There’s about $15 trillion in mortgage debt in the United States. This is the ENTIRE way banks make money.
They want you to take on debt. Else they go out of business and many people lose their jobs.
So they say, and the real estate agents say, and the furniture warehouses say, and your neighbors say, “it’s the American Dream.”
But does a country dream? Do all 320 million of us have the same dream?
What could we do as a society if we had our $15 trillion back? If maybe banks loaned money to help people build businesses and make new discoveries and hire people.
(Note: Here is one investment…the way I’ve averaged 12.5% for the past 7 years – Learn more here)
Housing Is Not an Investment, Part II
Let me tell you the qualities of a good investment:
A) It’s not the bulk of your net worth.
Good investments are usually part of a diversified set of investments you make in your life, including the investment you make in yourself (acquiring more skills, having more experiences, etc).
B) It doesn’t require heavy debt
See above, i.e. $15,000,000,000,000
C) You can get your money back when you need it
From hard experience I know when I needed money most, it’s exactly at those moments I can’t get it. The house can’t get sold.
And the bank that was so friendly lending the money, starts calling within 12 hours of not getting their check. And then starts suing me.
Usually when I make an investment, I’m not the one getting sued. Except when I buy a house.
Is Renting Like Throwing Money Down the Toilet?
No, renting is like “making money.” And I will tell you how.
Let’s say you want to buy a $500,000 house at a 6% mortgage.
You put $200,000 down.
The entire house would rent for about $2500, give or take. So that’s 80 months or almost eight years worth of rent you just gave to the bank in a single check.
Do you ever get that bank money back?
No, because after mortgage debt (most of which cannot be written off in taxes), property maintenance, and taxes (which go up with inflation and are almost never considered in the price of the house), closing costs, buying costs, title insurance, property upgrades, etc. the homeowner might spend close to $1,000,000 in the lifespan of the house. Or twice that.
So instead of writing that $200,000 check in one day (as opposed to spreading rent out over eight years and the landlord is in charge of all maintenance, taxes, etc so you don’t have to deal with it), you could invest in yourself.
Can you get more than 0.2% a year investing in yourself?
I hope so. Simple example: If you take two or three courses in a month on WordPress development, you can take freelance jobs making $5000 a month.
I know 14 year olds doing that. Illustration, ghostwriting, 3D rendering, are other skills you can learn. And many more. There are 1000 ways to make more.
(Note: I teach some of the ways to learn skills and make money here.)
How much do those courses cost? Often nothing. But definitely less than a mortgage.
Every investment in the world is judged by its SAFETY VERSUS ALTERNATIVES. A house investment is not safe versus the alternatives.
House Owner: It’s Good To Have Roots
The average house owner, owns their house for 4.5 years. Some own for much longer, some own for less. That’s just an average.
4.5 years are not “roots.”
Why do people move? Because jobs are no longer as stable as they once were.
And they are no longer in one or two cities but all over the country or world.
So the original reasons for owning a house (a guaranteed easy commute into an urban area where the jobs are) are no longer valid, as demonstrated by the increasingly short lifespan of house ownership.
This is a trend that is continuing forever.
The other day my sink broke. How come? Because hair falls out in the shower, stuff gets put in the toilet that shouldn’t go there, food gets caught in the pipes, and a million other things.
My house is 150 years old. It used to be a hotel. Things break. Pipes crumble in the hands of the plumber.
I email the landlord, who calls a plumber, who gets new pipes that are paid for by the landlord. The landlord wasn’t expecting it but that’s what they signed up for.
Meanwhile, I read a book on the couch in the other room.
The same thing when Hurricane Sandy came over the river. People were canoeing in the street outside my house. The water filled two feet in my house.
“This is the first time in 100 years the water got this high,” the landlord told me. So he ripped up floors, cleaned out mold, fixed furniture, and took care of it.
This time I was upstairs reading a book.
Some people like to know where they will be in 30 years. They feel comfort in that.
When you rent, you never know if you will be kicked out eventually or if the house will get sold and you have to move.
So there is no judging here. But I like flexibility in my life. I like to know I can move. And in my area, so many houses are for sale, I always know I can find a good place to rent.
And with so many houses for sale, I know those people are stuck while I am not.
Will it always be that way? No. Things cycle. But America has a tendency to overbuild. And then people overbuy. And then rentals are available.
I always look at rentals. Right now there are better houses for less rent available within a mile of my house. But I like my landlord and house and I don’t blow a good thing if I have it.
I live right on the river and can watch the leaves turn green and in the summer there are giant parties in the park next to my house.
And on Sunday nights they show movies outside next door and the whole town shows up. I watched “Bladerunner”.
But I still want the ability to pick up and move at a moment’s notice if I want to. Freedom makes me happy.
Property Rights Are the Basis of America
Many people like to own real estate because of the word “real.” It feels more real than money.
Or stocks. Or bonds.
I get that. It is real. And in America, nobody can take your land from you if you own it.
But not many people own their land. The bank owns it. Hence the $15 trillion in debt.
And people will never own it (the 4.5 year average thing).
But this is a judgment call again.
I like to know I can live out of a single bag. I’ve been doing that all my life.
When I moved to NYC I lived out of a garbage bag. Before I got married I lived in a dive hotel. After I got divorced I lived in the same hotel.
I like feeling like I could lose everything and survive. Maybe this is why I have lost everything sometimes. But it’s also how I keep surviving and learning more each time.
This will sound corny so please skip to the next part: but property rights are not real.
Loving who you are and where you are and what you are doing is the only thing that is real.
Live in your heart and not your home and you will never feel lonely or the need to establish roots.
Share that love with the people around you. And then, they also, will feel less need for roots.
That is the best investment. That is the best return on investment. That is the best home to live in.
