GLENN: The last few days I haven’t read the newspaper. I read it on Sunday and that’s when I said, you know what, I’m not going to read the newspaper until I have to go back to work, because I read this story from the Associated Press. Everything seemingly is spinning out of control. Washington, Associated Press: Midwestern levees are bursting. Polar bears are adrift. Gas prices are skyrocketing. Home values are abysmal. Airfares, college tuition and health care border on unaffordable. Wars without end rage in Iraq, Afghanistan and against terrorism. Horatio Alger, twist in your grave.
The can-do, bootstrap approach embedded in the American psyche is under assault. Eroding it is a dour powerlessness that is chipping away at the country’s sturdy conviction that destiny can be commanded with sheer courage and perseverance. The sense of helplessness is even reflected in this year’s presidential election. Each contender offers a sense of order and hope. Even so a battered public seems discouraged by the onslaught of dispiriting things.
Let me tell you something, America. That’s where I stopped reading because this is nothing but a lie. I know how you feel because it’s the way I feel. I know that you say to yourself, how are we ever going to get out of this. Where is that person that is going to lead us out of this? I feel the same way you feel when I fill my tank with gas. I feel like you do every time I watch television and I listen to John McCain or Barack Obama speak. When I hear that they are making a priority of finding biodegradable balloons for the Democratic National Convention, I think to myself, that’s your priority? Biodegradable balloons? When I hear that they have just passed a bill in the Senate to bail out 400,000 more people out of bad mortgages, these are people that were too risky for government loans and they’re allotting each of these people $750,000. If you’re too risky for a government loan, why are you buying a 3/4 of a million dollar home? I feel the same way you do. But maybe I have something that you don’t because I rarely have this when I’m away from people. But when I travel around the country and when I hear the voices of the average person in talk radio, when you call in, I know where our strength really is. It’s in you.
Now, we’re looking for a leader, but since when did America start waiting around for a leader? It shows that the lie of our government in the last 100 years has really taken root deep inside of you. We’re pioneers. All the way from the pilgrims to today we’re pioneers. We were people that took chances. We were people that took risks. We were people that did the unthinkable and we still are. But every step of the way the government is in there and the media is in there telling you that you’re not. Well, you are. You are a pioneer. You are the leader of your family. You are the leader we’ve been looking for. The media is focusing on what everything — everything that’s wrong with America, and I play a part in that. I think I give you a different spin than the rest of the media. I tell you what’s wrong with America and what’s really causing it, and it ain’t you. So let me tell you some of the things that are right with America because we still lead the world in the principles that matter most, the rules of law, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from an oppressive government, although that one’s slipping by the wayside rapidly.
So let’s talk about our economy. For everything that I’ve said about the economy and how much trouble we are in, I have also said look at the body blows this economy has taken since 9/11, one right after another. Body blow, body blow, body blow. Consider that California has the same GDP as the entire country of France. Illinois has the same GDP as the entire country of Mexico. New York has the entire GDP of Brazil. Florida, the same as South Korea. Texas, the entire GDP of Canada. Michigan, the GDP of Argentina. Missouri, the GDP of Poland. The projected GDP of the U.S. in 2007 is just shy of the next four biggest economies on planet Earth combined: Japan, Germany, China, and Great Britain, combined. That’s how big this company of ours is. When you think of it just that way and you think of it as a company whose earnings are bigger than Japan, Germany, China and the U.K. combined, you think to yourself maybe we should get somebody who knows a little something about business to run this country.
