Statement on the Nation's Economy

February 21, 1985

I am delighted by today's report that the gross national product increased at a 4.9-percent rate in the fourth quarter. The great American expansion is rolling forward, carrying us from a banner year in 1984 toward continued success of high growth, more jobs, and low inflation in 1985.

The United States economy grew by 6.9 percent in 1984, exceeding by better than half the consensus of leading blue chip forecasters. This strength, together with inflation, as measured by the price deflator, of only 3.8 percent, gave us our best economic performance since 1951. And growth of real final sales at an 8.5-percent rate in the fourth quarter indicates that this will be an excellent spring for the American economy.

Today's harvest of good news sprang from the seeds of new policies for greater economic freedom -- lower spending growth by government and greater incentives for individuals -- that we planted in our first term. Now is the time to ensure that our future harvests will be even more bountiful. I ask the Congress to move quickly to pass a package of urgently needed spending restraints and to begin working with us to draft and pass legislation for tax simplification this year.