The America Dream has us chained us to the land so they can feed us like pigs in a trough with debt, with factory/cubicle jobs that we can’t escape because it’s so hard to move (until they kick us out with 2 weeks severance), with forced friends in our neighbors, with supposed roots for our kids even though the statistics show those roots are a lie.
Freedom is more important than a dream.
Everyone has the story. They have bought and sold three houses and made money on each of them.
I believe them. Perhaps many people are phenomenal investors.
Others live in a good, secure neighborhoods that they want their kids to grow up in.
I believe those people also. But I’ve also seen the pain they’ve gone through when jobs were not as stable as they thought or marriages are not as stable as they thought and that mortgage would’ve been nice in their hands instead of in the bank’s hands.
We need a little bit of breathing room in order to survive when the noose is put around our neck.
What Do I Do then?
You can rent. Just like some houses are bad and some are good, some landlords are better than others. Like anything that is an important life decision, it takes research.
You can find roots with a good landlord. You can even paint the house and knock down walls and do whatever you want.
If you believe in housing as an investment, there are companies that just own houses that you can invest in on the stock market.
So you get all the benefits of a long-term investment in housing and get your cash out in five seconds if you need it.
But what should you do with all of that extra cash you have if you don’t own a house?
Maybe nothing. Having cash is a nice thing. It reduces stress.
But also you can invest in yourself. Or companies that are growing.
If companies aren’t growing, I can tell you that housing prices will go lower. Because housing prices depend on the stability of employment.
By definition then, companies will always grow faster than housing, in aggregate.
Average income for people age 18-35 has done from $36,000 to $33,000 in the past twenty years. While debt has increased 100x. Not good.
Why Do People Always Argue For Housing?
There’s something called “investment bias.” Your brain thinks, “I’ve just made the biggest investment of my life so it must be right.”
Your brain loves you. It doesn’t want you to think it made a bad decision for you. It’s scared you won’t use it anymore.
So it tells you, “that $200,000 down was the best decision you ever made. Everything else involves flushing money down the toilet, or no roots, or no stability!” So it’s hard to consider the alternatives.
It’s a lot of work to own a house also. Have you ever spent time in the Death Star? I mean Home Depot. That place is huge. And I only need that one special color of paint.
But where is it? The stormtroopers at Home Depot are never around when you need them.
And what about that “snake” that can clean my toilet. Where is it? And how do I use it? And is it gross? Why do they call it a snake?
It’s no wonder that plumbing is one of the highest paid professions in America.
And how long does it take to paint a house. Or who do I go to? And will they overcharge me if they pave the driveway?
Did I calculate that into my total cost of owning a house?
I like to sit in the garden area of Home Dept. There’s thousands of flowers and plants and it smells like dirt.
To be honest, that’s the closest I will ever get to hiking – sitting in the garden area of Home Depot.
I’m pathetic. And I flush my rent down the toilet. And I don’t have roots. And I refuse to fix my toilets or shovel my driveway or deal with my flooded basement. All I like to do is read.
And one day I’ll move. Maybe next to an ocean. And take a walk on the beach. Last week, a friend told me the sun sets in the West.
Maybe one day I’ll move to California. Five years until my youngest graduates.
I’ll sit on the porch and watch the sun set and have cash in the bank (I hope) while someone is fixing my toilet.
When the sun has 15 minutes yet to live that day, maybe I will feel like I’m falling in love.
The Republican and Democrat Party Conventions are now behind us. But through all the cheers and jeers, hoopla and poopla, warnings of a dark and dangerous future or promises of a bright and beautiful shape-of-things-to-come, one of the most serious shadows hanging over America was hardly mentioned at all: the unsustainability of the “entitlement” programs of the welfare state. In fact, Clinton and the Democrats have proposed to both maintain and expand the redistributive state, and Trump has expressed his intention of not challenging Social Security or Medicare. Growing Government Debt as Far as the Eye Can See
In July 2016, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) issued its “2016 Long-Term Budget Outlook.” Looking over the next 30 years from 2016 to 2046, the CBO estimates that the federal government’s debt held by the public will increase from its current level of equal to 75 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to 141 percent of GDP in 30-years time. The national debt will be far above its previous high of 106 percent of GDP shortly after the end of the Second World War in 1945. This will be due to an unending stream of annual federal government budget deficits between now and 2046. Indeed, the CBO has projected that beginning in 2022 the U.S. government will be once again running over $1 trillion annual budget deficits, and growing from there. By 2046, assuming no change in the current legislation concerning eligibility, demographic trends, and taxing and spending laws in effect, the CBO anticipates that in 2046 expenditures on Social Security and major federal healthcare-related programs (Medicare, Medicaid, ObamaCare, etc.) will absorb around 50 percent of all federal government spending. Social Security expenditures will increase by 28 percent and those major healthcare-related programs will grow by nearly 62 percent between 2016 and 2046. In addition, since tax revenues will fall far short of all of this spending by Uncle Sam, the net interest on the federal government’s debt will increase by over 400 percent, from 1.4 percent of GDP today to 5.8 percent of GDP in 2046, the CBO projects. So by 2046 nearly $6 of every $100 collected as tax revenues by the federal government will be spent just paying the net interest on money borrowed to cover earlier government deficit spending. "Entitlements" Mean Plunder Both Democrats and Republicans take it for granted that "Big Government" and the Entitlement State here to stay. Even most of those Republicans who emphasize the need for "reforms" in the "entitlement" programs such as Social Security or Medicare do not challenge the idea that these programs are permanently part of the American political landscape. They merely wish to make them more "financially sound," or "cost efficient," or managed in ways that would give those eligible for these programs some "choice" in managing their Social Security accounts or in selecting among doctors and medical treatment. This is, perhaps, most easily appreciated by the fact that scarcely anyone in the Washington political arena challenges the idea and the use of the word "entitlement." The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines entitlement as "the state or condition of being entitled." A "right to benefits specified by law or contract" as in "a government program providing benefits to members of a specified group." It is based upon the idea, the dictionary tells us, of "a belief that one is deserving of or entitled to certain privileges." Nobody Is Entitled According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary definition, therefore, in the political arena an "entitlement" is a program of benefits that the government provides to a privileged group, a group that comes to believe that it deserves those benefits, and even comes to consider such benefits as their "right." The government, however, cannot provide benefits to any privileged group in the society that does not reciprocally obligate others to supply the required resources, goods, or financial means to cover what has been promised. Since government has no supply of resources, goods or