Vice President Joe Biden spoke to a group of about 400 people on Thursday about the administrations economic policies.
In his opening remarks Biden explained how when he got off Air Force two he was greeted by Iowa Governor . He continued to explain how, while the two sometimes disagreed, they were never disagreeable. This showed how Biden thought highly of Brandstad even though their political views did not align. Biden then used humor to connect with his audience when joking that he was glad that he wouldn’t have to run the Drake Relays on such a cold day. He then further connected with his audience by personally shouting out to Neil Smith, the longest serving legislator in Iowa, and Des Moines Frank Cownie.
Biden continued to discuss Iowa politicians by explaining how, in his opinion, no one had a stronger conscious then former Senator Tom Harkin. He supported this claim by explaining how Harkin always stands up for the rights of the disadvantaged, whether that is through the Americans with Disabilities Act, or other human rights interests like the Vietnam War. Biden states that he like Harkin “believes that everyone deserves dignity.” Biden closed his remarks about Harkin by explaining that he and President Obama had a great ally in Senator Harkin.
Biden then launched into the main points of his speech; that the economic policies that the Obama administration created have benefited many American by growing and strengthening the middle class who help to stimulate the economy and leave a ladder of opportunity – using a phrase that Harkin uses often – for the poor to use to climb up.
He laid his argument out in chronologically order, as if he was telling a story. He began his tale by explaining that when he was sworn in on January 20, 2009 as Vice President the U.S. economy was severely damages, especially the middle class. He backed up this claim with the fact that America lost nearly 800,000 jobs at that point and that 7,0000 of those were in Iowa. He then explained that people in the middle class began to lose their places in the community as a result of losing the wealth that they held in the equity of their homes. Biden then connected with his audience again by explaining that he had to borrow against his house in order to send his two sons to college, just like many of the middle class parents in the audience. This gave him added credibility because the audience was able to connect with him as a speaker on a personal level. He then explain point blank why he was speaking to the assembled group at Drake, to show that the Obama administration had taken direct action that took the country from crisis to recover, to the point where they could begin to reestablish the middle class. He backed up this point with the tangible fact that over 1 million jobs have been added in America over the past three years.
Biden then switched gears towards a more international focus, away from the Great Recession that he coined and towards looking at America’s position in the international economy. He pointed out that China is growing too fast to keep pace with the rest of the world. He also made a point to state that he thinks that North America will be energy independent by 2018 or the 2020s. Even though this was a claim of opinion, it can still be by a variety of . He is confident that the United State’s future is bright because of the fact that we have doubled our referable energy production.
Biden again moved his speech to a different direction – this time focusing more poignantly at the majority of the advance, college students. He explained that our generation will be talking about insourcing – bringing jobs back to the United States. He proved this point by explaining that companies like GE and Ford are already moving large parts of their business back to the U.S. He then posed a question to the audience; are we going to focus on middle class or return to old policies that have failed us? This helped to keep the audience attentive and engaged in his speech. He clarified that the policies that had failed us in the past were tax cuts for the right, who could afford to pay more taxes then the middle class who made less but was forced to pay more money to the government in the form of income and property taxes. Biden explained that smart economic oversight can prevent future damage to the economy and that “we (the Obama administration) believe that country is built from middle out not top down.” This circles back to support his previously inferred statement that a strong middle class can translate into a stronger American economy. He added that “policies from Republican congress and past administrations resulted in a greater disparity of wealth.” He backed this up with the proven factual claim that 24 percent of the nation’s wealth goes to the top one percent of Americans and that some fifty – six percent of American only make between fifteen and seventeen thousand dollars a year. He continued his discussion of income disparity by pointing out that 4.6 trillion dollars was made in the manufacturing industry in the past 4 years, which resulted in increased incentives for CEO’s to buy back their stock in order to make more money. He backed this up with the fact that the average CEO makes 400 times that of the basic level employee at their company. Biden used an antidote by Warren Buffett, who advocates for tax cuts for the middle class and increases for the rich, to prove that a rich person like himself should not be allowed to pay less in taxes then their secretary who makes significantly less then they do.
Biden then returned his focus to his primary audience of college students and parents. He explained that the Obama administration’s economic agenda was based on a belief that economic growth is born from a commitment to education. He then made a shoreless plug for the administration’s push for affordable community college for all students with the opportunity for those credits earned to be easily transferred to an accredited college or university.
Biden the retuned back to the idea that he brought up earlier about America’s stance in the world economy. He explained that in order to keep companies like GE and Ford here while incising new companies to move here America needs to invest in infrastructure in order to make these companies’ business practices run smoother. He explained that America is trunked twenty – sixth in transportation, which leads companies to relocate elsewhere to places with more efficient transportation that can save them valuable time and money.
Returning to the American economy, Biden explained that ninety – three percent of economists agreed that the American economy is now in recovery. He jokingly asked the audience when was the last time ninety – three percent of economists agreed on anything, which helped to keep his audience engaged. Biden then explained that American banks are now stable and lending again thanks to the fifteen million dollars that they received in paybacks. He then assured his audience that they bailout situation of a few years ago will never happen again as a result of the Dodd Frank legislation that makes the American lending system more accountable and transparent. Biden then joked about his when talking about a front page Washington post article that talked about his assets. He joked that he only hoped they were talking about assets.
Biden poked fun at himself twice more during his speech, which showed his humility and made him more relatable in the eyes of his audience. He confessed that he was a little afraid of messing up when President Obama said that would take the lead on implementing the economic recovery program. He also poked fun at himself when he told his audience that he was always chosen to make compromises with Congress, almost as if he was the little kid who everyone else wanted to make get into trouble to keep their own noses clean.