Bill Clinton at Cleveland’s Ginn Academy: “Write your own life story”

According to the former president, and mostly corroborated by a New York Times article, Carrier is moving even though the division was making a $2.9 billion per year profit and per unit profit margins were increasing. A Salon article argues that United Technologies’ board of directors could have nixed the move, but chose not to. Instead, the company accelerated a $12 billion stock repurchase program that boosted its share price. Clinton said 2,100 jobs were lost “just so, in the short-run, the most active shareholders (that is, the ones with a lot of money) could get their money out in a year and a day at a lower tax rate and so the CEO could get his bonus.”

Clinton did not mention the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) which was negotiated and signed into law during his administration. Many blame NAFTA for making moves like the one in Indiana more profitable. Instead, he spoke of Hillary Clinton’s desire to reward companies through lower taxes if they stay in America, invest in their workers, give them a share of the profits and give them continued training. She also wants to allow companies to pay lower taxes if they invest in coal country, inner city neighborhoods and Native American communities. She would raise taxes on companies that failed to do those things.

He stressed we must stop corporations from being operated solely for the rich shareholders. He agrees with the Salon article that all stakeholders should be important. Companies run for all stakeholders make more money over a five to ten year period than those that don’t. We must build a stakeholder economy, said the former president, because putting everyone in this together will mean that everybody must be treated fairly.

Bill Clinton speaks to students and the community at Cleveland's Ginn Academy

Bill Clinton explains wife Hillary Clinton’s plans to boost the economy and help students pay for education during stop at Cleveland’s Ginn Academy.

Clinton also said Hillary wanted to streamline the New Markets Tax Credit program implemented during his administration that gives businesses a 39% tax credit for investing in areas with high poverty and unemployment rates, and; encourage small businesses, which provide two-thirds of new jobs, by making it cheaper to process small business loans.

The Ginn Academy homepage states students have earned $2.7 million in college scholarships since its opening. By anyone’s standards, it is successful in getting its students into college. With that in mind, Clinton pointed out to the largely millennial audience that Hillary has adopted many of Democratic primary rival Bernie Sanders’ ideas about paying for college and the two have worked on others together since she won the nomination. She wants to make college tuition-free for families with incomes below $125,000; tuition-free for everyone in community colleges, and; debt-free for everyone with family incomes over $125,000.

She also wants to make student loans refinanceable, and; allow graduates to pay their student loans off by working through AmeriCorps or converting the debt into something like a home mortgage, but with only a fixed percentage of their after-tax income as the maximum monthly payment. He pointed out that it was nearly impossible for a new college graduate with entrepreneurial ambitions to get a business loan because of smothering student loan debt. However, if loans were capped at, for example, 10% of after-tax income, then lending institutions would be more likely to grant the loan.

In a direct reference to the recent recognition of police violence in black and brown communities, Clinton acknowledged a need for police reform and reported that his wife had met with police chiefs around the country who’ve all said they are fine with body cameras and want to be held accountable. However, they also want help with training to deal with mental illness and/or developmental disabilities as so many people who would formerly have been kept in institutions are now in the community. Most are not dangerous, but many of the black men recently killed by police have suffered from mental illness.

Hillary Clinton supports the federal government’s decision to stop using for-profit prisons to house federal inmates and hopes states will do the same. She also wants stricter gun control, particularly so that those on no-fly lists cannot purchase weapons and with regard to assault weapons whose only purpose is to kill other humans, says her husband.

“There are more than enough reasons for young people to be discouraged. There’s more than enough reason to justify road rage on the Right and the Left,” Clinton admitted. “But,” he continued, “only one thing will work: you’ve got to choose anger or you’ve got to choose answers; you’ve got to choose resentment or you’ve got to choose empowerment. Remember, the Ginn Academy’s about empowerment, isn’t it? You get to write your own life story. Muhammad Ali would have been a champion if he’d never won a boxing match because he made a decision as a boy that no matter what kinds of [obstacles] he faced, no matter how poor he was, . . . he was still going to write his own life story. That’s what I want you to be able to do. You have to decide whether you think working together with all of our diversity in a community is better or constant conflict is better. And you have to decide whether walls or bridges are better. If you believe answers are better than anger and empowerment is better than resentment; community is better than conflict and bridges are better than walls, Hillary is your candidate.”

Near the end of his remarks, Clinton did something one might not expect: he showed a great deal of empathy for Trump supporters who are mad at the world. He said he understands them because many of them are from economically depressed areas and have little education. He recounted his upbringing in Arkansas.

“I hope I will be the last president ever to have lived on a small farm without indoor plumbing. . . . Let me tell you something, guys. The outhouse is way overrated in the winter time. And if you live in the South, it’s even more overrated in the summer because you’ve got to look for the snakes. Now we’re laughing, but I want you to think: [many Trump supporters] have more in common with you than you know it.

“‘Make America Great Again’ is a sort of a code slogan for saying, ‘Somebody else has been getting ahead of you in the food chain and I’m going to push them down and pull you back up again.’ . . . I’ve been living this all my life and it’s been a story long before I was born. And here’s what I want you to know: It’s a fool’s errand to keep sliding people around on the social totem pole. Hillary wants to tear the totem pole down so we can all go forward together. And all rise together and all live together and all work together,” he crescendoed over thunderous applause.

“Let’s be stronger together. Let’s believe in the future together and let’s write a whole new chapter of American greatness.” And so, Clinton said again and again: Write your own life story.

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