November 2, 1984
The President. Thank you all for that heartwarming reception -- and heartwarming can be used on this particular day.
Well, it's good to be back in the great State of Michigan, and it's great to be in the Tri-City area. You know, being a native midwesterner, I'm always happy when I come to this part of the country -- maybe because you make me feel at home.
But you in Michigan champion the bedrock values on which our country was built -- belief in God, love of family, neighborhood, and good, hard work. Here are steadiness of purpose and strength of patriotism. My opponent may take a negative view of America, but he'd better not try to peddle his doom and gloom in Michigan.
Let me just ask you a question. Do you believe America is better off than it was 4 years ago? [Applause] Well, then I know what the answer would be if I asked the next question: Do you believe America's greatest days are yet to come? [Applause]
Well, let me tell you, you have some outstanding candidates for the Congress who feel just the same way. Jack Lousma served with distinction as a colonel in the Marine Corps and as an astronaut. He piloted the space shuttle Columbia on one of its first flights. And today he is a candidate for the United States Senate. And he believes in keeping your taxes down, and I can guarantee you, his opponent, the present incumbent, does not believe in keeping your taxes down.
But Jack knows that this will create opportunity for all Americans, and he believes in keeping America strong to keep America free and at peace. I need Jack Lousma, Michigan needs Jack Lousma, and so does America need Jack Lousma.
Bill Schuette is running for the Congress, and I have to tell you he's one of the finest candidates I've ever known. Bill believes, with me, that we can save you billions of dollars by cutting government waste and fraud, and that's what is the principal difference between him and his opponent, the present incumbent.
And Bill Schuette, Jack Lousma, and congressional candidate John Heussner are all determined to help us keep your taxes down. So, if you don't mind, I'm going to ask a favor. If you plan to vote for our ticket, please vote for our entire ticket. Help spread the word, get out the vote, and do you mind if I say, ``Win 'em for the Gipper''?
You know, I remember that line that he spoke when he made that request, the Gipper, and he said, ``Wherever I am, I'll know about it, and it'll make me happy.'' But if you do, we'll keep building our new future of opportunities for America.
You know, Abe Lincoln said that we must disenthrall ourselves with the past -- and then we will save our country. And 4 years ago, that's what we did. We made a great turn, we got out from under the thrall of a government which we had hoped would make our lives better, but which wound up living our lives for us.
Four years ago we began to navigate by certain fixed principles. Freedom was our North Star, and common sense our constellations. We knew that economic freedom meant paying less of the American family's earnings to the Government, and so we cut personal tax rates by 25 percent across the board.
We knew that inflation, the quiet thief, that thief was stealing, along with record interest rates, stealing your future. We knew that our national military defense had been weakened, so we decided to rebuild and be strong again to be prepared for peace.
It was a second American revolution, and it's only just begun. But America is back, a giant on the scene, powerful in its renewed spirit, powerful in its growing economy, and powerful in its ability to defend itself and secure the peace. And do you know something? That's not debatable.
Yet 4 years after our efforts began, small voices in the night are sounding the call to go back, to go back to the days of drift, the days of torpor, timidity, and taxes.
My opponent's understanding of economics is well demonstrated by his predictions. Just before we took office, he said that our economic program was obviously, murderously inflationary. And just a short time later we brought inflation down from above 12 percent to around 4 percent. And just after our tax cuts, he said the most that he could see was an anemic recovery. And that was just before the United States' economy created 6 million new jobs in 21 months. My opponent said that decontrolling oil prices would cost you, the American consumers, $36 billion. Well, one of the first things we did was eliminate the control of oil prices, and the price of gasoline went down 8 cents a gallon.
I've got it figured out that all we have to do to get our economy in absolutely perfect shape is persuade him to predict absolute disaster. [Laughter]
He says he cares about the middle class, but he boasts, ``I have consistently supported legislation, time after time, which increases taxes on my own constituents.'' Doesn't that make you want to be one of his constituents again?
The President. He's no doubt proud of the fact that as a United States Senator he voted 16 times to raise your taxes.
The President. But this year he's outdone himself. He's already promised, of course, to raise your taxes. But if he's to keep all the promises that he's made, he will have to raise taxes the equivalent of $1,890 for every household in the United States.
The President. That's more than $150 a month. That's like having a second mortgage, a Mondale mortgage. [Laughter]
Now, he's got an economic plan, and it has two parts: one, raise taxes; two, raise them again. [Laughter] But I've got news for him: The American people don't want his tax increases, and he's not going to get his tax increases.
His tax plan would bring our recovery to a roaring stop. You know, if my opponent's campaign plan were a TV show, it would be ``Let's Make a Deal.'' [Laughter] You trade your prosperity for his surprise that's hidden behind the curtain. And if his program were a Broadway show, it would be ``Promises, Promises.'' [Laughter] And if it were a book, you'd have to read it from the back to the front to get a happy ending. [Laughter]
He sees a day in which every day is tax day, April 15th. Well, we see an America in which every day is Independence Day, the Fourth of July. We want to lower your taxes some more. We want to do it for everybody in this country so your families will be stronger, the economy will be stronger, and America will be stronger.