sums of money that it does not first tax or borrow from others, any such entitlement compels some other people in society to provide the means necessary for the government to meet its promises to the privileged groups. That is, one group's privilege entails a compulsory obligation on others that is imposed and enforced through the government's police power to tax and garnish the income and wealth of any and all members of society. In the United States, the idea of "self rule" originally had a different meaning.Thus, society becomes divided into two groups: taxpayers and tax receivers; the unprivileged and the privileged; those who are forced to give up a portion of the production, income and wealth they have honestly earned in the peaceful transactions of the market place and those who have that production, income and wealth transferred to them through the power of the state. This is, of course, what the famous nineteenth century French free market economist, Frederic Bastiat, referred to as legalized plunder. The government, instead of acting as a protector and guardian of each individual's right to his life, liberty and honestly acquired property, becomes the most powerful and intrusive violator of people's liberty. The government's concentrated, monopoly power over the use of physical force is far greater and far more dangerous than even the worst of any private individual or private group that attempts to plunder and abuse innocent individuals in society. But equally important, government is the only user of force in society that widely succeeds in indoctrinating and persuading the large majority of the people under its jurisdictional control that it is "just" and "right" that it plunder one part of the population for the privileged benefit of another portion of society. Political Rule vs. Individual Self-Rule In earlier times, governments acquired legitimacy over and acquiesce of its subjects by insisting on the divine right of kings. It took many centuries to overthrow the belief that monarchs ruled, regulated, and taxed because of an ordination from God. With the end or weakening of monarchy in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, a new ruler was ordained with equal if not greater divine political authority to demand obedience from the citizenry – the divine right of "the people." Democracy replaced monarchy as the legitimized basis of political power. If "the people" ruled by their own democratic vote, how could they ever tyrannize and plunder themselves? How can a man abuse himself, when his actions are dictated by his own will? In the United States, the idea of "self rule" originally had a different meaning. It did not primarily or exclusively mean political self-rule through a voting process. It meant the right of each individual to have the freedom to rule over himself. When the American Declaration of Independence spoke of "unalienable rights" possessed by the individual to his life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, the Founding Fathers were saying that each man owns himself, and had the right to live his life as he chooses, as long as he peacefully goes about his chosen business, and respects the equal rights of others to do the same. The role of government in this uniquely American conception of individual rights and personal self-rule was that of protector and securer of each person's liberty. The political authority was to be a servant of each sovereign individual, who chooses his own goals and purposes in life and who pursues them with his own mental and physical energies. When he needs the assistance and association of others to attain some of his purposes the method is freedom of choice and voluntary exchange. Socialism and the Anti-Capitalist Mentality How, then, did America move away from the idea of sovereign and self-ruling individuals with government limited to a small though essential number of rights-protecting functions, to the notion of the government as itself the sovereign in the name of "the people," with the individual reduced to the servant who is required and expected to pay any tax and bear any regulation in the name of a "common good" or "national interest," or "general welfare"? In a word, the answer is socialism. This year marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the end of the Soviet Union. After the reality of almost 75 years of socialism-in-practice in the Soviet Union and elsewhere around the world, very few people any longer believe in and yearn for dictatorial rule by a Communist Party claiming to know the "inescapable" laws of history; few want to live under a system of comprehensive and all-encompassing socialist central planning. Experience has persuaded enough people around the world that such a system leads to nothing but brutal tyranny, along with economic stagnation and poverty. While the ideal of Soviet-style socialism and central planning has been rejected and has few explicit adherents nowadays, what does continue to endure and influence general attitudes about political power, economic policy and the role of government in society, both in the United States and around the world, is the socialist critique of capitalism and the free market society. The rationale for the vast network of government welfare programs as well as regulation and control over private enterprise is based on the socialist analysis of the market economy. When private enterprise is left free, the socialists claimed, the selfish profit motive guides businessmen to act in ways that harm the common good or general welfare. Workers searching for employment will be exploited and abused by greedy employers unless government protects them with workplace rules and regulations, including the establishment of a "fair" wage. The state must take on the role of paternalistic provider of health care, old age pensions, unemployment insurance, public housing, education, and a wide variety of other social services. Why? First, under unrestrained capitalism workers will not earn enough to provide these necessities for themselves. Second, private enterprises driven by mere self-interest will inevitably fail to supply these goods and services in sufficient quantity and quality. Individuals, in other words, cannot be trusted to rule over their own lives, to make their own choices, and to interact freely with their fellow men in a society of liberty. Collective control, under the cover of the democratic process, needs to restrain and restrict the individual's sovereignty in the arena of his own affairs. The classical liberal and free market agenda included the abolition of all privileges, favors, and subsidies that benefited the aristocracyIn the name of protecting people from such unrestrained capitalism, governments everywhere, including in the United States, have created ever-expanding bureaucracies that regulate nearly every aspect of our lives. As a consequence, our world today is in the grip of a continuing ideology of anti-capitalism. State bureaucracies ruling through anti-market policies have grown into ideological and political elites who arrogantly presume to know and dictate how we should all live and work. Those holding political power may be compared to the nobility of old, before whom the commoners had to grovel so they might live and prosper. Capitalism as the Liberator of Man Are these accusations against capitalism and the free society justified? Absolutely not. Indeed, never has an historical record been more twisted and distorted that this socialist critique of the free market society. Beginning in the eighteenth century and throughout the nineteenth century, capitalism and the political philosophy of classical liberalism that accompanied it insisted on the freedom and dignity of the individual. The classical liberals campaigned against and brought about an end to human slavery, first in Europe and then around the rest of the world. These free market liberals called for ending the rule of kings and princes or at least restraining their powers through constitutional government and peaceful elections. It called for impartial rule of law, and the end to torture and other cruel punishments. The classical liberal and free