Remarks at a Luncheon Hosted by the Heritage Foundation
you for those very kind words, and thank all of you
very much. It's always a great pleasure to speak to the Heritage Foundation and
have a chance to see so many old friends and supporters and advisers. As many
of you know, Ed Feulner joined the administration for
a short while at the beginning of the year and his help and advice were
invaluable, but he wanted to get back to Heritage. He knows where the real
power center in
In the last 10 years, with Ed at the helm and with the constant support and vision of Joe Coors, Heritage has transformed itself from a struggling and valiant coterie of conservatives to, well, a struggling and valiant coterie of conservatives -- [laughter] -- though today the influence and importance of Heritage is widely recognized in Washington and, indeed, by policymakers around the world.
back to those days when, as we used to say, all the conservatives in this town
could fit into a single phone booth, I remembered the story
Well, we've stood by each other. All of you today, who've been so generous, have stood by the cause and demonstrated the kind of dedication that has made conservatism the dominant intellectual and political force in American politics today. When we think of those people who have helped shape American politics, one special name comes to mind -- a voice of patriotism, reason, and conservative values. That voice is now silenced, but the memory of our great and good friend, Clare Boothe Luce, will continue to speak loudly, not just to a new nation of conservatives but to all Americans, to all people who cherish freedom, who know it's worth the struggle.
once remarked that no matter how great or exalted a man might be, history will have time to give him no more than a single
sentence. George Washington founded the country; Abraham Lincoln freed the
slaves; Winston Churchill saved
Before I get to the main body of my speech, there are two subjects I'd like to discuss. Really, I want to ask for your support. The first, our nomination of Anthony Kennedy to the Supreme Court. He's tough on crime. He believes, as we do, that judges should interpret the law, not make it. He knows that there are victims of crime as well as criminals, and he doesn't confuse the two. He's served for 12 years as a judge on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals where he's won the respect of the entire legal community. He's been on my short list from the very start because he's second to none in his commitment to the philosophy of judicial restraint. But one of the best things about Anthony Kennedy is, he's only 51 years old. And you know those Californians -- [laughter] -- they're all health nuts, and they have a way of sticking around for a long time.
The second thing I need your support on is the budget deal that we hammered out with Congress. Now, I know some people are disappointed with that deal. I don't expect people to be jumping up and down in ecstasy. But let me tell you about two important aspects of the deal that should be reassuring to conservatives, indeed, to everyone: Marginal income taxes -- the heart of incentive economics -- have not been touched. The second round of rate cuts will go into effect just as scheduled on January 1st. That's vital for a strong growth year in 1988. There are no new across-the-board taxes. There are user fees, loophole closings, increased compliance, and the like. In fact, I had $22 billion of them in my own budget this year, but we've kept our pledge to the American people to hold the line on taxes.
And we actually came out ahead on defense. Now, some people said we would have been better off with sequestration. Well, sequestration would have cut as much as an additional $16 billion of defense budget authority, reducing the defense programs to a level 10 percent below fiscal year 1987 in real terms. That large a cut, coupled with its indiscriminate across-the-board application, would quickly return us to the hollow Army of the seventies.
Flying hours would be reduced by 25 percent, steaming days for the Navy by 20 percent, with severe reductions in maintenance and spare parts. Critical weapons development, such as the Stealth program, could be delayed for years. With this deal, we ended up with $3.5 billion more in defense outlays than last year. We may have bid farewell to Cap Weinberger, but, as I said to him, we know that the magnificent job he did rebuilding our defenses is nowhere near complete, and we're not slacking one iota from that commitment. It's not all that he or I wanted, but it's far superior to the alternative.
Well, as you all know, a week from today I'll be receiving a rather important visitor. There's been, as you also know, a lot of intensive preparation for this summit. We seem to have ironed out the difficulties, and I'm confident that they will stay ironed. With all of the things going on, however, one might be forgiven if one felt a little like Harold MacMillan in his famous exchange with Nikita Khrushchev. It was MacMillan, of course, who was delivering an address at the United Nations, when Khrushchev pulled off his shoe and started banging it on the table. Unflappable as ever, MacMillan simply remarked, ``I'd like that translated, if I may.'' [Laughter]
today I want to give you a translation. I want to talk to you about relations
remember when I visited
I'm pleased to say that the INF agreement is based upon the proposal that the
United States, in consultation with our allies, first put forward in 1981 --
the zero option. The zero option calls very simply for the elimination of this
entire class of
This treaty, as any treaty I agree to, will provide for effective verification, including onsite inspection of facilities before and during reduction and short-notice inspection afterward. In short, it will be the most stringent verification regime in the history of arms control negotiations. I would not ever settle for anything less. I urge you to join in the support of this historic treaty.
also pressing ahead on an agreement to reduce our two nations' strategic
arsenals by half. Our
no longer a secret that the
A recent report released by the Department of Defense, called ``The Soviet Space Challenge,'' warns that the Soviet space program points in one direction: ``The methodical pursuit of a war-fighting capability in space.'' Well, this report raises an ominous specter. Together with the longstanding Red Shield Program and the construction of the Krasnoyarsk radar as part of an updated early warning and tracking system, the Soviets may be working toward a ``breakout'' from the ABM treaty, to confront us with a fait accompli that, without SDI, we would be totally and dangerously unprepared for.
