Remarks at a White House Briefing for Members of the Young Presidents' Organization
Thank you all very much, and thank you, Ken, and welcome to the White House. I am delighted to have you here to wrap up what I know has been a whole series of meetings and briefings that you've had with top officials of the administration. The Young Presidents' Organization has an extraordinary membership. I can't help but admire men and women who are already being called president when they're 40. [Laughter] It took some of us a little bit longer. Come to think of it, though, I've often wondered, does president of my union of Screen Actors Guild before I was 40 count? [Laughter] So, I'm one of you. [Applause]
Well, what you've accomplished so early in life means that your biggest success still lies ahead. I know that you're -- well, now that you are used to being called president, no one knows where you might wind up. We certainly need risk-taking, bottom-line chief executives like you to serve in government. I've been very fortunate to have in my administration former members of YPO like Jack Courtemanche, who isn't here with us this morning, but three others that are: Carl Covitz, Bob Tuttle, and Joe Wright. And without men and women drawn from the private sector, it is easy for the Federal Government to become unresponsive and out of touch.
Soon after we got here, I commissioned a task force to reduce excessive government regulation, which I asked Vice President Bush to head up. And thanks to that effort, we were able to eliminate some of the needless regulations that had built up and to subject all new proposed rules to the most careful scrutiny. And the result has been pretty practical. The Federal Register, which lists all regulations, is just a little more than half the size that it was when we came here, and the estimate is that we have eliminated among people -- just citizens, small -- or community and State governments and so forth, businesses -- 600 million man-hours a year of work filling out government forms in answer to the regulations. A lot of you know personally the sort of paperwork the Federal Government can require.
I remember the old story about a businessman who after many years of dutifully keeping the records and documents required by the Federal Government in his particular business, and with the files really piling up, he wrote the Government asking if he still needed to keep all the old documents. And a letter came back saying, ``Well, it's okay, you can throw away any papers more than 8 years old provided you make copies of each one of them first.'' [Laughter]
I'm happy to report that the Federal Government is not growing that way
anymore, but many of your businesses are. And that's the best sort of news for
have to try something out. Did you ever know -- I didn't know before I got here
-- what is considered the potential employment pool in
Business Week Magazine reported recently, ``Basic manufacturers, once
considered a dying breed, are selling products many thought wouldn't even be
made in the United States any longer -- escalators to Taiwan, machine tools to
West Germany, lumber to Japan, and shoes to Italy.'' Well, since the third
quarter of 1986 the volume of American exports has been growing some 4 times as
fast as the volume of imports. And it's thanks to you, not the Government, that
since 1980 the
thanks to the private sector that the real income of the average American has
been rising steadily for the last 6 years. The Federal
Government did one thing to contribute to this: we got out of your way as much
as we could. So, when American business created new wealth for the country, it
flowed to the American people and was not diverted to
What the Federal Government needs to do now is what each of you always does -- balance the budget -- and not by raising taxes but by controlling spending. If we can continue the progrowth policies of the last 7 years, I believe that the next decade will be known as the ``Roaring Nineties.'' Our country is poised for even greater economic growth in the years ahead because we've opened up the economy, lowered tax rates, and restored the ideal of limited government and free enterprise.
can't help but say -- once back when I was Governor of California -- interject
here about how that attitude can grow in government. We, one year, gave back
$850 million of surplus in
we've cut the top personal income tax rate by more than half -- making
I ask each of you in the coming months to direct some of your talent, energy, and leadership to the choices that lie before us. In doing so, you'll be serving your country as citizens, serving your companies and industries as corporate leaders, and helping to preserve and build the jobs, growth, and opportunity that working Americans depend on. After you leave here, I want you to remember this building and think whether next year and beyond, America will be constructing new plants and offices for expanding businesses like yours, or will we be raising more and more Federal office buildings to tax, regulate, and stifle the energy, imagination, and enterprise of the American people.
choice we face is a very simple one. Is the Federal Government going to grow,
or is your business going to grow? I want to let you know that I'm on your
side. Thank you for all that you have done to make
this point, a portrait of the President and Queen Elizabeth II on horseback
I can't tell you how happy I am. And yes, the Queen and I did go riding when we
were guests there at
therefore, she had to ride, leading them in parades and so forth as a princess.
And the man that was taking me through, that was in charge of the stables, was
telling me about her and how they trained her. They get all the household help
down there with towels and tin pans and so forth all around the riding hall.
And they would bring her in, and she would ride around that hall while they
made all the clatter and noise they could possibly make to distract the horse.
And she was ready for the first parade in
But, oh, I don't know whether to give that to the Presidential Library or not. [Laughter] I've already made up my mind. [Laughter] Thank you very much. Thank you all.
Note: The President
spoke at in Room 450 of the