October 12, 1984

The President. Thank you very much. And thank you, your good former Governor and my good friend, Jim Rhodes; the Members of the Congress that you have met already here -- and please, send them back in this election, we need them in Washington -- and all of you ladies and gentlemen.

It's great to be in Ohio again, and especially good to be in Dayton. I happen to like Ohio so much, that I decided to spend the day here. Now, as Jim told you and I'm sure you all know, we're about to embark on a train trip through your State. And of all the things we've done in this campaign, there's nothing I've looked forward to more.

We're taking the whistlestop tour of '84 to demonstrate that our government is once again on the right track, and our national renewal is not going to be derailed. I'll be traveling on the same train that Harry Truman used in the 1948 campaign. And all of us who remember what he said know that he spoke some very blunt truths, and that's what I hope to do today.

Sometime back I made a rather big statement. I said that this election is the most significant in half a century. And I said it because the issues of this campaign are so clear cut and the differences in philosophy and approach to government are so great, that this year America will either ratify the great turn that we made in 1980 or decide to go back to the old days and the old ways.

Well, in some ways I think we're like the pioneers who won the West -- we can stick together, stand together, and move on together, or we can retreat in small groups from the challenges of a great new world. I think we'll decide as the pioneers did.

You know, like the pioneers, we might remember for a few minutes the desert we had to go through to get here. We've come a long way in less than 4 years. And together, we've put all of that old tired talk about malaise and the age of limits behind us. We have, together, disproved two major myths, fairy tales, about America: that her best days were behind her and that the people were powerless to solve problems. Do you remember when they were telling us that and that we were going to have to get along with less? [Applause] Well, we have restored hope and confidence, faith and courage, and returned them as the birthright of every American.

In the economy, as you have been told, we reduced inflation by two-thirds, down to 4.2 percent for the last year. We got the prime interest rate -- which by 1980 was the highest since the Civil War -- we got that down by 40 percent. It's now down by 9 points. We cut unneeded Federal regulations, and this alone will save consumers and businesses about $150 billion over the next 10 years. Do you know that with a task force cutting back on regulations, we have eliminated your paperwork -- government-required paperwork -- by 300 million man-hours a year?

In education, we shifted the emphasis from how much government spends to how much students learn. And the result is a renewed commitment to excellence and scholastic aptitude test scores that are going up again for the first time in 20 years. In fact, this year they jumped 4 points, and that doesn't sound like much, but it is the biggest increase in 20 years.

Now, not everything is going up. We got tough on street crime and violent crime, and the crime rate has dropped for 2 years in a row. And it's the first time it's done that in a long time.

We've made America less dependent on foreign oil. We deregulated the oil prices. And, oh my, they said that gasoline would go to $2 a gallon. Well, gasoline prices are nearly a dime less than they were since we took office.

We saved the Social Security system from collapse while benefits continued to rise. And this is one -- let me just pause and say here -- this attack, so falsely based, that it's frightening so many senior citizens unnecessarily, I'm going to repeat what I said on a certain Sunday night recently. No one in our administration has any idea of pulling the rug out from under the people who are dependent on Social Security.

And there's one more item I'll mention. We cut tax rates by 25 percent for every taxpayer in the country. Now, I want to talk about that, about taxes, because taxation is an issue with profound economic consequences. We cut personal tax rates for every taxpayer in the country to stimulate economic growth and boost economic expansion. And to the surprise of some people, but not to us, it worked. With lower taxes, the economy created over 6 million jobs in the last 21 months alone. With lower taxes, nearly 900,000 businesses were incorporated in the 17-month period that ended in May of this year. Now, that's good for all of us. But it's especially good for those who, through no fault of their own, have been unemployed. You know, when you create just one job, when you release just one man or woman from the prison of unemployment, then you've changed their lives forever. And that's the moral element of taxation, letting the economy bloom so that the poor and the disadvantaged can have a chance.

Now, my opponent promises to raise your taxes. That's what he says. And believe me -- --

Audience. Boo-o-o!

The President. -- -- of all the promises he's made this year, that's the one he'd keep.

I believe that the American people will resoundingly reject his call for heavy new taxes, because, unlike him, they've learned from experience. They've learned that high tax rates discourage effort, investment, production, and enterprise. But low tax rates stimulate those things, and that creates jobs, and jobs are exactly what Ohio and every other State needs more of.

Now, let's talk about what the tax increases he'll need to pay for all his promises will do to you personally. If my opponent is to keep all the promises that he has made in this campaign -- and we've priced them out -- he would have to increase taxes by the equivalent of $1,890 per household. That's more than $150 a month for every household.