We topped the world again in technological economic innovation. World survey found 77% of Americans are very proud of their nationality. We’re tied with those from Ireland. Canadians come in second at 60%, British 53%. 43% of, oh, the gods of Sweden are very proud of their nationality and only 20% of Germans. So what’s right with America? Well, you know we talk all the time about nut job college professors, liberal indoctrination. But the truth is while all of that’s going on, our universities are still ranked among the highest in the world. We attract over half a million foreign students every year. They leave their country to come here to study. We open up the same colleges and universities to over 80,000 foreign professors, scholars, educators. We’ve always wanted and continue to want the best and the brightest to teach and educate, our best, our brightest. That’s a part of what makes America great. It’s not us versus them. We seek out talent. We invite talent. We don’t care about their nationality. We don’t care about their race. We want them here. Unfortunately those in Washington are now forcing us to ship their best and their brightest back home. But even with that happening we still have over 250 Nobel Prize winners. We have more than double the number of Nobel Prize winners than the British who have the second highest number of Nobel Prize winners. Double number two. More Americans have been awarded the Nobel Prize than individuals from the next three runner-up countries combined. We have more students studying at universities and colleges, about 14 million. More than India, Japan and China do combined. Even though their combined populations dwarf ours, it’s not only the number, but the reality that anyone can go to the best colleges and universities in America. Anyone can go to college. The doors of the university are not reserved for the select, those with the right family connection. It’s not reserved only for the children of the political elite, but your son or daughter, the son or daughters of farmers, the son or daughter of a radio deejay or a baker. They can all go to college, top tier college universities, if they work hard. And education isn’t just formal in America.
What’s right with America? People are allowed to have the freedom to go and do. Americans invented the cotton gin. It revolutionized the world. Isn’t it funny that the government didn’t come up with the cotton gin. As we talk about illegal immigration, what was the argument against abolishing slavery? The South couldn’t pick the cotton. The South couldn’t get it done. Their economy would collapse. We fought the Civil War. The cotton gin replaced the slave. Bifocals were invented by Benjamin Franklin. Meat could be stored all year in a refrigerator after an American inventor, Oliver Evans, drafted the plans for the refrigerator. The sewing machine was American. Safety pin, telephone, incandescent light bulb, cash register, Ferris wheel, crayons, bubble gum, photocopiers, the artificial heart, the automobile, the first flight airplane. Coca-Cola. By invented the Popsicle.
Healthcare, our healthcare, oh, have you seen the stories on healthcare? Let me give you the true story on healthcare. In 1900 the life expectancy in America was 50 years old, life expectancy. You were dead by 50. Today it’s more than 75 years. But it’s more than just living longer. Our healthcare system, our prescription drugs have allowed us to lead and experience more fuller lives. In too many countries it appears that people who are just too old, just too old, have nothing to do but wait and die. Consider this. The vice president of the United States, Dick Cheney, has had four heart attacks, four. He’s not only active. He’s the vice president. What a commentary on a broken healthcare system. People want to focus on the negative of our healthcare. Say, yeah, but the benefits are only for the rich. Really? Unfortunately the facts don’t prove that out.
In 1900 a rich person lived to 60. The poor person died at 45. 15 years separation. Today the life expectancy of an affluent person in America, a rich person, 78 years old. Poor person, somebody who lives in the gutter in America, 74. A four-year difference. Yes, the rich have advanced and they have benefitted, but the poor have advanced and benefitted even more, and that is what makes America great. Right now in the United States we spend roughly $2 trillion on healthcare. We spend more than any other country in the world per capita averaging $4,631 per person. That’s more than Switzerland, Germany, Canada and any other country in the world. Heart disease, we haven’t conquered it but we’re beating it. Death by heart disease, fallen 67% in the last 50 years. The much talked about Canadian system, consider that 400 Canadians in the full throes of heart attack or other cardiac emergency have been sent to the United States, over the border because no hospital can provide lifesaving care that they require there in Canada. In the United Kingdom one in eight patients wait more than a year for hospital treatment. The British government just recently set a new goal, to keep wait times to less than 18 weeks. That, by the way, is four months. In Canada almost a million citizens, a million citizens can waiting for necessary surgery and more than a million Canadians can’t find a regular doctor. You think our healthcare is so bad, let me show you the healthcare system up in Canada that everybody wants us to have. In a small town in Norwood, Ontario, they have a drawing every week. Every week they have a drawing. Somebody wins, somebody who lives in Norwood Ontario, somebody wins the right to go see the town’s doctor. Congratulations. You are a winner in the Canadian healthcare system.