market agenda included the abolition of all privileges, favors, and subsidies that benefited the aristocracy, as well as the end to all monopolies created by government regulation and protection. It called for free enterprise, freedom of trade and occupation, and freedom of movement. In other words, classical liberalism and capitalism have been an ideology for the liberation of man from political oppression and economic poverty. It has been the foundation for human freedom and material prosperity in the modern world. It has served as the foundation of the American Republic. Capitalism Is the Liberator Capitalism has been the liberator of mankind.Capitalism in the nineteenth century did not doom the worker to a life of perpetual poverty. Instead, the expanding market economy kept creating new and better-paying employments as the decades went by. It produced the wealth and rising income that resulted in the emergence of a phenomenon completely new to human history: a self-supporting and educated middle class that grew more and more as the lower classes bettered their economic well-being. Through private investment, capitalism kept raising the productivity of labor to new heights. Parents were able to earn enough so their offspring did not have to join the work force at an early age. This produced something unique in history: childhood, a time when the young could experience the innocence of play and the opportunity of schooling before entering the world of work. Classical liberalism and the market order fostered the private associations and charitable organizations that enabled the working poor to provide medical care, pensions, and education for their families. Famines disappeared; poverty was dramatically and continuously reduced; and hard and long hours of work were slowly but surely eased and shortened to a degree never before experienced. Capitalism has been the liberator of mankind. The great history and glorious achievements of that earlier free market capitalist epoch must be relearned once again in a society that knows little of the system that has provided the comfort and standard of living that too many of our fellow countrymen take for granted. The Dangerous Growth of Government For more than a hundred years, now, the anti-capitalist mentality has undermined the original American political philosophy of individual rights and economic liberty. In its place has grown a politics of paternalism and dependency. This has easily played into the hands of those who have desired political power under the umbrella of democracy, and by those who have desired and now believe that they have an entitlement – a "right" – to redistributive largess because they cannot imagine life without those government "safety nets" and who believe that a free market, limited government world would be cruel, uncaring, and inhumane to them and others. Big Government has brought with it this big and growing debt because the entitlement society, the redistributive society, the political plundering society has no limit once government is viewed as paternalistic provider rather than an essential but more modest protector of each individual's life, liberty and property. No deals in Washington, D.C. among the political culprits, whose interactions with special interest groups have created and maintain the Fiscal Leviathan State, will solve America's debt and deficits problem. What we need is a change in the ideas and beliefs among many of our fellow citizens. As long as too many of our fellow Americans believe they are "entitled" to the income, wealth and productions of others, and as long as so many of our fellow Americans accept either through ignorance or guilt that they have an obligation to be taxed, regulated and plundered to fulfill those entitlements little change can or will happen to radically shift the direction we are moving in. Making the Moral Case for Liberty Rights precede government, and are not something given to man by any political authority.Another way of saying this is that we must reawaken the moral case for liberty. The starting point for such a moral reawakening is the rejection of the collectivist conception of man and society. Collectivists of all types – socialists, communists, fascists, interventionists, and welfare statists – presume that the group, the tribe, the "nation," or the social "class" takes precedence over the individual. He is to serve and if necessary be sacrificed for the "common good" or "general welfare," since the individual has neither existence nor "rights" separate from the collective to which he belongs. Compare this with the unique and starkly different philosophy of man and society captured in the American Declaration of Independence: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed." Rights precede government, and are not something given to man by any political authority. Each of us possesses rights that may not be taken away or undermined by those in political power. We all possess an inalienable right to our life, liberty, and property. We own ourselves, and by extension we have a property right to what our creative minds and efforts have peacefully produced. We may not be enslaved, sacrificed, or plundered by others, whether they are private individuals or organized governments. The individual, not some mythical collective, is the center and starting point of society. The free market is the arena in which people form relationships for mutual benefit on the basis of voluntary exchange. The free man finds his own meaning for life, guided by the philosophy or faith of his choice. He refuses to coercively impose his will on others, just as others may not use force against him. He persuades others to live and act differently through reason and example, and not with the bullet or the bayonet. And no political authority can make claims against his life, liberty, and honestly acquired property, because the function of a limited government is to secure his freedom from predators and plunder. This is the philosophy of individualism and capitalism that must be reawakened in our fellow men if we are to free our society from the stranglehold of Big Government and its ocean of debt. It requires a confident belief that we are right, that both reason and history have demonstrated the value and benevolent results of what Adam Smith once called "the system of natural liberty." The Importance of the Battle of Ideas Such an appeal to a battle of political and economic ideas is essential. The social political and economic crises of our time are the outcome of an earlier battle of ideas that the enemies of freedom and capitalism succeeded in winning to a great extent. They indicted the society of liberty; they distorted the reality of capitalism and its brilliant triumphs in freeing man from poverty; and they imbedded in the minds of many the conception of political entitlements that serve the power ends of political paternalists and which requires the plundering of the peaceful and productive members of society. Our society is living under a paternalistic and plundering political system that threatens to bring its productive potentials to, if not a halt, then at least a sluggish crawl compared to its free market potential. In the extreme, it could lead to a situation of capital consumption, under which the government's taxing, spending, and borrowing policies take so much away from the private sector that it becomes impossible for private enterprises to maintain the productive capacity upon which our standard of living is dependent. Civilizations have regressed in the past. And it can happen again Whether the final phase of the fiscal crisis of the government's redistributive and entitlement system is reached in ten years, twenty years or thirty years, the question then will be, what will follow the failure and collapse of the Fiscal Leviathan State? Our society will stand at a crossroads. And when that time comes it is essential that there are enough people who understand, can explain, and are willing to defend the ideas and ideals of individual rights, economic liberty, and the free market system. If not, the future may see a tragic return to a less civilized and much poorer past.
