Remarks at a Fundraising Reception for Senator William V. Roth, Jr., of Delaware

 

August 1, 1988

 

Thank you, and thank you, Bill, for that most generous and kind introduction. That's the fine thing about this job -- people start talking that way about you, and all you can do is sit there and modestly take it. [Laughter] But thank you all, and let me say a special thank you to Delaware's national committeewoman, Priscilla Rakestraw, and the finance chairman for Bill's campaign, Dick Collins.

 

We're here tonight not just to hear about a friend of his State and of his nation but to help make sure that one of the most visionary and effective men to serve in this century is returned to the United States Senate in November. And I'll bet you know I'm talking about Senator Bill Roth.

 

You know, when I think of what having Bill Roth in the Senate has meant to the country, when I think of the landmark legislation he's sponsored and the way that that legislation has changed not only our nation but the entire world, it reminds me of something a great Hollywood producer, Sam Goldwyn, one of the founders of MGM, once said when he got worked up about a script. Sam Goldwyn had a way with words. He said, ``That story is wonderful. It's magnificent. It's prolific.'' [Laughter] Well, yes, wonderful, magnificent, prolific describe the career and contributions to America of Bill Roth. For 22 years, he has served in Congress -- 18 of those years in the Senate. How has he changed America? Let me count the ways.

 

Bill has been a leader in uncovering government waste. He was a strong supporter of the Grace commission [President's Private Sector Survey on Cost Control in the Federal Government] and has pushed for implementation of the commission's recommendations -- recommendations that went department by department throughout the entire Government. And out of 2,160 recommendations, we have, to date, implemented 1,426, or 66 percent of them. And we estimate that this year alone we have saved about $41 billion. Bill Roth deserves a lot of credit for these achievements.

 

In another area, the environment, last week the news magazines finally caught up with Bill. Both Time and Newsweek ran stories on ocean dumping. Well, for years Bill has been working to stop ocean dumping and the burning of toxic waste off the Delaware coast.

 

Some candidates talk about family and traditional values. Bill works to foster and protect them. He led the fight to save IRA's and to encourage their use for college education. He's among the Senate's leaders in the fight against child pornography. And he helped persuade the Motion Picture Association to tighten the rating guidelines for movies that portray drug use.

 

Finally, of course, without Bill Roth's help, would there or could there have been the Roth-Kemp tax cut? That tax cut ushered in the longest peacetime economic expansion on record. Since our expansion began, America has created more than 17 million new jobs, and the real income of the typical American family has grown by more than 10 percent, compared to a 3-percent drop during the previous administration. Some predicted that Roth-Kemp would launch a new round of inflation. Instead, inflation today is a third of what it was the day we took office. Others said it would take from the poor and give to the rich. Yet today Americans with the most income pay more of our total income taxes than before Roth-Kemp and our subsequent tax reform bill, while millions of the poorest now pay no Federal income tax at all.

 

Let me give you an idea of what rising incomes and lower inflation, together with the lower interest rates that have come with low inflation, have meant to American families. According to the National Association of Realtors, in the year we took office the average American family made only 74 percent of the income it needed to buy a home. For many families, particularly new families, affordable housing was quickly becoming a memory of the past. Today the average family makes 114 percent of what it needs to buy a home. The American dream of owning a home is in reach of American families once again.

 

Yes, America is in a new era of opportunity. Some have called it the Reagan era, but I could as easily call it the Roth era because Bill Roth is one of those we can thank for more people being at work this year than at any time in the history of the United States of America.

 

I have to add something here. I was surprised myself -- I didn't know too much about the statisticians -- as to what they considered the potential employment pool in America. It is everybody, male and female, from the age of 16 and up -- all the way up. Today the greatest percentage of that pool is employed -- 62.6 percent -- than ever in the history of our country before.

 

A certain candidate recently said that if he has his way next January the Reagan era will be over. Does he want to end the era of lower tax rates and higher real income for families, record numbers of jobs, low inflation and interest rates, steady growth, and respect -- not just lipservice -- to families? The American people may have a thing or two to say about that.

 

That same candidate claims that he has balanced 10 budgets in a row. But as one newspaper wrote recently, his budget is ``not balanced in any recognizable sense of the word. His budget includes almost a half a billion dollars of new borrowing, drawing reserves and tapping pension funds, and the kind of creative accounting that nearly sent New York City to the poorhouse just a few years ago. No wonder his Lieutenant Governor slipped out of Atlanta before the acceptance speech, telling reporters, ``I need to get back into the State'' -- Massachusetts -- ``and start picking up the pieces.''

 

America this year has come to a divide in the road. Take one fork and we continue in the direction that Bill Roth has helped chart. Take the other and in 4 years all of us may be picking up the pieces. Today America has peace and prosperity, growth and opportunity. We can reelect them or turn to the liberal alternative. It's no secret which way I want to go: Come January, I want Bill Roth in the Senate and George Bush in the White House.

 

And this brings me to a pivotal point. Electing a new President is only half of deciding which way America will go. The other half is electing a new Congress. None of what Bill and I have accomplished the last 8 years could have been achieved had we not had a Republican Senate for 6 of those years. So, I hope you'll not only help Bill return to the Senate but help him get a little more company there as well. Think of it as an Inauguration Day present for President Bush.

 

Each of us can contribute to Bill's campaign in his or her way. The foundation of a successful campaign is hard work and the dedication of loyal supporters, like Priscilla and Dick and every one of you here. Yes, if anyone in America has loyal supporters, it's Bill Roth, and he deserves your support.

 

For all you're doing for him and for our beloved nation, thank you, and God bless you all.

 

Note: The President spoke at 5:52 p.m. in the atrium at the National Building Museum.