories and small business. Her address was meant as a contrast to Trump's dark vision of the state of American manufacturing and focus on coal and steel, industries that have been in steep decline for more than a generation.
As she's talked about the economy, Clinton has faced a couple of challenges; convincing white working class voters that she feels their pain and condensing her five point economic plan into something simple, catchy and satisfying.
She spent much of the speech drawing out contrasts with Trump, portraying them as unrealistic and destructive, while describing her own proposals.
Clinton also debuted a new attack on Trump's tax plan saying it includes a "Trump Loophole" designed to benefit his businesses and cut his own personal tax burden.
Trump's actual personal tax burden is unknown because he has broken with the long-standing tradition of presidential candidates and hasn't yet released his tax returns for public review.
A source close to Clinton says she will be releasing her 2015 tax returns in the coming days (all of her tax returns dating back to the 1970s have been released to the public) and her running mate Tim Kaine will be releasing ten years of his family's tax returns as well. This is intended to put additional pressure on Trump, who has said he won't release his taxes while they are under audit, something he claims is ongoing.
Hillary Clinton, Futuramic Tool & Engineering, Warren, Mich.
Thank you. Thank you so much.
I have to tell you, I am thrilled to be here for a number of reasons. First, it's wonderful to be back in Michigan. You can really feel the energy and dynamism that is driving this state's comeback.
[The unemployment rate in Michigan peaked in June 2009 at a stunning 14.9 percent and has been falling essentially ever since. Unemployment in the state as of June 2016 was 4.6 percent, though that is a preliminary reading. -Tamara Keith]
And, in Detroit, we've got new businesses opening, neighborhoods like Midtown and Eastern Market are coming back, the auto industry just had its best year ever.
Over in Ann Arbor, high tech firms are thriving, the next generation of engineers are getting trained up in Houghton and here at Futuramic, so well named, you are on the front lines of what I believe will be a true manufacturing renaissance in America.
I just was given a short but exciting tour by Mark Jurcak and John Couch, who were telling me about how this company, what started as and for most of its early history, was an auto supply company. And then in 2000 as the market began to change and some of the auto companies began to realign, they were faced with a choice. We all face choices in life, don't we? And this company could have just said hey, you know, our business is not going to be what it was. We've got to just fold up. Let's, you know, just kind of quit. But that's not what happened here. And what happened here is what can happen across America. You are in now what is largely an aerospace company, and because of the workforce and the work ethic and the commitment of Futuramic, you are seeing the future unfold. So, I got to see what's happening here to help build the SLS rocket, that is going to go from Macomb to Mars.
I saw the two halves of an F35 nose cone waiting to be put together. I talked with some of the workers about the absolute perfection that is required to do this work. And what I believe with all my heart is that what's happening here, can happen in so many places if we put our minds to it, if we support advanced manufacturing, if we are the kind of country that once again understands how important it is to build things. We are builders and we need to get back to building.
So we're making progress. None of us can be satisfied until the economic revitalization we're seeing in some parts of Michigan reaches every community but it is inspiring to see this combination of old fashioned hard work and cutting edge innovation. And I know my opponent in this election was here in Michigan about a week ago and it was like he was in a different place. When he visited Detroit on Monday, he talked only of failure, poverty and crime. He is missing so much about what makes Michigan great.
And the same is true when it comes to our country. He describes America as an embarrassment. He said and I quote, 'We're becoming a third world country.' Look around you my friends. Go visit with the workers building rockets. That doesn't happen in third world countries!
[Nigeria, India, Iran, Ukraine, and Algeria are developing nations with space programs. — Jonquilyn Hill]
Now we have a lot of urgent and important work to do and that's what I'm going to talk about today. Because all of the people that I have met throughout this campaign, really prove how wrong this negative, pessimistic view is. America's best days are still ahead of us if we make up our minds to actually go out and make that happen.
Just consider our assets. We have the most dynamic, productive workforce in the world, bar none. We have the most innovative businesses, the top colleges, universities, community colleges, training programs in the world. And the best science and technology. We have enormous capacity for clean energy production. We are resilient, determined, hardworking - there is nothing America can't do if we do it together. And I know this because this is how I was raised. And I don't think Mr. Trump understands any of it. He hasn't offered any credible solutions for the very real economic challenges we face.