Richard M. Ebeling is BB&T Distinguished Professor of Ethics and Free Enterprise Leadership at The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina. He was president of the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) from 2003 to 2008.
I’m so proud to be your mother and so proud of the woman you’ve become.
Thanks for bringing Marc into our family, and Charlotte and Aidan into the world.
And Bill, that conversation we started in the law library 45 years ago is still going strong.
It’s lasted through good times that filled us with joy, and hard times that tested us.
And I’ve even gotten a few words in along the way.
On Tuesday night, I was so happy to see that my Explainer-in-Chief is still on the job.
I’m also grateful to the rest of my family and the friends of a lifetime.
To all of you whose hard work brought us here tonight, and to those of you who joined our campaign this week.
And what a remarkable week it’s been.
We heard the man from Hope, Bill Clinton.
And the man of Hope, Barack Obama.
America is stronger because of President Obama’s leadership, and I’m better because of his friendship.
We heard from our terrific vice president, the one-and-only Joe Biden, who spoke from his big heart about our party’s commitment to working people.
First Lady Michelle Obama reminded us that our children are watching, and the president we elect is going to be their president, too.
And for those of you out there who are just getting to know Tim Kaine – you’re soon going to understand why the people of Virginia keep promoting him: from city council and mayor, to Governor, and now Senator.
He’ll make the whole country proud as our Vice President.
And I want to thank Bernie Sanders.
Bernie, your campaign inspired millions of Americans, particularly the young people who threw their hearts and souls into our primary.
You’ve put economic and social justice issues front and center, where they belong.
And to all of your supporters here and around the country:
I want you to know, I’ve heard you.
Your cause is our cause.
Our country needs your ideas, energy, and passion.
That’s the only way we can turn our progressive platform into real change for America.
We wrote it together – now let’s go out there and make it happen together.
My friends, we’ve come to Philadelphia – the birthplace of our nation – because what happened in this city 240 years ago still has something to teach us today.
We all know the story.
But we usually focus on how it turned out - and not enough on how close that story came to never being written at all.
When representatives from 13 unruly colonies met just down the road from here, some wanted to stick with the King.
Some wanted to stick it to the king, and go their own way.
The revolution hung in the balance.
Then somehow they began listening to each other, compromising, finding common purpose.
And by the time they left Philadelphia, they had begun to see themselves as one nation.
That’s what made it possible to stand up to a King.
That took courage.
They had courage.
Our Founders embraced the enduring truth that we are stronger together.
America is once again at a moment of reckoning.
Powerful forces are threatening to pull us apart.
Bonds of trust and respect are fraying.
And just as with our founders, there are no guarantees.
It truly is up to us.
We have to decide whether we all will work together so we all can rise together.
Our country’s motto is e pluribus unum: out of many, we are one.
Will we stay true to that motto?
Well, we heard Donald Trump’s answer last week at his convention.
He wants to divide us - from the rest of the world, and from each other.
He’s betting that the perils of today’s world will blind us to its unlimited promise.
He’s taken the Republican Party a long way, from “Morning in America” to “Midnight in America.”
He wants us to fear the future and fear each other.
Well, a great Democratic President, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, came up with the perfect rebuke to Trump more than eighty years ago, during a much more perilous time.
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
Now we are clear-eyed about what our country is up against.
But we are not afraid.
We will rise to the challenge, just as we always have.
We will not build a wall.
Instead, we will build an economy where everyone who wants a good paying job can get one.
And we’ll build a path to citizenship for millions of immigrants who are already contributing to our economy!
We will not ban a religion.
We will work with all Americans and our allies to fight terrorism.
There’s a lot of work to do.
Too many people haven’t had a pay raise since the crash.
There’s too much inequality.
Too little social mobility.
Too much paralysis in Washington.
Too many threats at home and abroad.
But just look at the strengths we bring to meet these challenges.
We have the most dynamic and diverse people in the world.
We have the most tolerant and generous young people we’ve ever had.
We have the most powerful military.
The most innovative entrepreneurs.
The most enduring values. Freedom and equality, justice and opportunity.
We should be so proud that these words are associated with us. That when people hear them – they hear America.
So don’t let anyone tell you that our country is weak.
Don’t let anyone tell you we don’t have what it takes.
And most of all, don’t believe anyone who says: “I alone can fix it.”
Those were actually Donald Trump’s words in Cleveland.
And they should set off alarm bells for all of us.
I alone can fix it?
Isn’t he forgetting?
Troops on the front lines.
Police officers and fire fighters who run toward danger.
Doctors and nurses who care for us.
Teachers who change lives.
Entrepreneurs who see possibilities in every problem.
Mothers who lost children to violence and are building a movement to keep other kids safe.
He’s forgetting every last one of us.
Americans don’t say: “I alone can fix it.”
We say: “We’ll fix it together.”
Remember: Our Founders fought a revolution and wrote a Constitution so America would never be a nation where one person had all the power.
Two hundred and forty years later, we still put our faith in each other.
Look at what happened in Dallas after the assassinations of five brave police officers.
Chief David Brown asked the community to support his force, maybe even join them.
And you know how the community responded?
Nearly 500 people applied in just 12 days.
That’s how Americans answer when the call for help goes out.
Twenty years ago I wrote a book called “It Takes a Village.” A lot of people looked at the title and asked, what the heck do you mean by that?
This is what I mean.
