Remarks to Reporters on Federal Tax and Budget Reconciliation Legislation

August 10, 1982

The President. I just finished having a meeting with Senator Roth, and he made a very cogent statement about the subject that brings us together, this tax and spending cut program that we're seeking to get.

It's been dishonestly portrayed and tagged as the largest tax increase in history. It's nothing of the kind. But he said and characterized it as maybe the greatest tax reform, because only 17 percent of this bill represents actual tax increase. And 31 percent of it represents simply better compliance and collecting money from people who, under the existing laws, owe taxes to the government, and they're not paying them. And the rest of it happens to be actual reforms that we think are correcting unintended benefits or advantages that have come into being through legislation that here and there permitted an opening for a -- technically to gain something.

But the main purpose of what's going on here in this whole combination is that this combination represents a $380 billion reduction in deficits over 3 years. And 280 of that is in spending outlays not in this tax package.

Incidentally, this tax package wouldn't be the greatest single tax increase if it was all tax increase instead of just 17 percent. But the thing is, what we're really talking about is the necessity to reduce the deficits and thus get interest rates to continue coming down to get the economy moving again. And this will do it. And those who are opposing it cannot hide from the fact that they are supporting increased deficits and higher interest rates.

Q. Mr. President, on that note, do you think Jack Kemp and other conservatives are trying to undermine your Presidency? And is it -- --

The President. No, I think that Jack sincerely believes -- is a purist in the supply-side economics. And we'll continue to talk and reason together.

Q. He's not running for President himself.

The President. What?

Q. He's not running for President himself.

The President. I didn't know the job was up for grabs. [Laughter]

Q. Do you think you're going to pass this tax increase package?

The President. We'll do our best to see -- --

Q. How does it look now?

The President. Well, I can tell you better after the meeting. [Laughter]

Note: The President spoke at 4:13 p.m. in the Cabinet Room at the White House.