Remarks on Tax Reform at a Meeting With Corporate Leaders

June 4, 1985

The President. Well, I can handle what Jim has just said. I know that you've been up on the Hill testifying, and I'd like to add my thanks, and my thanks for your coming down here. Maybe you haven't had time to study our tax reform proposal, but I'm sure you have familiarized yourself to quite an extent with it.

It isn't perfect, as Jim has said, but we believe that it'll work and that we can surpass it. I add to that, having been out on the road for a few days in addition to the polls that we have seen, the people obviously do support this, and I'll be on my way again tomorrow morning.

We all know the shortcomings of the present system. It's unfair; it's hindered technological investment; it impedes economic growth; it does all the things that we've been blaming it for. You supported our efforts in '81 when we reduced taxes. And while we didn't reverse the spending increase of the government, at least we cut back on the rate of increase in spending, and certainly we reduced considerably the paperwork and the regulations that government was imposing on everyone. And the results speak for themselves.

For over 30 months now, at the present rate of growth in the economy, we've had a higher percentage of the working pool employed than any time in our previous history, low inflation rates, interest rates falling. And all our trading partners and their allies and even some of our unfriendly types out there have become envious of what we've done.

And now, thanks to your efforts, maybe we'll have an opportunity to finish the job of providing and securing economic good health for America. But there's an army of lobbyists -- maybe you saw some of them up there on the Hill -- and special interests that are dug in, and they're firing every weapon they own. But I think maybe you've shown them that there are loyal soldiers on the right side who can fire a few salvos themselves.

Together we can brighten the future for our children and our grandchildren. And I'm glad and proud that the American business community has statesmen like yourselves who are willing to come up here and do what you've done in support of this.

And now, as I said, I'm supposed to leave you and turn you back over to Jim and to Don Regan and discuss some, well, the specific provisions that directly concern you. And again, I'll say thanks to you for coming up here.

Reporter. Mr. President, some of the 1981 tax proposals which you just talked about are repealed in this new proposal. How do you justify that?

The President. Well, I think that that would simply mean that we did what we could at that particular time, knowing that there was more really that should be done. And this just shows that we're continuing to improve.

Q. How are you going to sell this in the Rust Belt, Mr. President?

Principal Deputy Press Secretary Speakes. Bob, I'm sorry. That's all.

Q. Thank you.

Note: The President spoke at 3:05 p.m. in the Roosevelt Room at the White House. In his remarks, the President referred to James A. Baker III, Secretary of the Treasury, and Donald T. Regan, Chief of Staff and Assistant to the President.