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THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
(Providence, Rhode Island)
For Immediate Release July 28, 2000
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
ON GDP NUMBERS
Theodore Francis Green State Airport
Providence, Rhode Island
12:30 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Let me say, first of all, I'm delighted to be back in
Rhode Island with Senator Reid and Congressman Kennedy -- and Senator
Kennedy here showing good family support.
I have some good news to report. Today we learned that our economy
grew at a vigorous, 5.2 percent during the last quarter. This is a credit
to the hard work of the American people and further confirmation that we
are on the right economic path; with stronger and steadier growth than at
any time since the 1960s; with 22 million new jobs and the lowest
unemployment rate in over 30 years.
Growth over the past seven and a half years has now averaged 4
percent. That's the best growth rate America has had since the
Kennedy-Johnson years. Unemployment here in Rhode Island has been cut in
half since 1993, to 4 percent. The growth in the last quarter has been
driven by extraordinary levels of private sector investment and increased
productivity on the part of the American people. This has been the trend
now for seven years, thanks to the strategy of fiscal discipline and
investing in our people and our future we adopted back in 1993.
This good economic news is more proof that we should stay on the path
of fiscal discipline and not endanger our prosperity by passing one
expensive tax cut after another until, when totaled up, they would spend
every single dime of our projected surplus for a decade.
Already, the Republicans have passed tax cuts this year that would
drain a trillion dollars from the projected surplus. Now, they're going to
Philadelphia in support of tax cuts that would drain well over another
trillion dollars, over and above what they've already passed from the
Simple math says that one plus one equals two; and $2 trillion are too
many reckless tax cuts. It's too big and too irresponsible for our
economy. And I would remind the American people again: this is tax cuts
that are permanent against surpluses that are just projected.
I said yesterday and I'll say again: If you've got one of those
letters from Ed McMahon saying, you may have won $10 million, would you go
out and spend $10 million the next day? Well, if you would, you should
support their program. But if not, you ought to stick with what works.
So when you're listening to what they say in Philadelphia, ask
yourself and, more importantly, ask them: can we really afford $2 trillion
in risky tax cuts? Can we afford not to leave a single penny to strengthen
Medicare and Social Security against the day when the baby boomers retire?
Can we really afford not to save a penny for a Medicare prescription drug
Can we really afford to do nothing for education, for school
construction, and should we give up trying to get America out of debt by
2012? Can we really afford to go back to the bad old days of debt and
deficits and double-digit mortgage rates? There is a better way.
I have proposed and, indeed, all our candidates and our leaders in
Congress support affordable tax cuts, including carefully-targeted marriage
penalty relief, tax cuts for college tuition, for long-term care for the
elderly and disabled, for child care, to help ordinary working people save
for retirement; and tax cuts to spur investment in new school construction
and in underdeveloped areas of America.
The tax cuts we have proposed will give middle-class families
substantially more benefits than the Republican plan at less than 25
percent of the cost of their total tax cuts. Under our plan, we'll still
have the resources we need to provide a Medicare prescription drug benefit,
to lengthen the life of Social Security and Medicare, to pay for the baby
boomers retirement, and to get this country out of debt by 2012, so that we
can keep our economy going.
Our plan will keep interest rates at least 1 percent lower over the
next decade than their plan. Let me tell you what that's worth to ordinary
people. That's worth $250 billion in lower mortgage payments, $30 billion
in lower car payments, $15 billion in lower college loan payments. That's
a pretty good tax cut itself, over and above our direct proposal.
The strong economic news today is just the latest indication that
fiscal discipline has put America on the right track. And on my watch,
we'll stay on track.
The rest of the decision is up to the American people. But we will
not squander this surplus as long as I am here. We will not. Instead, we
should have the right kind of tax cuts to put our people and our children's
Thank you very much.
Q Mr. President, are you going to move the embassy to Jerusalem, or
take any other steps to reward the Israelis and punish the Palestinians
over Camp David?
THE PRESIDENT: First of all, I have nothing to add to what I said
yesterday. I think we released the transcript of my interview with Israeli
Television. We are working aggressively to get these talks back on track.
The two parties are meeting, as you know, and has been widely reported.
I meant what I said yesterday and I reaffirm it. I think what we
should all do is to recognize that Prime Minster Barak took some
far-reaching steps. The two parties discussed things they had never
discussed before. They came closer together than they had ever come
before. They still have a ways to go. And I think we need to support the
friends of peace and this process in every way that we can. That's what I
intend to do.
Q Mr. President, any comment on Chelsea taking a semester off?
THE PRESIDENT: No, she's actually -- Stanford is on the quarter
system, they do three quarters. So she doesn't have to take that much time
off. She's already got way more credits than she needs to graduate, and
she wants to be with her mother and me for these last few months of our
You know, she spent about -- well, now, more than a third of her life
in the White House, and she wants to have some more days there, she wants
to be able to help her mother. And she wants to be able to keep company
with her father, which is always a surprising thing when your children grow
up and they want to spend time with you. I think Hillary and I are
immensely gratified by that.
I hope that she enjoys her time here. And it's been a great comfort
to Hillary and me to have her around more. I just think it's just a family
decision that she wanted to make, and she can still graduate on time with
her class, and so I'm glad she's doing it.
END 12:38 P.M. EDT
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