Now, those challenges emerged long before the great recession, and they have persisted through our recovery. There's too much inequality, too little upward mobility. It is just too hard to get ahead today.
But there are common sense things that your government could do that would give Americans more opportunities to succeed. Why don't we do it? Because powerful special interests and the tendency to put ideology ahead of political progress have led to gridlock in Congress. And how can you not be frustrated, and even angry, when you see nothing getting done? And a lot of people feel no one is on their side and no one has their back. And that is not how it's supposed to be in America. If I am fortunate enough to be your President, I will have your back every single day that I serve.
And my mission in the White House will be to make our economy work for everyone, not just those at the top. This is personal for me. I am a product of the American middle class. I was born in Chicago. I was raised in a suburb. But my grandfather worked at the Scranton lace mill in Scranton, Pennsylvania, for fifty years. And because he worked hard, my dad was able to go to college, and eventually start his own small business – and send me off into the world to follow my dreams.
No matter how far those dreams have taken me, I've always remembered that I'm the daughter of a small-business owner and the granddaughter of a factory worker — and proud of both.
So here's what I want. I want every American family to be able to tell the same story. If you work hard. You do your part, you should be able to give your children all the opportunities they deserve. That is the basic bargain of America.
Now, whether we will be able to renew that bargain on even better terms for the 21st century depends, in large measure, on the outcome of this election.
So here are four questions that I hope the American people will ask of both candidates — and that the answers should help make your choice in November crystal clear:
First, which candidate has a real plan to create good-paying jobs?
Second, who will restore fairness to our economy and ensure that those at the top pay their fair share of taxes?
Third, who will really go to bat for working families?
And, fourth, who can bring people together to deliver results that will make a difference in your lives?
Now, I hope that after giving a fair hearing to both sides, you will join the millions of people across our country supporting this campaign – not just Democrats, but a growing number of Republicans and Independents as well.
Now, when it comes to creating jobs, I would argue it's not even close. Even conservative experts say Trump's agenda will pull our economy back into recession. And according to an independent analysis by a former economic adviser to Senator John McCain,
[Clinton is referring to Mark Zandi here, chief economist at Moody's Analytics. She has brought up the Zandi connection on multiple occasions. Zandi was listed among McCain's advisors on his 2008 campaign, but Zandi also advised the Obama administration on its stimulus package, as the Wall Street Journal reported this year. A search on OpenSecrets.org finds that he contributed to John McCain, but also to several Democrats over the years — including Hillary Clinton last year. All of which is to say that while solely linking him to McCain might imply that he's a conservative economist, that would be misleading. — Danielle Kurtzleben]
if you add up all of Trump's ideas – from cutting taxes for the wealthy and corporations to starting a trade war with China to deporting millions of hard-working immigrants — the result would be a loss of 3.4 million jobs.
[This Moody's report tried to project the effects of a bundle of Trump's policies together. They projected that employment would grow at first, but then jobs would disappear. Ultimately, they wrote, the U.S. would lose 3.4 million jobs during a Trump presidency under his policies, compared to a 6 million gain under current law. That said, a forecast like this offers "false precision," as the Upshot's Neil Irwin pointed out, as it is necessarily uncertain — the assumptions beneath the report, he wrote, "involve some guesswork and are at least debatable." — Danielle Kurtzleben]
By contrast, the same analyst found that with our plans, the economy would create more than 10 million new jobs.
[This Moody's report tried to project the effects of a bundle of Trump's policies together. They projected that employment would grow at first, but then jobs would disappear. Ultimately, they wrote, the U.S. would lose 3.4 million jobs during a Trump presidency under his policies, compared to a 6 million gain under current law. That said, a forecast like this offers "false precision," as the Upshot's Neil Irwin pointed out, as it is necessarily uncertain — the assumptions beneath the report, he wrote, "involve some guesswork and are at least debatable." (Meaning the same would be true of the assumptions underlying the report on Clinton's policies — see below.) — Danielle Kurtzleben]
So let me tell you how we would do it.
I believe every American willing to work hard should be able to find a job that provides dignity, pride, and decent pay that can support a family.
