Cabinet Room Washington D.C. May 18 1:06 P.M. EDT
Okay. Thank you very much. We're here talking about Opportunity Zones and other things having to do with economic development and also the inner cities. And Tim Scott — Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina has been with us on Opportunity Zones from day one. He first approached me and he mentioned it, and I loved the idea. And who knew it was going to be so successful, Tim. Right?
So it's -
Thank you for your support.
Well, thank you for your support and for your knowledge.
And if I might, I'd like to have Tim start off by saying a few words, and then Scott Turner, executive director, has done an incredible job. And, Scott, we'd like to hear from you too, okay?
Well, thank you, sir. Mr. President, thank you for your commitment to all Americans. And truth be told, your commitment has gone beyond the voting booth. You're helping people because they're Americans, and you don't care whether they're Democrats or Republicans, whether they're black or white, whether they're up or they're down, whether they're rich or they're poor. Your focus is making sure that America is healthier as we come out of this COVID-19. And I thank you personally for your support of all people, but specifically to the underserved community.
And what we have before us today, sir, is a way for us to improve the economic outcomes, to improve the health outcomes, and in the long view of what we think is in the best interest of connecting people to the opportunities that will change their lives. And from an economic development perspective, I always think about capital and competency. The more access to capital you have, the more competent you will be long term.
And the way that we have put structure together, it really provides people with more access to capital. The PPP has been a classic example of improving and expanding access to capital in such a way that businesses continue to succeed. Health outcomes — there are a myriad of ways of talking about it. I like to think about it from a testing and telemedicine — testing in the most vulnerable communities.
I think the emphasis has been on the nursing homes — we've learned a lot about that — and then those communities that have two or more health conditions — underlying health conditions. We see the highest hospitalization with our senior population as well as those folks with two or more comorbidities.
And so as we focus on testing and telemedicine, we're creating access in the rural parts of our country in a way that we have not before. And you have led with real force on that topic, and I truly appreciate that.
And on the last one — the long-term structural change — I look at it from a connectivity perspective and choice perspective. So the connectivity — broadband — being incredibly important. I've heard you talk about that a thousand times, if I've heard you talk about it once. And then from a choice perspective, whether it's charter schools or school choice, we have an opportunity to continue to change lives, and you've led on all those fronts. And I think we're going to see tremendous impact.
And certainly, my baby, of course, is opportunity zones.
You have been front and center. And I'm sure Scott is going to talk a lot about Opportunity Zones. But you have assembled the kind of firepower that our nation needs at a critical time. It's one of the reasons why we're going to have a V-shape as we hit August, September, October, November, in this economic recovery.
Well, I think so. And you're seeing it maybe today for the first time, where not only are the markets up tremendously, but we've had tremendous — tremendously good and positive information on therapeutics, on cures, and on vaccines -
— from some of the most respected companies in the world, and researchers and doctors and labs. And that's coming in, and I think you're very close to having a very, very positive situation. And, you know, with it understood — and we always talk about it, Tim — when you lost one person to this, it's too many — just too many. And we're talking about thousands and millions of people throughout the world, on something that should have never happened.
It should've been stopped in China. It should've been stopped at the source. But it happened.
But they're coming out with tremendous — it's incredible what they can do. And I've seen results, and the results are staggeringly good. So, I'm very happy.
And the market is up very big, and I think you're going to have a "V." I think it's going to be terrific. I think we're going to have a transition in the third quarter, Ben, and the transition is going to lead to a very good fourth quarter. And I think we're going to have a year next year — because of all the stimulus and everything else, and the pent-up demand — like you haven't seen in a long time.
Oh, my gosh, 2021 is going to be amazing.
And the stock market is not very short of where it was with all that we went through. It's — and that means a lot of smart people are looking and they're saying, "We're coming back. And we're coming back to that level." I think we're going to come back to greater than that level.
And we've learned a lot. One of the things we've learned is being reliant on ourselves. Don't be reliant on other countries that, frankly, maybe have different agendas. And frankly, there are plenty of them out there, so it's one of those things.
So this is a very big day. This feels much different than Friday. Friday is a different feeling than today. This is a very positive day.
Ben Carson, would you like to say a few words?
Well, first of all, thank you for redirecting us. You know, it was three weeks ago when you said the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council should refocus — not get rid of, but add to its plate focusing on those individuals who are disadvantaged and who have suffered the most.
And I think this epidemic that we're going through right now focused the light on the fact that there were some people who had significant disparities that put them at increased risk for the disease.
So you asked us to really get to the bottom of that. And it's not just the fact that people have hypertension and diabetes and obesity and asthma. It's the things that create an atmosphere where those things flourish.
And so we've been really concentrating on getting at the underlying causes. And I think, first of all, you know, between myself and Ja'Ron, Jared, and a few others, we've talked to hundreds of thousands of stakeholders across the country in various communities to find out from them what their perspective was, particularly in terms of the CARES Act and how it was impacting them and what could be done differently.
And we have discovered some things which we are in the process of correcting. Some of it will require legislative help, and, you know, Senator Scott is all over that. So I think that's going to get done. And the staff in all the agencies — you have 17 different agencies and councils who have been very much involved. Secretary DeVos have been very involved, particularly with the education, the broadband.
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