Radio Address to the
Nation on Economic Growth and the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty
April 9, 1988
probably heard that some of our political opponents are very concerned about
the state of our economy. And I have to tell you I don't blame them. If I were
in their shoes, I'd be worried too.
see, April marks the 65th straight month of the longest peacetime expansion in U.S. history. In that time,
we've created nearly 16 million jobs. They're better and higher paying, too,
which is one reason why the real income of the average American has been rising
steadily for the last 5 years. The percentage of Americans employed is the
highest in history, and the unemployment rate continues to drop down to its
lowest level since 1974. Since 1980 U.S. manufacturing has
increased its productivity almost 3 times as fast as in the 7 previous years.
Inflation remains low, while the gross national
product growth this year and last has exceeded even our own optimistic
our opponents have convinced themselves that this record growth, vibrant job
creation, and more productive economy is bad news. And they say it's all the
fault of Reaganomics. Well, I'd love to take the blame, or credit, as the case
may be, but that just wouldn't be fair. All we did was get government out of
your way. We cut taxes, inflation, and regulations; and we let the American
people take back their own economy and run with it. In their effort to prove
that this economic boom we're in is really a bust, our opponents have had to
weave some pretty tall tales. One of those they tell about America is that we're
threatened by foreign investment. Well, to paraphrase what Joe Friday used to
say in ``Dragnet'': ``Let's just look at the facts,
ma'am.'' Yes, foreigners now hold about 12 percent of U.S. public debt, but that's
down from 16 percent in 1978. Foreign resources also accounted for 10 percent
of total credit-market funds last year -- exactly the same as in the mid-1970's. But even so, foreign investment isn't something
to be scared of. It brings us a host of benefits, including jobs and lower
interest rates for all Americans, whether they be
homebuyers, small businessmen, consumers, or farmers.
Warren Brookes makes a very good point: ``What
difference does it make,'' he asks, ``whether a Japanese company owns a factory
in Detroit or in Marysville, Ohio? Could someone
seriously think they might dismantle it brick by brick, and ship it back to
Japan in the middle of the night?'' I wonder if the workers in those plants
think foreign investment is such a bad thing, or the nearly 3 million other
Americans employed by foreign firms in the United States, whose payrolls add up
to more than $70 billion and that pay about $8 billion in income taxes to the
United States Treasury.
fact is we live in a global economy. We can be glad people in other countries
choose to invest in the vibrant and growing U.S. economy rather than
their own nations. I don't blame them. I think America's a pretty good
investment, too. Right now, however, there's a trade bill working its way
through Congress that could go a long way toward making America a bad investment for
Americans and foreigners alike. At this moment, we've not seen the final bill.
But from what we already know, we still have very -- underline very -- serious
reservations. We'll continue to work with the full conference and the
congressional leadership to clear up these problems. But the bottom line is
this: I will veto a bad trade bill before I will let a bad trade bill veto our
important matter facing the Nation today is the INF treaty, which I signed with
General Secretary Gorbachev at our Washington summit meeting last
December. This treaty will, for the first time, eliminate an entire class of U.S. and Soviet missiles. We
called this the zero-option when I first proposed it in 1981. The treaty also
requires the Soviet
to make far greater reductions now in its missile systems to reach equality
with us. This is an historic precedent, and we will apply it to other arms
negotiations as well. Finally, the treaty has the most comprehensive
verification regime in arms control history. This too is an important precedent
for other negotiations, particularly those on strategic arms, where an even
more elaborate verification regime will be required.
sum, this treaty represents what can be accomplished when we negotiate from a
position of strength. Action on it is now up to the United States Senate, which
must give its advice and consent to ratification. I hope it will be given
expeditious consideration by the full Senate, and I urge all Senators to
provide their advice and consent without reservation. It is a solid treaty, and
it enhances the security of our country and our allies.
next week then, thank you for listening, and God bless you.
Note: The President
spoke at from his ranch in Santa Barbara County, CA.