So starting on Day One, we will work with both parties to pass the biggest investment in new, good-paying jobs since World War II.
We will put Americans to work building and modernizing our roads, our bridges, our tunnels, our railways, our ports, our airports. We are way overdue for this, my friends.
[Spending on infrastructure is one area where Clinton and Trump agree. She has proposed spending $275 billion over five years on infrastructure. Trump, meanwhile, has said he would double Clinton's spending on infrastructure — that's a big change from the usual Republican economic thinking, as the Wall Street Journal's Michelle Hackman wrote, as it could mean a significantly bigger deficit. — Danielle Kurtzleben]
We are living off the investments that were made by our parents and grandparents' generations.
We will also help cities like Detroit and Flint connect underserved neighborhoods to opportunity, expanding affordable housing, and repair schools and failing water systems as well.
You know, I happen to think we should be ambitious. While we're at it, let's connect every household to broadband by the year 2020. It's astonishing to me how many places in America not way way far away from cities but in cities and near cities that don't have access to broadband. And that disadvantages kids who are asked to do homework using the Internet; 5 million of them live in homes without access to the Internet. So you talk about an achievement gap, it starts right there. And let's build a cleaner, more resilient power grid with enough renewable energy to power every home in our country as well.
Some country is going to be the clean energy superpower of the 21st century and create millions of jobs and businesses. It's probably going to be either China, Germany, or America. I want it to be us! We invent the technology, we should make it and use it and export it, which will help to grow our economy.
[Bringing jobs back from overseas is a major theme of Trump's campaign that has resonated with many voters around the country. On the issue of energy, Trump primarily focuses on reviving older energy sources like coal and promoting fracking, though he has talked about advocating "clean coal" technology.An analysis by Scientific American found that Trump's promise to bring back closed coal mines would be difficult to fulfill, both because of environmental regulations and economic shifts -Sarah McCammon]
And here's something you don't always hear enough from Democrats: a big part of our plan will be unleashing the power of the private sector to create more jobs at higher pay.
And that means for us, creating an infrastructure bank to get private funds off the sidelines and complement our public investments. $25 billion in government seed funding could unlock more than $250 billion and really get our country moving on our infrastructure plans.
And we're going to invest $10 billion in "Make it in America" partnerships to support American manufacturing and recommit to scientific research that can create entire new industries.
When Mark and John were giving me the tour and I was talking to some of the workers along the way and asking them where some of the precision machinery came from that is being used here at Futuramic, what I hear all over the country - Germany, Japan, Italy - I want to bring that precision manufacturing back to the United States. There is no reason we can't begin to make those machines ourselves and supply the rest of the world instead of buying from somewhere else.
Let's also expand incentives like the New Market Tax Credits that can bring businesses, government, and communities together to create good jobs in places that have been left out and left behind.
From neglected neighborhoods in Detroit and Flint to Logging Country, Coal Country, and Native American communities.
From rural areas ravaged by addiction and lost jobs to industrial regions hollowed out when factories closed.
As president, I will also make a major push to empower small businesses and entrepreneurs.
With new national initiatives to cut red tape at every level and expand access to credit, especially through community banks and credit unions.
I will propose a new plan to dramatically simplify tax filing for small businesses. Right now, the smallest businesses, the kind that my dad had, cause it was a really small business, spend 20 times more per employee to prepare their taxes compared to their larger companies. It should be as easy as printing out a bank statement.
[This stat comes from 2015 congressional testimony from Tax Analysts Chief Economist Martin A. Sullivan, who found that firms that employ 1 to 5 people spend $1,101 per employee on federal tax compliance, compared to $51 per employee at businesses that have 50 or more employees. In "Her Way," authors Jeff Gerth and Don Van Natta write about Hugh Rodham's small business, saying that only "when his two sons were old enough to pitch in on the occasional Saturday, did he get help. — Danielle Kurtzleben]
Let's free entrepreneurs to do what they do best – innovate, grow, and hire. As Mark said, this company started because of a drive down a road, and thinking about it, talking about it, then seeing one of the old Oldsmobile futuramics and deciding, hey not only do I have an idea, I have a name. In America, if you can dream it, you should be able to build it. And we're going to get back to doing that.