None of us can raise a family, build a business, heal a community or lift a country totally alone.
America needs every one of us to lend our energy, our talents, our ambition to making our nation better and stronger.
I believe that with all my heart.
That’s why “Stronger Together” is not just a lesson from our history.
It’s not just a slogan for our campaign.
It’s a guiding principle for the country we’ve always been and the future we’re going to build.
A country where the economy works for everyone, not just those at the top.
Where you can get a good job and send your kids to a good school, no matter what zip code you live in.
A country where all our children can dream, and those dreams are within reach.
Where families are strong, communities are safe, and yes, love trumps hate.
That’s the country we’re fighting for.
That’s the future we’re working toward, and so it is with humility, determination. and boundless confidence in America’s promise that I accept your nomination for President of the United States!
Now, sometimes the people at this podium are new to the national stage.
As you know, I’m not one of those people.
I’ve been your First Lady. Served 8 years as a Senator from the great State of New York.
I ran for President and lost.
Then I represented all of you as Secretary of State.
But my job titles only tell you what I’ve done.
They don’t tell you why.
The truth is, through all these years of public service, the “service” part has always come easier to me than the “public” part.
I get it that some people just don’t know what to make of me.
So let me tell you.
The family I’m from, well, no one had their name on big buildings.
My family were builders of a different kind.
Builders in the way most American families are.
They used whatever tools they had – whatever God gave them – and whatever life in America provided – and built better lives and better futures for their kids.
My grandfather worked in the same Scranton lace mill for 50 years.
Because he believed that if he gave everything he had, his children would have a better life than he did.
And he was right.
My dad, Hugh, made it to college. He played football at Penn State and enlisted in the Navy after Pearl Harbor.
When the war was over he started his own small business, printing fabric for draperies.
I remember watching him stand for hours over silk screens.
He wanted to give my brothers and me opportunities he never had.
And he did. My mother, Dorothy, was abandoned by her parents as a young girl. She ended up on her own at 14, working as a house maid.
She was saved by the kindness of others.
Her first grade teacher saw she had nothing to eat at lunch, and brought extra food to share.
The lesson she passed on to me years later stuck with me:
No one gets through life alone.
We have to look out for each other and lift each other up.
She made sure I learned the words of our Methodist faith:
“Do all the good you can, for all the people you can, in all the ways you can, as long as ever you can.”
I went to work for the Children’s Defense Fund, going door-to-door in New Bedford, Massachusetts on behalf of children with disabilities who were denied the chance to go to school.
I remember meeting a young girl in a wheelchair on the small back porch of her house.
She told me how badly she wanted to go to school – it just didn’t seem possible.
And I couldn’t stop thinking of my mother and what she went through as a child.
It became clear to me that simply caring is not enough.
To drive real progress, you have to change both hearts and laws.
You need both understanding and action.
So we gathered facts. We built a coalition. And our work helped convince Congress to ensure access to education for all students with disabilities.
It’s a big idea, isn’t it?
Every kid with a disability has the right to go to school.
But how do you make an idea like that real? You do it step-by-step, year-by-year, sometimes even door-by-door.
And my heart just swelled when I saw Anastasia Somoza on this stage, representing millions of young people who – because of those changes to our laws – are able to get an education.
It’s true, I sweat the details of policy – whether we’re talking about the exact level of lead in the drinking water in Flint, Michigan, the number of mental health facilities in Iowa, or the cost of your prescription drugs.
Because it’s not just a detail if it’s your kid - if it’s your family.
It’s a big deal. And it should be a big deal to your president.
Over the last three days, you’ve seen some of the people who’ve inspired me.
People who let me into their lives, and became a part of mine.
People like Ryan Moore and Lauren Manning.
They told their stories Tuesday night.
I first met Ryan as a seven-year old.
He was wearing a full body brace that must have weighed forty pounds.
Children like Ryan kept me going when our plan for universal health care failed, and kept me working with leaders of both parties to help create the Children’s Health Insurance Program that covers 8 million kids every year.
Lauren was gravely injured on 9/11.
It was the thought of her, and Debbie St. John, and John Dolan and Joe Sweeney, and all the victims and survivors, that kept me working as hard as I could in the Senate on behalf of 9/11 families, and our first responders who got sick from their time at Ground Zero.
I was still thinking of Lauren, Debbie and all the others ten years later in the White House Situation Room when President Obama made the courageous decision that finally brought Osama bin Laden to justice.
In this campaign, I’ve met so many people who motivate me to keep fighting for change.
And, with your help, I will carry all of your voices and stories with me to the White House.
I will be a President for Democrats, Republicans, and Independents.
For the struggling, the striving and the successful.
For those who vote for me and those who don’t.
For all Americans.
Tonight, we’ve reached a milestone in our nation’s march toward a more perfect union: the first time that a major party has nominated a woman for President.
Standing here as my mother’s daughter, and my daughter’s mother, I’m so happy this day has come.
Happy for grandmothers and little girls and everyone in between.
Happy for boys and men, too – because when any barrier falls in America, for anyone, it clears the way for everyone. When there are no ceilings, the sky’s the limit.
So let’s keep going, until every one of the 161 million women and girls across America has the opportunity she deserves.
Because even more important than the history we make tonight, is the history we will write together in the years ahead.
Let’s begin with what we’re going to do to help working people in our country get ahead and stay ahead.
Now, I don’t think President Obama and Vice President Biden get the credit they deserve for saving us from the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes.
Our economy is so much stronger than when they took office. Nearly 15 million new private-sector jobs. Twenty million more Americans with health insurance. And an auto industry that just had its best year ever. That’s real progress.
But none of us can be satisfied with the status quo. Not by a long shot.
We’re still facing deep-seated problems that developed long before the recession and have stayed with us through the recovery.
I’ve gone around our country talking to working families. And I’ve heard from so many of you who feel like the economy just isn’t working.