There's been a tendency by some in Congress to discuss SDI as if its funding could be determined by purely domestic considerations, unconnected to what the Soviets are doing. Well, SDI is a vital insurance policy, a necessary part of any national security strategy that includes deep reductions in strategic weapons. It is a cornerstone of our security strategy for the 1990's and beyond. We will research it. We will develop it. And when it is ready, we will deploy it.
let me just say a few more words about two of the other subjects I'll be
discussing with General Secretary Gorbachev -- first, human rights. There has
been a lot of speculation about glasnost recently. Is it merely an effort to
make the economy more productive, or will this first breath of openness inspire
peoples in the
last August, over 200 underground Ukrainian Catholic Church leaders and laity
fearlessly and for the first time disclosed their names in an appeal to General
Secretary Gorbachev to legalize their church. Joseph Terelya,
the brave Ukrainian Catholic human rights activist, recently released from the
let me just touch on the subject of personal -- or of regional, I should say,
conflicts. Today, even as their economy flags at home, the Soviets spend
billions to maintain or impose Communist rule abroad, from Eastern Europe to
Cuba, Cambodia, South Yemen, Angola, Ethiopia, Nicaragua, and Afghanistan. It's
estimated that the Soviet war on
Soviet and Soviet-backed forces in
support for the brave Afghan freedom fighters is more solid than ever. Three
weeks ago the U.N. General Assembly, with a record vote, called overwhelmingly
for the withdrawal of all foreign forces from
should respect the voice of the Afghan people and negotiate with the
resistance, without whose assent no political solution
is possible. And they should face reality and allow a process of genuine
self-determination to decide
the other side of the continent, the Soviets must take their share of
responsibility for the situation developing in
the last famine, while the rest of the world sent food and medicine, the
Soviets sent their clients in
I meet with General Secretary Gorbachev, I'm going to ask him: Isn't it time
I can turn to the domestic side of this question for a moment, I hope the
Members of our own Congress will not forget this important fact: Without the
freedom fighters, there would be no Arias peace plan, there would be no
negotiations and no hope for democracy in
Within the next month Congress will have to vote on further aid to the freedom fighters. If Congress says no to this aid, the Sandinistas will know that all they have to do is play a waiting game. They will have no incentive to negotiate, no incentive to make real steps toward democracy.
If we're serious about this peace process, we must keep the freedom fighters alive and strong and viable until they can once again return home to take part in a free and democratic Nicaraguan society. They are brave men, and they have sacrificed much in the cause of freedom, and they deserve no less. There will be few more important votes in Congress than this one and, as I have so often said in the past, I'll be counting on your active support. With your help, I know we can win this one. The fact is, as you all very well know, we have no choice -- we have to win this one.
So, as Robert Frost might have said, we have promises to keep and miles to go before January 1999 . Looking ahead to our agenda always puts me in mind of one of my favorite Churchill anecdotes. It was toward the close of World War II, and Churchill was visited by a delegation of the Temperance League. And one of the ladies there firmly chastised him, saying, ``Mr. Prime Minister, I've heard of all the brandy you have drunk since the war began and heard that if it were poured into this room it would come up all the way to your waist.'' And Churchill looked dolefully down at the floor and then at his waist, then up to the ceiling, and said, ``Ah, yes, Madam, so much accomplished, and so much more left to do.'' [Laughter]
Well, we've got so much more left to do in these next 14 months or so. If anything, we're stepping on the gas because of the limited time. We want to get as much pinned down of what has been accomplished so far and the changes that have been made. And, you know, there's one thing that might encourage you sometimes when the going gets a little tough. Do you realize how short a time it has been that both parties are talking about eliminating the deficit? [Laughter] For 50 years they told us that we didn't have to worry about the deficit -- we owed it to ourselves. Now we're not arguing anymore about, no, you shouldn't spend that money. We're just arguing about how we're going to cut. And we've had more practice at that then they have, so we'll try to get our way.
Thank you all very much, and God bless you.
Note: The President
spoke at to the foundation's trustees and founders in the ballroom