Now, Donald Trump has a different view. He's made a career of stiffing small businesses from Atlantic City to Las Vegas. There are companies that were left hanging because he refused to pay their bills. A lot of those companies scraped together what they could to pay their employees and many of them put their businesses at risk and some of them ended up taking bankruptcy. It wasn't because Trump couldn't pay them, it was because he wouldn't pay them.
[A USA Today investigation found hundreds of people who accuse Trump of failing to pay them for their work. According to USA Today, Trump has put the blame on contractors he hired as go-betweens, and has said that the events described happened long ago. The Wall Street Journal has done similar reporting. - Sarah McCammon]
And that's why I take it personally. My dad ran a printing plant. He had two really long tables. He printed fabric for draperies. He would lay out the fabric and then he would take a silkscreen and he would go down the table, he'd put the silkscreen down, he'd pour the paint in, he'd take the squeegee, he'd go across the screen, he'd lift it up, he'd go down all the way to the end and then he'd start on the other table. He worked hard. And then when he finished, he would load all that fabric up, put it in his car, and take it to the business that had ordered it - maybe a restaurant, or a hotel or some office. He expected to be paid when he showed up. He did the work. He paid for the supplies and the labor that he often hired to help him on big jobs. He expected to be paid. I can't imagine what would have happened to my father and his business if he had gotten a contract from Trump. And showing up and submitting his bill had been told we're not going to pay and if you don't like it, sue us. My father never could have sued a big organization like that. I just don't understand it.
I've met all kinds of workers, painters, plumbers. I've met small businesses that provided pianos, installed glass or marble, all of whom were denied payment and after going back time and again being told, well maybe we'll pay thirty cents on the dollar or fifty cents on the dollar. That's not how we do business in America.
So we've got to create more good jobs that are going to help more people.
For example, our modern service economy is empowering consumers with more choices and greater flexibility. But we need to do more to empower the workers in our service sector too. The people taking care of our children and our parents they deserve a good wage, good benefits, and a secure retirement.
And, it's crucial that every American have access to the education and skills they need to get the jobs of the future.
So we will fight to make college tuition-free for the middle class and debt-free for everyone.
We will also liberate millions of people who already have student debt by making it easier to refinance and repay what you owe as a portion of your income so you never have to pay more than you can afford.
It's not right that Donald Trump can ignore his debts, but students and families can't refinance theirs.
And here's something neither party talks about enough: a four-year degree shouldn't be the only path to a good job. You should be able to learn a skill, practice a trade, and make a good living doing it.
So many Americans have the talent and the will to succeed — whether they're kids right out of high school or older people displaced by automation and outsourcing.
For too long, big promises about the power of training and retraining haven't delivered like they should. It doesn't help anyone to be trained for a job that doesn't exist.
So we'll support high-quality union training programs, propose new tax credits to encourage more companies to offer paid apprenticeships that let you earn while you learn, and do more to dignify skills training across the board – for welders, machinists, health technicians, and so many other fields.
I'm sure some of you are thinking, that all sounds good. But what about trade? After all, Trump talks about it all the time.
Well, let's start with this: It's true that too often,past trade deals have been sold to the American people with rosy scenarios that didn't pan out. Those promises now ring hollow in many communities across Michigan and our country that have seen factories close and jobs disappear.
Too many companies lobbied for trade deals so they could sell products abroad but instead moved abroad and sold back into the United States.
It's also true that China and other countries have gamed the system for too long. Enforcement — especially during the Bush administration — has been too lax. Investments at home that would make us more competitive have been blocked. And American workers and communities have paid the price.
But the answer is not to rant and rave – or to cut ourselves off from the world. That would kill even more jobs. The answer is to finally make trade work for us, not against us.
So my message to every worker in Michigan and across America is this: I will stop any trade deal that kills jobs or holds down wages – including the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
I oppose it now, I'll oppose it after the election, and I'll oppose it as President.
As a Senator, I fought to defend New York's manufacturers and steel-makers from unfair Chinese trading practices.
And I opposed the only multilateral trade deal that came before the Senate while I was there, because it didn't meet my high bar.
As Secretary of State, I fought hard for American businesses to get a fair shot around the world and to stop underhanded trading practices like currency manipulation and theft of intellectual property.