Some of you are frustrated – even furious.
And you know what? You’re right.
It’s not yet working the way it should.
Americans are willing to work – and work hard.
But right now, an awful lot of people feel there is less and less respect for the work they do.
And less respect for them, period.
Democrats are the party of working people.
But we haven’t done a good enough job showing that we get what you’re going through, and that we’re going to do something about it.
So I want to tell you tonight how we will empower Americans to live better lives.
My primary mission as President will be to create more opportunity and more good jobs with rising wages right here in the United States, from my first day in office to my last!
Especially in places that for too long have been left out and left behind.
From our inner cities to our small towns, from Indian Country to Coal Country.
From communities ravaged by addiction to regions hollowed out by plant closures.
And here’s what I believe.
I believe America thrives when the middle class thrives.
I believe that our economy isn’t working the way it should because our democracy isn’t working the way it should.
That’s why we need to appoint Supreme Court justices who will get money out of politics and expand voting rights, not restrict them. And we’ll pass a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United!
I believe American corporations that have gotten so much from our country should be just as patriotic in return.
Many of them are. But too many aren’t.
It’s wrong to take tax breaks with one hand and give out pink slips with the other.
And I believe Wall Street can never, ever be allowed to wreck Main Street again.
I believe in science. I believe that climate change is real and that we can save our planet while creating millions of good-paying clean energy jobs.
I believe that when we have millions of hardworking immigrants contributing to our economy, it would be self-defeating and inhumane to kick them out.
Comprehensive immigration reform will grow our economy and keep families together - and it’s the right thing to do.
Whatever party you belong to, or if you belong to no party at all, if you share these beliefs, this is your campaign.
If you believe that companies should share profits with their workers, not pad executive bonuses, join us.
If you believe the minimum wage should be a living wage and no one working full time should have to raise their children in poverty — join us.
If you believe that every man, woman, and child in America has the right to affordable health care… join us.
If you believe that we should say “no” to unfair trade deals, that we should stand up to China, that we should support our steelworkers and autoworkers and homegrown manufacturers, join us.
If you believe we should expand Social Security and protect a woman’s right to make her own heath care decisions, join us.
And yes, if you believe that your working mother, wife, sister, or daughter deserves equal pay… join us.
Let’s make sure this economy works for everyone, not just those at the top.
Now, you didn’t hear any of this from Donald Trump at his convention.
He spoke for 70-odd minutes – and I do mean odd.
And he offered zero solutions. But we already know he doesn’t believe these things.
No wonder he doesn’t like talking about his plans.
You might have noticed, I love talking about mine.
In my first 100 days, we will work with both parties to pass the biggest investment in new, good-paying jobs since World War II.
Jobs in manufacturing, clean energy, technology and innovation, small business, and infrastructure.
If we invest in infrastructure now, we’ll not only create jobs today, but lay the foundation for the jobs of the future.
And we will transform the way we prepare our young people for those jobs.
Bernie Sanders and I will work together to make college tuition-free for the middle class and debt-free for all!
We will also liberate millions of people who already have student debt.
It’s just not right that Donald Trump can ignore his debts, but students and families can’t refinance theirs.
And here’s something we don’t say often enough: College is crucial, but a four-year degree should not be the only path to a good job.
We’re going to help more people learn a skill or practice a trade and make a good living doing it.
We’re going to give small businesses a boost. Make it easier to get credit. Way too many dreams die in the parking lots of banks.
In America, if you can dream it, you should be able to build it.
We’re going to help you balance family and work. And you know what, if fighting for affordable child care and paid family leave is playing the “woman card,” then Deal Me In!
(Oh, you’ve heard that one?)
Now, here’s the thing, we’re not only going to make all these investments, we’re going to pay for every single one of them.
And here’s how: Wall Street, corporations, and the super-rich are going to start paying their fair share of taxes.
Not because we resent success. Because when more than 90 percent of the gains have gone to the top 1 percent, that’s where the money is.
And if companies take tax breaks and then ship jobs overseas, we’ll make them pay us back. And we’ll put that money to work where it belongs — creating jobs here at home!
Now I know some of you are sitting at home thinking, well that all sounds pretty good.
But how are you going to get it done? How are you going to break through the gridlock in Washington? Look at my record. I’ve worked across the aisle to pass laws and treaties and to launch new programs that help millions of people. And if you give me the chance, that’s what I’ll do as President.
But Trump, he’s a businessman. He must know something about the economy.
Well, let’s take a closer look.
In Atlantic City, 60 miles from here, you’ll find contractors and small businesses who lost everything because Donald Trump refused to pay his bills.
People who did the work and needed the money, and didn’t get it – not because he couldn’t pay them, but because he wouldn’t pay them.
That sales pitch he’s making to be your president? Put your faith in him – and you’ll win big? That’s the same sales pitch he made to all those small businesses. Then Trump walked away, and left working people holding the bag.
He also talks a big game about putting America First. Please explain to me what part of America First leads him to make Trump ties in China, not Colorado.
Trump suits in Mexico, not Michigan. Trump furniture in Turkey, not Ohio. Trump picture frames in India, not Wisconsin.
Donald Trump says he wants to make America great again – well, he could start by actually making things in America again.
The choice we face is just as stark when it comes to our national security.
Anyone reading the news can see the threats and turbulence we face.
From Baghdad and Kabul, to Nice and Paris and Brussels, to San Bernardino and Orlando, we’re dealing with determined enemies that must be defeated.
No wonder people are anxious and looking for reassurance. Looking for steady leadership.
You want a leader who understands we are stronger when we work with our allies around the world and care for our veterans here at home. Keeping our nation safe and honoring the people who do it will be my highest priority.
I’m proud that we put a lid on Iran’s nuclear program without firing a single shot – now we have to enforce it, and keep supporting Israel’s security.
