Remarks at a White House Briefing for the American Legislative Exchange Council
you very much. [Applause] Please. Well, I can't -- [laughter] -- I can't top
that. Thank you. Well, thank you all very much, and welcome to
More than once during that campaign I was reminded of a remark, also, that was made by his older brother, Harry Warner -- and that was back when talking pictures first started to come in, in the twenties. And Harry Warner said, ``Who the heck wants to hear actors talk?'' [Laughter] Actually, I don't think he said ``heck,'' but Presidents aren't allowed the same license as studio executives. [Laughter]
it really is great to have you here. Whenever I'm talking to ALEC, I feel like
I'm among family and can let my hair down a little. Let me take a moment here
to thank you,
that last issue I just want to take a moment to tell you the profound effect
that your efforts, and the efforts of many concerned citizens like you, are
having. It wasn't so long ago, I remember that
another change that would have been inconceivable just 6 years ago, and almost
impossible without the help of all of you in this room, is the revolutionary
new tax reform that is the law of the land.
When I signed the tax bill I pointed out that when our Founding Fathers designed this government, of and by and for the people, they never imagined the income tax as we've come to know it. As a matter of fact, back then, in 1913, when it was being debated right here in Washington, one Senator was literally laughed out of politics because in the debate he stood up and said that if they passed this thing that they were talking about, it was conceivable that someday the government could even be taking as much as 10 percent of what a citizen earned. [Laughter] And that sounded so ridiculous in those days that, as I say, he was just ridiculed out of office. Well, they understood that private property -- those Founding Fathers of ours -- is one of the most important of civil rights, the most fundamental protection of the individual and the family against the excessive and always growing demands of the state. They knew that without economic liberty, political freedom may be no more than a shadow. In the last 20 years we've witnessed an expansion and strengthening of many of our civil liberties, but our economic liberties have all too often been neglected and abused.
tax cuts of 1981 and this year's tax reform are the first important steps back
to economic liberty. But there is much more to be done. We shouldn't forget
that deficit spending represents a form of indirect taxation, and all Americans
pay for it with slower growth and often, higher future taxes. It's become
clearer every year when budget time rolls around that the budget process in
Most of you operate within the constraints of a balanced budget every day. You know how it works, and you've seen how effective it can be in checking the automatic impulse of many legislators to spend more and more of the taxpayers' hard-earned money. Increasingly, the real action in the country is going to be coming from the States. The Christian Science Monitor put it this way: ``Decentralization of power could be one of the most long-lasting effects of the Reagan Presidency.'' I'd be very proud if that were so. And a recent statement by Governors Dick Thornburgh and John Sununu put it like this: ``Washington has changed under the President, but an even bigger change is going on right now in the States, in the cities, in America's communities, and in America's neighborhoods.''
so it is that yet another fundamental, long-lasting, and dramatic change has
taken place. Power has stopped flowing to
As you may know, the working group on the family recently reported to me. We're still studying the report, and we'll have much more to say about it later. But for the moment, I want to read you a passage from its opening section. It's some food for thought, so to speak. They say it's time to reaffirm some home truths that the commitment of love, loyalty, and hard work that parents make to their children is the bedrock of our society. A profamily policy is one that would support those who make this commitment and not undermine and be hostile to them or send a message that we're neutral. Just common sense, I guess, much like tax reform or balanced budgets. But how far do we have to travel before our government policy really reflects this home truth?
now finally, let me just add a few words about the controversy concerning
You might want to use this sometime. It's a story about Winston Churchill near the close of the Second World War. He was visited by a delegation from the Temperance League and chastised by one woman who said, ``Mr. Prime Minister, I've heard that if all the whiskey you have drunk since the war began were poured into this room, it would come all the way up to your waist.'' Churchill looked dolefully at the floor, then at his waist, and then up to the ceiling. And he said: ``Ah, yes, madam. So much accomplished and so much more left to do.'' [Laughter]
Well, thank you all again. God bless you all. Thank you.
The President spoke at in Room 450 of the