As President, I'll stand up to China and anyone else who tries to take advantage of American workers and companies.
I'm going to ramp up enforcement by appointing a new chief trade prosecutor, tripling the number of enforcement officers, and when countries break the rules, we won't hesitate to impose targeted tariffs.
And Trump? He may talk a big game on trade, but his approach is based on fear, not strength. Fear that we can't compete with the rest of the world even when the rules are fair. Fear that our country has no choice but to hide behind walls.
If Team USA was as fearful as Trump, Michael Phelps and Simone Biles [sim-OWN BYE-ells] would be cowering in the locker room. Instead, they're winning gold medals. Because America isn't afraid to compete.
Right now, thousands of Michigan companies are exporting billions of dollars of products around the world. We want them to sell even more – and create more jobs here at home.
But corporations shouldn't abandon profitable operations here to move abroad, just to give shareholders a quicker return, CEOs a bigger bonus, and unions a weaker hand to play.
Now, before he tweets about how he's really one who'll put "America First" in trade, let's remember where Trump makes many of his own products. Because it's sure not America.
He's made Trump ties in China and Trump suits in Mexico instead of here in Michigan.
[Trump says he manufactures products outside the United States because he's a businessman and that's the best way to compete in the current marketplace. What's unclear, as conservative and liberal observers have pointed out, is what policies Trump would propose to change the current market dynamics to encourage textile production in the U.S. -Sarah McCammon]
He keeps saying it's not possible to make these things in America anymore. That's just wrong.
We created a website — hillaryclinton.com/make-it-here — with a list of a hundred places across the United States already producing similar goods.
One positive thing Trump could do to make America great again is to actually make great things in America again.
Now, let's look at the second question: which candidate will fight for fairness?
This is an urgent need. The tide isn't rising fast enough, and it's certainly not lifting all boats. Since the crash, too many of the gains have gone to the top 1 percent.
The rules and incentives of our economy reward corporations for putting short-term stock prices above long-term investments in workers, equipment, and research.
While corporate profits are at near-record highs, paychecks for most people have barely budged.
Incomes aren't growing fast enough to keep up with costs like prescription drugs and child care.
I believe that every employee, from the CEO suite to the factory floor, contributes to a business' success, so everybody should share in the rewards – especially those putting in long hours for little pay.
So I'm proposing a new tax credit to encourage more companies to share profits with workers.
More broadly, we will fight for a more progressive, more patriotic tax code that puts American jobs first.
Right now, when a corporation outsources jobs and production, it can write off the costs. We should stop that, and instead make them give back tax breaks they received here at home. For those that move their headquarters overseas to avoid paying their fair share of taxes, they should pay a new exit tax.
And Wall Street, corporations, and the super-rich should finally pay their fair share of taxes.
I support the Buffett Rule, because multi-millionaires should not be able to pay a lower tax rate than their secretaries.
We should also add a new tax on multi-millionaires... crack down on tax gaming by corporations... and close the carried interest loophole – something I've been calling for years.
What does Trump say? There's a myth out there that he'll stick it to the rich and powerful because, at heart, he's really on the side of the little guy. Don't believe it.
Not when he pledges to rip up basic rules that hold corporations accountable...when he wants to scrap regulations that stop polluters from poisoning the air our children breathe and the water we drink... and let insurance companies write their own rules again.
Trump would roll back tough rules on the financial industry. I'll do the opposite – we should strengthen those rules so that Wall Street can never wreck Main Street again!
Trump even wants to abolish the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which has already returned more than $11 billion to 25 million Americans. Why would you get rid of that?
Then there's Trump's tax plan. He would give trillions in tax cuts to big corporations, millionaires, and Wall Street money managers. That would explode our national debt and lead to massive cuts in priorities like education, healthcare, and environmental protection.
In his speech on Monday, he called for a new tax loophole – let's call it the "Trump Loophole."
It would allow him to pay less than half the current tax rate on income from many of his companies. He'd pay a lower rate than millions of middle class families.
One nonpartisan expert at the Tax Policy Center described this plan as, quote, "a really nice deal"... for Donald Trump. Of course, it's hard to say how nice, because he refuses to do what every other Presidential candidate in decades has done and release his tax returns.