He started to expose more of his tax plans the other night. He said he would repeal indexing, which we passed to keep government from using inflation to force you into higher tax brackets. Now, that would mean an additional enormous tax increase. But now he's pulled back from that. He says he goofed the other night; he didn't mean to say that, according to him.

But even so, his increases wouldn't be just a hardship, they'd be like a second mortgage. But the Mondale mortgage is a mortgage on your future, to pay for his campaign promises. And let me tell you about that mortgage. The payments will get bigger and bigger and bigger. As he puts more heavy taxes on the people and on their businesses, the economy will slow down and slow down and slow down. And after that kills the recovery, he'll want to raise your taxes again and again to make up for it. Do you want to pay for his mistakes?

Audience. No!

The President. Well, my opponent says the deficit is the central issue; we say growth is the central issue. Now, he says higher taxes are the answer; we say higher taxes are the problem, because they kill growth, kill creativity, and kill productivity.

We want to simplify the entire tax system so we can bring yours and everybody's income tax rates further down, not up. And that's why this election is about the future, because it's about growth and opportunity for all Americans. We're talking about the kind of America we'll create for our children. And I think this is why -- this, being able to imagine a better future for our young people and work toward it -- that's why so many of the young people of the country support our philosophy, and I'm pleased to see so many of them here today.

Audience. 4 more years! 4 more years! 4 more years!

The President. Okay. All right. All right. All right, if anyone doubts the great renewal in this country, let them look at the bright and shining optimism of our young people -- our high school students, college students, and our young working people. They are a new nation unto themselves. And it seems to me that they understand and support our philosophy, because they are idealists.

They believe in people. They believe that people deserve a chance, and that they can create miracles when given a chance. I'll tell you, there have been moving moments and heartening moments in this campaign, but nothing, nothing that I've seen has surpassed seeing the young people of our country give us their support.

Audience. Reagan! Reagan! Reagan!

The President. Thank you very much. Thank you. And Bush.

I know that you don't want to go back to the tired old past, that time of timidity and taxes, that moment of misfortune and malaise, that ``Reign of Error.'' [Laughter]

Let's talk a little more about that reign, because our opponent's mistakes aren't limited to tax policy. Do you remember the grain embargo in which the American farmers paid for our opponent's foreign policy failures? [Applause] Now there's an example both of an unfair policy and of an artful attempt to get around it. My opponent says he always opposed it. Now that's funny, because in fact he supported it publicly, explicitly, and enthusiastically. He even questioned the patriotism of a Senator in his own party for calling it what it was -- a dumb idea. But it's funny that he's having this little memory lapse. [Laughter] As you know, the symbol of our party is an elephant, and elephants have long memories.

Your State, Ohio, would be helped by Federal enterprise zones in which the rundown parts of a city get special help from tax incentives aimed at getting business men and women in there to open shops and run companies. Dayton, itself, has two State enterprise zones. They were created just more than a year ago, and they've already attracted more than a dozen new businesses into the area. Now that, too, would create jobs and growth and economic revitalization for troubled areas. But the Federal enterprise zone bill has been held hostage by the liberal Democratic leadership in the House of Representatives, the same people who want to work with my opponent to raise your taxes.

So tell me, are you, the good people of the Buckeye State, going to vote for them?

Audience. No!

The President. Well, I think you've already answered my next question, which was, are you going to lend your support to the American opportunity team so that all of us together can build a better future for our children and for America? [Applause]

Well, it is the choice, your choice, and it's the clearest, most important choice in 50 years.

I think now I hear the train whistle. [Laughter] You know, that train is the old U.S. One. And as I said, Harry Truman spoke from the back of that train, and Franklin Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower also spoke from it. Well, I speak from it because we mean to continue their tradition of a strong and vital America, and I speak from it because I think all of us this year will stay together and move forward with the force of a locomotive. We're on the right track, America's best days are ahead, and nothing can stop us because this train is bound for glory.

You know, there is a mother out there with a tiny baby on her shoulders. And I can't help but say, seeing that baby, that's really -- there's another one! -- [laughter] -- that's what it's really all about, that those little babies when they begin to grow up will find the same golden-dream America that we found when we were babies and growing up in this country.

Thank you all. God bless you all. Thank you. Thank you all very much.

Note: The President spoke at 11:34 a.m. at the Old Montgomery Courthouse Mall. Following his remarks, the President went to Union Station, where he boarded the ``Heartland Special'' for a whistlestop tour of Ohio.