I’m proud that we shaped a global climate agreement – now we have to hold every country accountable to their commitments, including ourselves.
I’m proud to stand by our allies in NATO against any threat they face, including from Russia.
I’ve laid out my strategy for defeating ISIS.
We will strike their sanctuaries from the air, and support local forces taking them out on the ground. We will surge our intelligence so that we detect and prevent attacks before they happen.
We will disrupt their efforts online to reach and radicalize young people in our country.
It won’t be easy or quick, but make no mistake – we will prevail.
Now Donald Trump says, and this is a quote, “I know more about ISIS than the generals do….”
No, Donald, you don’t.
He thinks that he knows more than our military because he claimed our armed forces are “a disaster.”
Well, I’ve had the privilege to work closely with our troops and our veterans for many years, including as a Senator on the Armed Services Committee.
I know how wrong he is. Our military is a national treasure.
We entrust our commander-in-chief to make the hardest decisions our nation faces.
Decisions about war and peace. Life and death.
A president should respect the men and women who risk their lives to serve our country – including the sons of Tim Kaine and Mike Pence, both Marines.
Ask yourself: Does Donald Trump have the temperament to be Commander-in-Chief?
Donald Trump can’t even handle the rough-and-tumble of a presidential campaign.
He loses his cool at the slightest provocation. When he’s gotten a tough question from a reporter. When he’s challenged in a debate. When he sees a protestor at a rally.
Imagine him in the Oval Office facing a real crisis. A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons.
I can’t put it any better than Jackie Kennedy did after the Cuban Missile Crisis. She said that what worried President Kennedy during that very dangerous time was that a war might be started – not by big men with self-control and restraint, but by little men – the ones moved by fear and pride.
America’s strength doesn’t come from lashing out.
Strength relies on smarts, judgment, cool resolve, and the precise and strategic application of power.
That’s the kind of Commander-in-Chief I pledge to be.
And if we’re serious about keeping our country safe, we also can’t afford to have a President who’s in the pocket of the gun lobby.
I’m not here to repeal the 2nd Amendment.
I’m not here to take away your guns.
I just don’t want you to be shot by someone who shouldn’t have a gun in the first place.
We should be working with responsible gun owners to pass common-sense reforms and keep guns out of the hands of criminals, terrorists and all others who would do us harm.
For decades, people have said this issue was too hard to solve and the politics were too hot to touch.
But I ask you: how can we just stand by and do nothing?
You heard, you saw, family members of people killed by gun violence.
You heard, you saw, family members of police officers killed in the line of duty because they were outgunned by criminals.
I refuse to believe we can’t find common ground here.
We have to heal the divides in our country.
Not just on guns. But on race. Immigration. And more.
That starts with listening to each other. Hearing each other. Trying, as best we can, to walk in each other’s shoes.
So let’s put ourselves in the shoes of young black and Latino men and women who face the effects of systemic racism, and are made to feel like their lives are disposable.
Let’s put ourselves in the shoes of police officers, kissing their kids and spouses goodbye every day and heading off to do a dangerous and necessary job.
We will reform our criminal justice system from end-to-end, and rebuild trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve.
We will defend all our rights – civil rights, human rights and voting rights, women’s rights and workers’ rights, LGBT rights and the rights of people with disabilities!
And we will stand up against mean and divisive rhetoric wherever it comes from.
For the past year, many people made the mistake of laughing off Donald Trump’s comments – excusing him as an entertainer just putting on a show.
They think he couldn’t possibly mean all the horrible things he says – like when he called women “pigs.” Or said that an American judge couldn’t be fair because of his Mexican heritage. Or when he mocks and mimics a reporter with a disability.
Or insults prisoners of war like John McCain –a true hero and patriot who deserves our respect.
At first, I admit, I couldn’t believe he meant it either.
It was just too hard to fathom – that someone who wants to lead our nation could say those things. Could be like that.
But here’s the sad truth: There is no other Donald Trump.This is it.
And in the end, it comes down to what Donald Trump doesn’t get: that America is great – because America is good.
So enough with the bigotry and bombast. Donald Trump’s not offering real change.
He’s offering empty promises. What are we offering? A bold agenda to improve the lives of people across our country - to keep you safe, to get you good jobs, and to give your kids the opportunities they deserve.
The choice is clear.
Every generation of Americans has come together to make our country freer, fairer, and stronger.
None of us can do it alone.
I know that at a time when so much seems to be pulling us apart, it can be hard to imagine how we’ll ever pull together again.
But I’m here to tell you tonight – progress is possible.
I know because I’ve seen it in the lives of people across America who get knocked down and get right back up.
And I know it from my own life. More than a few times, I’ve had to pick myself up and get back in the game.
Like so much else, I got this from my mother. She never let me back down from any challenge. When I tried to hide from a neighborhood bully, she literally blocked the door. “Go back out there,” she said.
And she was right. You have to stand up to bullies. You have to keep working to make things better, even when the odds are long and the opposition is fierce.
We lost my mother a few years ago. I miss her every day. And I still hear her voice urging me to keep working, keep fighting for right, no matter what.
That’s what we need to do together as a nation.
Though “we may not live to see the glory,” as the song from the musical Hamilton goes, “let us gladly join the fight.”
Let our legacy be about “planting seeds in a garden you never get to see.”
That’s why we’re here, not just in this hall, but on this Earth.
The Founders showed us that.
And so have many others since.
They were drawn together by love of country, and the selfless passion to build something better for all who follow.
That is the story of America. And we begin a new chapter tonight.
Yes, the world is watching what we do.
Yes, America’s destiny is ours to choose.
So let’s be stronger together.
Looking to the future with courage and confidence.
Building a better tomorrow for our beloved children and our beloved country.
When we do, America will be greater than ever.
Thank you and may God bless the United States of America!