But we do know that the 400 richest taxpayers in America would get an average tax cut of more than $15 million a year from this loophole.
Then there's the Estate Tax, which Trump wants to eliminate altogether. If you believe that he's as wealthy as he says, that alone would save the Trump family $4 billion. But it would do nothing for 99.8 percent of Americans. Let me repeat that: the Trump family gets a $4 billion tax cut... and 99.8 percent of Americans get nothing.
Just think about what we could do with those $4 billion dollars. We could pay for more than 47,000 veterans to get a 4-year college degree.
[That's about right, so long as not every veteran chooses to go to a public school outside their state. In the 2015-2016 school year, the cost of in-state tuition and fees for one year at 4-year public colleges - the GI Bill won't pay for private colleges - was just over $9,000. Multiply that by four years and you get $36,000. Multiply that by 47,000 and you get about $1.7 billion - well under Clinton's estimate. But out-of-state tuition was just under $24,000 per year. Do the same math and you'll end up at $4.5 billion, slightly over Clinton's estimate. - Meg Anderson]
We could provide a year's worth of health care to nearly 3 million kids.
[The Children's Health Insurance Program insures more than 8 million children annually and costs more than $13 billion. Insuring 3 million more kids represents an increase of about 37 percent. When you factor that increase into the cost, you'll see an increase slightly under $5 billion — which is probably what makes the word "nearly" important in this claim. - Meg Anderson]
Or fund about a year's worth of federal assistance to state and local law enforcement. That's a better way to spend the money.
On Monday, I'm going to be in Scranton, Pennsylvania, with Vice President Biden. He has a saying: "Don't tell me what you value. Show me your budget and I will tell you what you value."
Well, Donald Trump wants to give trillions in tax breaks to people like himself. I want to invest in our veterans, our kids, and our police officers. You can judge for yourself about our values.
Now, it's true that both of us have proposed to cut taxes for middle class families. As usual, he's making big promises. But, his advisors have said that he may not stand by them.Instead, the tax cuts he doubled down on in his speech on Monday offer trillions to the richest Americans and corporations. One of the differences between Donald Trump and me is that I'll stand by my plans.
So this is another case of the old saying that "if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is."
This brings us to the third question: Which candidate can you actually count on to go to bat for workers and working families?
It's not enough to pay lip service to being on your side. We have to recognize how Americans actually live and work in the 21st century – and then offer real solutions that make your lives easier.
We know that women are now the sole or primary breadwinner in a growing number of families. And more Americans are cobbling together part time work, or striking out on their own. So we have to make it easier to be good workers, good parents, and good caregivers, all at the same time.
That's why I've set out a bold vision to make quality, affordable childcare available to all Americans and limit costs to 10 percent of family income.
On Monday, Trump offered his first real ideas on this topic. Previously, he dismissed concerns about childcare. He said it was, quote, "not an expensive thing" because you just need some blocks and you need some swings.
Now he says he wants to exclude childcare payments from taxation. But his plan was panned left, right, and center – because it's transparently designed for rich people.
He would give wealthy families 30 or 40 cents on the dollar for their nannies, and little or nothing for millions of hard-working families trying to afford childcare so they can get to work and keep the job.
[Trump's proposed income tax deduction on the average cost of childcare was criticized for likely being more of a help to higher-income families than to many working-class families. However, the Trump campaign has also said that it will allow lower-income families to deduct the cost of childcare from their payroll taxes. The campaign says it will offer more details in coming weeks on their childcare plans. — Danielle Kurtzleben]
We can do better. We should expand the Child Tax Credit to provide real relief to tens of millions of working families struggling with the costs of raising children – the same families Donald Trump's plan largely ignores.
This is just a start. Because the more we do to help working families, the more our entire economy will benefit.
For example, guaranteeing equal pay won't just increase paychecks for women – it will boost family budgets and get incomes rising across the board. Yet for some reason, Trump's against it.
Paid family leave won't only make life easier for moms and dads — it will also keep skilled, talented Americans in the workforce and grow our economy. That's why every other advanced economy already offers it. But again, Trump's against it.
