Remarks to Citizens in
The President. Thank you, Governor
Orr. Thank you all very much. Senator Karnes, Representatives Smith and Daub,
Ambassador Yeutter, Mr. Mayor, reverend clergy,
distinguished guests, and ladies and gentlemen: It is great to be here in
I feel even more at home here in Buffalo Bill Cody's rodeo grounds. Like Cody, I was born in a small town, moved out West, served in the Army horse cavalry reserve, and then went into showbiz. [Laughter] Now, there are a lot of people -- kind of thinking they're disparaging in doing it -- call me, today, a cowboy. You know, I've never understood what's so bad about being a cowboy. I'm proud of my spurs. I've often said there's nothing better for the inside of a man than the outside of a horse. [Laughter]
while we're here, I want to say just a few words about another man who would
have felt right at home in this ring -- the Secretary of Commerce, and my
friend, Mac Baldrige. As you may know, he was from
on with the business of
I think a first order of business is peace and democracy in
aspirations for democracy, promised by the Sandinistas in 1979 -- the commitment
to free speech, free press, freedom of religion, free elections, all civil
rights -- must be fulfilled. What this all means is that the leaders of the
Central American democracies, the Republicans and Democrats in Congress, and my
administration all agree -- the key to peace in that region is genuine
But now, looking to the homefront, we've got a lot of business to take care of. There are only 17 months left in this administration. Some people say that makes me a lameduck and I should sit back and enjoy myself. Well, I've never seen a happy lameduck. [Laughter] The way I see it, back in 1984, you hired me for 4 more years with no time off for good behavior.
Audience. Four more years!
The President. Besides, we've accomplished a number of things in the past 6 years, and I'd like to see them pinned down and made permanent. That's at the top of our agenda, to lock in and cement the economic progress we've made in the last 6 years.
pledge to you: I'm not leaving office until your paycheck is, once and for all,
safe from those who want to tax it and spend it into oblivion. For too long,
the advocates of big government have been treating your paycheck, your savings,
even your pensions, like they're government property. And they act as if
they're being generous when they let you keep a little of it. Well, those days
are over. In
of my favorite songs, a few years back, went, ``Sure could use a little good
news today.'' Well, today, I think we have some economic good news in
example, the percentage of Americans employed is the highest in history.
Sixty-two percent of everyone 16 years of age or older, all the way up, are
employed. Just last week, unemployment dropped to 5.9 percent, the lowest level
since 1979. And I don't know what it would be if the statisticians counted the
near half a million military based outside the
these aren't the inflationary jobs of 1979 destined to burst with the
inflationary bubble. These are jobs in a strong, growing, low-inflation
economy. In fact, recent revisions of the gross national product figures show
that our economic expansion is stronger than anybody thought. Come October,
this expansion, if it is continued till then, will be the longest in
Now, something else is also setting records. Strong, continuous, low-inflationary growth has meant that not only are more Americans working than ever before but their paychecks are growing, too. American family incomes increased for the fourth year in a row, while the poverty rate continues its decline below its level in 1981. Meanwhile, the stock market reached another record high last week and the leading economic indicators are rising, pointing to good times ahead.
Now, that's the good news. The bad news is that there are still those who say that the way to bring down deficit spending is by raising your taxes.
The President. Now, I must have promised a hundred times to veto any tax hike that comes across my desk, and that promise still stands. But, you know, there are some of those people in Congress, present company excepted, but some of those others that are back there that keep calling for more taxes. And I thought I was the one that needed a hearing aid. [Laughter]
me tell you a little more good news. You know, when we first started our
economic program, we said that tax cuts would be so good for the economy.
They'd produce so much growth that revenues would actually increase, even at
the lower tax rates. Well, our critics thought that was crazy. But lo and
behold, in 1984, the first complete year that our tax cut program was in place,
revenues increased about 11 percent. And they've kept right on increasing.
Counting estimated revenues for this year, that adds
up to an increase of revenue at the lower tax rates of over 40 percent. But
still, some aren't satisfied. So, they want to raise your taxes again and throw
the American people made their views on taxes well known in 1984. But since
The President. Do you want to go back to the bad old days of high inflation and low growth?
The President. Or do you want to lower
taxes, eliminate the deficit, and balance the budget once and for all?
[Applause] After hearing you, I'm ashamed to ask this next one. Do you want to
The President. Well, I just finished talking about why they're basing that. They think the only way to balance the budget and end the deficit is to raise your taxes. I say the way to end the deficit is to lower their spending. When you see those commercials, or hear them, about me and the deficit, may I just tell you that every year the law requires I send a budget to the Congress. And not one year since I've been there has Congress adopted my budget. They have cut, yes. They've cut defense every year. They've cut it a total of $125 billion over what I asked for. But they added $250 billion to the domestic programs over what I asked for. So, somebody's off base with their commercials.
But you know, we've still got a lot of work to do. We have to institutionalize the gains that we've made, so no one can take them away again. And that's why I stood on the steps of the Jefferson Memorial and announced our call last month for an Economic Bill of Rights to be added to the Constitution, so that the American people will finally have permanent protection from the always growing and always greedy demands of big government.
And the first thing it would require is that the Federal Government do what every American family has to do -- balance its budget. And let me repeat what I said last night: If the Congress continues to refuse to vote on our balanced budget amendment, the call for a constitutional convention will grow louder and louder. And, one way or the other, the will of the people always prevails. Now, the Congress could eliminate that long, lengthy, and time-consuming operation of a constitutional convention by simply passing an amendment that says the Government, from here on -- well, we're going to take a few years to have to get down there -- but then keep balancing the budget.
And second, to make sure that the balanced budget amendment isn't simply used as a lever to raise your taxes, we would require that more than a majority must vote to pass a tax hike. On the theory that it should be as difficult for Congress to raise taxes as it is painful for you to pay them. So, let's look at instead of 50 percent plus one being able to raise the taxes, maybe 60 percent or even two-thirds should have to vote in order to take such a drastic action.
And then, third -- it would give the President the same tool your great Governor, Kay Orr, and 42 other Governors use to keep spending under control -- a line-item veto. I had it as Governor of California and, believe me, I miss it. That way we can cut away the fat and leave the meat intact.
some provisions would strengthen something our forefathers took for granted --
property rights. Others would require truth-in-spending, every piece of
legislation would come with a pricetag and an
explanation of how it's going to be paid for. This just isn't some economic
package we're talking about. It's an insurance policy for
You know, I'm going to stick something in here that wasn't in my prepared remarks. There were some of you down here in front -- and it was very flattering, indeed -- who were chanting: Four more years! Well, that can't happen with the amendment to the Constitution, and no President in office can ask to change it. But a President out of office can. And you know something? I think we all ought to give some thought -- by what right did we tell the people of this democracy -- place a limit on how many times they could vote for someone if they wanted to vote for them? [Applause]
told that during World War II the people of
you young people who are here, let me tell you a little true incident. A
scholar from our country recently took a trip to the
told a little while ago some of your fellow Nebraskans a little story. I
collect stories now that I can find out and actually prove are told in the
Well, I just hate to do this, but I've got a long way yet to go, all the way to the coast. So, thank you all, and God bless you all.
Note: The President
spoke at at the