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January 19, 1999
PRESIDENT CLINTON: 1999 STATE OF THE UNION MEETING THE CHALLENGES OF THE 21ST CENTURY
Moving Forward To Do The People's Business: An Active Agenda. This is a broad and innovative agenda that will keep America strong, prosperous, and growing in the new century. It reflects the President's commitment to a government that is fiscally responsible, modern and progressive; a government that is dedicated to giving people the tools they need to make the most of their own lives and to the values of opportunity, responsibility and community. Although the President is in his seventh year, his agenda is full of forward-looking policy, as if it were his first year. Building on a Foundation of Accomplishment. Thanks to the policies of the Clinton-Gore Administration and the hard work of the American people, the last six years have been a time of great progress:
The economy is strong, with the longest peacetime economic expansion in history, nearly 18 million new jobs, the lowest peacetime unemployment rate in four decades, and home ownership at an all time high;
We have gone from annual budget deficits of $290 billion to a surplus of at least $76 billion saved this year, and are on a course for surpluses for the next 25 years;
Welfare rolls have been cut nearly in half, the violent crime rate is at its lowest level in 25 years and pollution has been reduced while the economy has boomed.
Meeting the Challenges of the 21st Century. As the President will say, this is a record not to rest on, but to build upon. This is the last State of the Union address of the 20th century and accordingly, it will seek to meet the great challenges that face us as we enter the 21st century. The President's program will:
Address the Challenge of a Senior Boom -- by using the budget surplus to help save Social Security, strengthen Medicare, and enable Americans to increase their retirement savings, and by supporting families that provide long term care for their loved ones.
Call for Improving and Modernizing our Schools -- by adding new initiatives to raise standards and increase accountability in public schools through proposals to end social promotion, bring high quality teachers into the classroom, intervene in failing schools, provide school report cards to parents, strengthen our commitment to smaller class sizes and boost our efforts for school modernization.
Expand Our Prosperity to Every Corner of America -- by targeting some of the greatest untapped urban, rural and farm markets with new programs that will encourage private sector capital and bring jobs and economic development to those areas so that no one is left behind.
Strengthen Our Families and Communities -- by raising the minimum wage, expanding child care tax credits, expanding the Family and Medical Leave Act, and helping families meet their responsibilities at home and work.
Expand Access to Quality Health Care -- by strengthening and preserving Medicare, supporting families with long term care needs, and passing a strong, enforceable Patients Bill of Rights.
Make Our Communities Safer and More Livable -- by putting between 30,000 and 50,000 more police on the street equipped with the latest technology and providing assistance to communities to save open spaces and reduce traffic congestion.
Keep America a Leader Abroad -- by increasing funds for military readiness so that America's Armed Forces can maintain peace and fight terrorism and by reducing the spread and threat of nuclear weapons.
Maintain American Leadership in the Global Economy -- by building a global financial system to deal with regional crises, expanding exports and support for American manufacturing, and lifting labor standards around the world.