[There are no federal legal requirements for paid family leave in the U.S., and among OECD countries, the United States is the only country that doesn't offer paid maternity leave. Some states have their own paid leave laws and most U.S. workers are covered by the Family Medical Leave Act, which allows for up to 12 weeks of leave annually, albeit unpaid. - Meg Anderson]
Raising the federal minimum wage won't just put more money in the pocket of low-income families – it also means they spend more money at the businesses in their neighborhoods. Trump's against that as well.
Expanding Social Security won't just help older Americans retire with dignity – it will ease burdens on families and communities.
Passing comprehensive immigration reform won't just help keep hard-working families together – it will grow our entire economy.
And finally, strengthening unions doesn't just serve members – it leads to better pay, and benefits, and working conditions for all employees.
[A large body of academic research suggests that labor unions do raise the overall level of wages and benefits in the economy. An influential 2011 research paper found that declines in union membership since 1973 accounted for a third of the increase in wage inequality for male workers and a fifth of the increase in wage inequality for female workers. -Brett Neely]
And giving Americans in every state the choice of a public-option health insurance plan won't just help those who struggle to afford coverage – it will strengthen competition and drive down costs for everyone.
These are all causes I've worked on for decades. I believe they point to a fundamental truth about our economy. It may seem zero-sum when you're competing for a job, a promotion, or a contract – someone wins and someone loses. But that's not the full picture. If you step back, you'll see that we really are all in this together.
If we grow together, we can all rise together. Because we're stronger together.
And that's why the fourth question is key: Who can bring people together to get any of this done?
What we need is serious, steady leadership that can find common ground and build on it based on hard but respectful bargaining.
Leadership that rises above personal attacks and name calling, not revels in it.
Donald Trump insults, shouts down, and bullies his opponents. He can't even play nice with his friends.
I know it's hard to imagine, but there was a time when Democrats and Republicans actually worked together. I know because I did it as First Lady, Senator, and Secretary of State. It's how we created the Children's Health Insurance Program, which covers 8 million kids, rebuilt New York after 9/11, and passed a treaty reducing the threat from Russia's nuclear weapons.
So I am convinced we can work together again.
One of the reasons I asked Tim Kaine to be my running mate is that he has a record of working across the aisle to get things done, as a mayor, governor, and now Senator.
Together, we'll make full use of the White House's power to convene. We'll get everyone at the table – not just Republicans and Democrats, but business and labor leaders... academics and experts... and, most importantly, all of you. I want working people to have a real say in your government again.
That means we have to get unaccountable money out of our politics, overturn Citizens United, and expand voting rights, not restrict them.
Starting even before the election, we will bring together leaders from across our economy and our communities for meetings on jobs,American competitiveness, and working families. We all need to pull together and give our country the best chance to succeed.
The bottom line is this: I'm running for president to build an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top.
Donald Trump wants America to work for him and his friends, at the expense of everyone else.
He's offered no credible plans to address what working families are up against today. Nothing on student loans or the cost of prescription drugs. Nothing for farmers and struggling rural communities looking to build a new future with clean energy and advanced agriculture. Nothing for communities of color in our cities to overcome barriers of systemic racism and create new opportunities for young people.
All he does offer is an even more extreme version of the failed theory of trickle-down economics, with the addition of his own unique Trumpian spin – outlandish ideas that even many Republicans reject.
Trump may believe that he "alone can fix" our country. Clearly, he doesn't know the people of Michigan. He doesn't see businesses, labor unions, local government, clergy and community leaders coming together every single day to make things better.
Yes, there is still a long road ahead, but Michigan is on the rise. And everyone is contributing. That's America at its best.
I hope you'll stay active and engaged – working together to create jobs and build up your communities... working together to get out the vote and win in November... and working together after the election to press for the real progress we need.
As your president, I'll be your partner every step of the way. Because our nation needs every one of us to lend our energy, talents, and ambition to making America better.
"Stronger Together" is not just a slogan for our campaign. It's a guiding principle for the future we're going to build. And it's the choice we've got to make this November — whether our country will work for everyone, or just for those at the top.
Whether it'll be a "stronger together" economy where we all rise together, or an "us versus them" economy where we all fight over a shrinking pie.
I think the choice is clear. I believe with all my heart that the American Dream is alive and big enough for everyone to share in its promise. So I'm asking for your support to help make that happen.
Thank you very much.