Transcript: Kerry Responds to President's Address

Good morning. This is John Kerry.

Yesterday morning, once again, we received disappointing news about job creation here in America. The newest numbers show that this past month we simply haven't created enough new jobs, nowhere near the number we need to get our economy moving again.

President Bush is now certain to be the first president since Herbert Hoover in the Great Depression who didn't create a single new job. Over the past three years, we've lost 1.6 million jobs in the United States. And to make matters worse, the new jobs we're creating pay and average of $9,000 less than the ones we've lost. Many of them are part-time or temporary, and they don't provide any health care or benefits.

So today we're losing good jobs and replacing them with ones that simply don't pay the bills. But all across America, people who are working are working hard. They're working two jobs, three jobs, and they're working weekends just to get by.

Parents are sitting at kitchen tables and wondering how they're going to make ends meet, how they're going to buy the back-to-school clothes this week and still pay last week's doctor bill, how they're going to make this month's mortgage payment and still cover next semester's tuition, and whether they're going to be able to save for retirement or just have enough left over for a night at the movies.

If President Bush thinks this is good enough, then he just doesn't get it. And two nights ago in New York he presented an economic plan that will actually hurt the middle class and working families even more. His plan does nothing about outsourcing. In fact, during the convention, his own secretary of labor said that shipping jobs overseas was good for America.

He said that he wants to reform the tax code. But what he talked about is a national sales tax which would raise the cost of everything that you buy. And now he wants to privatize Social Security and cut your benefits. Is that an economic plan that will strengthen middle class families? You be the judge.

To me, it sounds like the same, tired, old policies of the past that put the special interests above America's interests. Today, it's very clear that President Bush's economic policies have failed the American middle class. He said tax cuts for the wealthy were going to turn things around. They haven't. And for four days in New York, instead of talking about jobs and the economy, we heard anger and insults.

First, John Edwards and I are going to stop giving tax breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas. Instead, we're going to reward companies that create and keep the good-paying jobs right here where they belong in the United States of America.

Next, we're going to invest in the jobs of the future, in the technologies and innovation, to ensure that America stays ahead of the competition. And then we're going to tackle the rising cost of living that's dragging down the middle class. We're going to lower health care premiums up to $1,000, and we're going to give tax credits to help you pay for child care and college tuition.

And with eight million people unemployed, with the largest deficits in American history, 40 minutes of promises in one speech can't make up for four years of failure. President Bush just doesn't seem to understand that a strong America in the world begins right here at home.

We need to put Americans back to work to get the American economy working. And not just in any job, but in good jobs, jobs that actually let you pay your bills and build your dreams after a week's work. And when John Edwards and I are in the White House, that is exactly what we're going to do.

And here's how we'll do it: We're going to rein in government spending and restore fiscal discipline to Washington. In just four years, we'll cut the deficit in half by passing the bill that John McCain and I wrote to end corporate welfare. And by making our government live by the very same rule that families struggle to live by all across our country: Pay as you go.

In the end, this election comes down to one thing: Are we going to continue with the same warmed-over policies that George Bush has tried these last four years, or are we going to move in a new direction?

I believe we need a new direction for America's families. And together we're going to put the middle class first and we're going to get our economy back on track.

Thanks so much for listening.