Exchange With Reporters on Domestic and Foreign Policy Issues

May 7, 1982

Q. Mr. President, is it fair to blame this unemployment rate on your policies?

The President. No, they can't blame it on our policies. And I can tell them how that they can turn that around. Remember, those are the seasonally adjusted figures that have been used for this percentage. But if they want to turn it around, let the Democrats in the House and the Senate join us in adopting the budget that was passed out of the Senate Budget Committee; let us get that spending down. They do that, and not only will unemployment turn around and come down but so will interest rates, and this economy will get moving again.

Q. Democrats say your budget hurts the poor and it's cruel and it's going to cut the people off who really need the help.

The President. Yeah, and the single word for that is ``demagoguery,'' because at no point have we ever cut the budget below what they were the previous year. And this one is not cut below the previous year. It represents a 5-percent increase over the previous year.

Q. Are you concerned that the British have extended their zone around the Falklands to within 12 nautical miles of Argentina?

The President. Well, I'm concerned, of course. But I don't -- --

Q. [Inaudible]

The President. I don't know. But I don't want violence to break out again. I'm hoping that we can have this ceasefire and the removal of all forces. So far I understand, that it is Argentina that is holding back on withdrawing their forces.

Q. Mr. President, have you made decisions on START? For example, have you talked to the Russians about a possible meeting in July in Geneva?

The President. We are -- there are communications going on, and I will be speaking about this Sunday at Eureka College.

Q. Will we let the British have a refueling aircraft so they can refuel their Nimrods?

The President. I don't know of any plans or any decisions that have been made about things like that.

Q. Well, you make the decision.

The President. What?

Q. You make the decision.

The President. Yes, but nothing has been presented to me in that line so far.

Deputy Press Secretary Speakes. Thank you.

Q. Don't fall off the horse.

The President. But if you want to tell the Democrats, again, there's one way to get this economy back in business, and it's in their hands.

Q. Their economy, not yours?

The President. What?

Q. It's their economy, not yours?

The President. No, it's just that they're being obstructionists now.

Q. But they say you're going to cut social security. That's what they're saying. They say you're going to cut social security.

The President. Glad you mentioned that. They know better. And that is true demagoguery again.

There is nothing in the budget -- and I will guarantee everyone getting social security that they're going to get every penny, plus, on July 1st, they will get a 7.4-percent cost-of-living increase. There has been no proposal to cut social security, and those who were saying it in the Congress today know that.

Q. What happened to this bipartisan spirit, this work -- live-and-let-live bipartisanism?

The President. I think the only bipartisan spirit I have is with a horse. [Laughter]

Q. Don't fall off!

Note: The exchange began at 1:27 p.m. at the South Portico of the White House as the President was leaving for an afternoon of horseback riding at Quantico Marine Base, Va. Accompanying the President were Senator Paul Laxalt of Nevada and several members of the White House staff.