Radio Address to the Nation on Administration Accomplishments

 

December 27, 1986

 

My fellow Americans:

 

Nancy and I sincerely hope that you and your family have been enjoying this holiday season. Christmas and Hanukkah provide all of us with special moments to cherish and remember. The new year, which will be with us in just a few days, offers us a chance to reflect on the year we've been through and to set our sights for the year ahead.

 

Having been blessed with a long life, my perspective on 1986 is different than that of many of the commentators. I believe this year, 1986, will be remembered by you for some important and long-lasting events that the political pundits don't remember or may not have noticed. 1986, for example, may have been the year when you, someone in your family, or someone you know started a small business. It's estimated that over 600,000 new businesses were incorporated this year, most of them small operations headed by men and women with a dream. With our recovery in its fourth year, economists may well point to 1986 as a year of steady growth and low inflation. To you, perhaps, that meant your take-home pay was going further, or it might have meant that in 1986 someone in your family found a job. So far this year more than 2 million jobs have been created. In 1986 a higher percentage of our population has been employed than ever before.

 

Looking ahead, the forecasters are projecting that next year we will enjoy even stronger economic growth. They suggest that the gross national product will rise by a healthy 3.2 percent, which should translate into lower unemployment, more jobs, and higher take-home pay. Some other positive economic news portends good things ahead. We're turning the corner on the trade deficit problem. This is also the year Congress, with a little prodding from the rest of us, finally got its act together and reformed the tax system and lowered the rates. It was widely reported that tax reform was an impossible dream. Working together we showed the cynics our system still works.

 

And also this year we've made some tangible progress on some other things I know you're personally concerned about. Our battle against the evil of drug and alcohol abuse, for example, has scored some impressive victories. Record amounts of illegal drugs have been intercepted before reaching the street; local, State, and Federal agencies are cooperating as never before. And beyond enforcement, people from every walk of life are joining our crusade to help others achieve a drug-free life. You could well remember 1986 as the year when a friend or loved one, with all of us doing what we could to help, straightened up his or her life and got off illegal drugs or alcohol. One thing history will certainly record is that this was the year that Americans brought some of the top leaders of organized crime to justice. We began our offensive against the mob early in the administration; and it's taken time, patience, and hard work. But this year, after long arduous preparation, we moved against the kingpins of racketeering. Last month, after a dramatic 10-week trial, 8 crime leaders -- heads of what's called the commission -- were convicted. We can all be proud of those law enforcement professionals responsible for this major defeat of the underworld.

 

A fine writer and social commentator from the American Enterprise Institute named Ben Wattenberg has written a book entitled ``The Good News Is the Bad News Is Wrong.'' Well, in it he pointed out that while daily news reports in recent years have focused on negative events and predictions of gloom and doom, our country and our people actually have been moving forward, problems solved, opportunity opening. Living in a time of great change as we do, it's easy to be apprehensive, especially about events on the international scene. The Iran controversy has certainly been a disappointment for all of us; nonetheless, I am committed to getting all the facts and fixing whatever went wrong. And 1986 has been a good year for the cause of human freedom and good for the cause of world peace.

 

This year relations between the United States and the Soviet Union advanced. When I met with General Secretary Gorbachev in Reykjavik, it was clear the differences between our positions on arms reduction had narrowed considerably. In the year ahead, both sides are in a good position to build on what has been accomplished. As the song puts it, it was a very good year. Well, Nancy and I hope 1986 was a very good year for you and wish you an even better 1987.

 

Until next week, thanks for listening, and God bless you.

 

Note: The President's address was recorded earlier for broadcast at 12:06 p.m.