Remarks to Citizens in
The President. Thank you, Governor
Thompson, Senator Kasten, Lieutenant Governor
McCallum, Congressman Sensenbrenner, Congressman Petri, Mayor Lampert, distinguished guests, and ladies and gentlemen. I
can't tell you how terrific it feels to get out of
And being here along the lake reminds me of the story -- when you're my age, everything reminds you of a story -- [laughter] -- about a young man who was selling fish to the local restaurant, a fellow named Elmer. Well, no one could figure out how Elmer was able to catch so many fish. And they asked the sheriff if he would investigate. Well, he asked Elmer if he could go fishing with him. And early the next morning they rowed out to the middle of the lake. When they got there, Elmer reached into the tackle box, pulled out a stick of dynamite, lit it, threw it into the water. Of course, there was an explosion, and the fish all came floating to the surface. And the sheriff looked at the young fellow and said, ``Elmer, do you know you just committed a felony?'' Elmer reached into the tackle box, pulled out another stick of dynamite, lit it, handed it to the sheriff, and said, ``Did you come here to talk or fish?'' [Laughter]
when it comes to fishing, it's clear that
evident in these workers I met this morning up in
Audience. Reagan! Reagan! Reagan!
no mere coincidence that this blanket of gloom and doom, this smothering
pessimism, followed a great expansion of the Federal Government's power and
authority. Our system of limited government, free enterprise, and individual
freedom was bent out of shape. Federal spending and taxing were the order of
the day. Our pockets were picked, and the coffers of State and local
governments drained, as more and more of the country's financial resources were
funneled for the bureaucracy in
recent years, it's been two-thirds to the Federal Government and only one-third
to local and State government, where the services that you need so much are
provided. Our pockets were picked, and the coffers of State and local
governments, as I say, drained, and more of the country's financial resources
funneled to the bureaucracy in
there are those who think you really don't care about these kinds of economic
statistics. So, before I go any further, I'd like to know how you feel about a
few things. Now, perhaps after each question, you can just shout back yes or
no. Clear your throats, though, and let's let them hear you all the way to
Do you want to go back to the days of inflation and stagnation?
The President. Do you want to go back to the old formula of more taxing and more spending?
The President. Or do you want to lower taxes and balance the budget once and for all?
Audience. Yes! Reagan! Reagan! Reagan!
The President. In other words, do you
The President. Well, you know, there's
a lot left to do. And to borrow a phrase I heard recently, I reject a
potted-plant Presidency. Together, in these last 6\1/2\ years, we turned
decline, inflation, and malaise into growth, stability, and pride. It wasn't
government that did it; it was you, the people. And instead of putting more
power and authority into the hands of bureaucrats and Federal officials in
I talk about productive people, I'm referring to individuals like John Stollenwerk and those of you who work with him. Just 11
weeks ago in a White House ceremony, I named John the number 2 Small
Businessman of the Year. I'm also talking about the folks I met today at the
The President. Yes. And my theory has always been you should be telling the Government what to do, and not the other way around. You know, a President some years ago was talking about government and its power, and he said: ``If the people don't know enough to run their own lives, where do we find a little select elite that cannot only run their lives themselves but the people's lives for them? And that's government?'' Well, you can't find them.
not the way the advocates of big government, as I say, look at it. Far too
often your property, your take-home pay, your profit from large or small
investments, even the assets of your pension funds are spoken of in the
corridors of power as if they are government resources, as if government
officials are being generous by letting you keep as much as you do keep of what
you earn. Well, they're wrong. In
During the last decade, the Federal tax-take nearly tripled. Inflation pushed working people into higher and higher tax brackets, until many working Americans were paying at rates that had been formerly reserved for the more affluent. Well, in these last 6\1/2\ years, we've tried to correct that situation.
Say, is there an echo in here? [referring to chanting by audience members]
As the Governor indicated, we've simplified the tax code, made it more equitable, and brought down rates. And we've done our best to keep the Federal Government's grasping hand out of our pockets.
I'd like to take this opportunity to express my appreciation to two champions
in the battle to protect your take-home pay, heroes in the cause of a strong
By the way -- --
Audience. Just say no! Just say no! Just say no!
The President. Well, you beat me to
it. Before I left this morning,
The President. Well, with Bob and Jim's solid support, we've protected your paychecks, put in place an economic program that by Thanksgiving will have given this country the longest period of peacetime growth in the postwar era. And this year, more Americans are working and a higher percentage of our work force is employed than ever before in our history. The unemployment rate continues to move in the right direction -- down. I know in this area companies are humming with activity, and unemployment is below the national average.
I am here, I'd like to commend Governor Thompson for his aggressive campaign to
get the hardcore unemployed off welfare and into jobs. I happen to believe
that, instead of dependency and handouts, we should be offering the less
fortunate jobs and opportunity, and that's what they want. At the national
level, the best thing we can do for those who want to improve their lot is to
make sure that
greatest challenge now is to keep
First, the Economic Bill of Rights would add to the Constitution an amendment that would require the Federal Government to do what every family in America has to do, and that is balance its budget. Now, there are those who say the easy way to bring down deficit spending is by raising your taxes.
The President. But what they don't tell you is that these new taxes are to pay for more spending, which means that deficit spending might not come down at all. Those who are always calling for tax increases seem to think that you're undertaxed. If I might ask you one more question: Are your taxes too low?
The President. I agree, your taxes are not too low. And if Congress raises them, it could well knock the legs out from under our economy and drag us back down to the bad times that we had back in those seventies. Raising taxes should be serious business and should not be done without the support of a broad consensus of Americans. That's why the Economic Bill of Rights requires that more than a just majority vote of the Members of each House of Congress for the passage of any tax increase. The bottom line is tax increases should be as difficult for Congress to pass as they are painful for the people to pay. What's wrong with saying that 60 percent or maybe even two-thirds should be required to increase the taxes?
as far as deficit spending, we don't have a deficit because you're not taxed
enough; we have a deficit because the Federal Government spends too much. And
to ensure that wasteful spending isn't maneuvered through the system by
attaching it to needed legislation, we propose to give to the President a
line-item veto, the tool that will permit him to cut the fat and keep the meat
of legislation that comes to his desk. Forty-three Governors, including
Governor Thompson, are armed with this taxpayers' protection device. The
President of the
The Economic Bill of Rights would also require a truth-in-spending provision for every piece of legislation. If the bill is going to cost you, the taxpayers, it should state clearly how much it is going to cost and who's going to pay for it. Our program is aimed at protecting our heritage as free Americans. It is aimed at protecting what you earn, what you own, what you'll live on when you retire, and what you will pass on to your children.
The Economic Bill of Rights is about freedom, about limited government and unlimited opportunity. It represents all we've fought for and all that we need to continue to fight for. I'm going to work for this, not just for the remainder of this job but for the rest of my public life.
Audience. Reagan! Reagan! Reagan!
The President. I was going to say I
hope I can count on your support. You've told me I can already. Now, some of
you may know that I announced the Economic Bill of Rights on July 3d, standing
on the steps of the Jefferson Memorial. And as I spoke, I could see symbols of
our precious freedoms. In the distance was the White
The President. And I just want you to know that I believe that even more strongly than I always have, after being here with you here today.
Thank you all, and God bless you.
Note: The President
spoke at at