On another subject, I'm proud to say that during these last 4 years, not 1 inch of territory in the world has been lost to Communist aggression. And the United States is more secure than it was 4 years ago. But my opponent sees a different world. After the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, he said, ``It just baffles me why the Soviets these last few years have behaved as they have.'' But then, there's so much that baffles him. [Laughter]
One year ago we liberated Grenada from Communist thugs who had taken over that country. And my opponent called what we did a violation of international law that erodes our moral authority to criticize the Soviets.
The President. There is nothing immoral about rescuing American students whose lives were in danger.
But you know, let me try to put this all in perspective. The 1984 election isn't just a partisan contest. I was a Democrat once, and for a large part of my life. I'm sure there are many Democrats present; I hope so, because I know that all across this country are millions of patriotic Democrats who have found they can no longer follow the policies of the leadership of the Democratic Party today.
In those days when I was a Democrat, the leaders of the Democratic Party weren't members of that ``blame America first'' crowd. It's leaders were men like Harry Truman and, later, men like Senator Scoop Jackson and John F. Kennedy -- men who understood the challenges of the times. They didn't reserve all their indignation for America. They knew the difference between freedom and tyranny, and they stood up for one and damned the other.
To all the good Democrats who respect that tradition of their party, I say, ``You're not alone.'' We're asking you to come walk down the path of hope and opportunity with the rest of us, and in a bipartisan way -- a solid tradition of this country -- we'll keep America prosperous and free and at peace.
Last month an American woman walked in space -- Kathryn Sullivan made history. And then she returned to a shuttle, a space shuttle, in which some of the great scientific and medical advances of the future will be made. Cures for diabetes and heart disease may be possible up there -- indeed, I've seen evidence of that from some of the experiments conducted already. There will be advances in technology and communications.
But my opponent led the fight against the whole shuttle system. He called it a horrible waste. Well, we support the space shuttle, and we've committed America to meet a great challenge -- to build a permanently manned space station and to do it within a decade. What America needs is high tech, not high taxes.
Now, I've probably been going on too long here, but -- --
The President. Thank you.
But the point is, we were right when we made that great turn in 1980. We were right to take command of the ship, to stop its aimless drift, and to get moving again. And we were right when we stopped sending out S.O.S. and started saying U.S.A.!
Audience. U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.! Reagan! Reagan! Reagan!
The President. All right.
The United States of America was never meant to be a second-best nation. Like our Olympic athletes, this nation should set its sights on the stars and go for the gold.
You know, if America could bring down inflation from 12.4 percent to 4, as we did, then we can bring it down from 4 to 0.0, and we're going to do that. If lowering your tax rates led to the best expansion in 30 years, then we can lower them again and keep America growing right into the 21st century. If we could create those 6 million new jobs in 21 months, then we can make it possible for every American -- young and old, black or white -- who wants a job to find a job.
And if local governments around this country can establish enterprise zones to create economic growth, then we can elect people to the Congress who will free our national enterprise zones bill. This is a bill to go into the distressed areas of some of our rural areas and our major city areas and, through tax incentives, establish industry and work there that will give jobs to people that presently don't have them. Well, that bill has been buried in a committee of the Congress for more than 2 years now. And if we get the right people back there in the Congress, they will break it out, and we'll have this bill that will mean hope for millions in the most distressed areas of America.
We're leading a revolution in technology and pushing back the frontiers of space. And if we give American workers the tools they need in industries, old and new, then I think that American workers with the proper tools can outcompete, outsell, outproduce anyone, anytime, anywhere in the world.
Our drive in this last year and a half or so to restore excellence in education has reversed a 20-year decline in the scholastic aptitude test scores. And we're going to keep raising those scores and restore American academic excellence second to none.
Our crackdown on crime produced the sharpest drop ever in the crime index. And we're going to keep cracking down until your families and friends can walk on the streets at night without being afraid.
We've reversed the decline in our military defenses and restored respect for America. And we're going to keep this nation strong to protect freedom and peace for us, for our children, and for our children's children. And if we make sure that America remains strong and prepared for peace, then we can begin to reduce nuclear weapons and one day banish them entirely from the face of the Earth.
And as we strengthen our economy, strengthen our security, and strengthen the values that bind us, America will become a nation even greater in art and learning and greater in the love and worship of the God that made us and that has blessed us more than any other people on this Earth have ever been blessed.
Now, I ran out of time a couple of weeks ago on the debate, and I didn't get to finish something I started to say there. Well, I'm going to say it now. And it's to the young people of our country who are here with us today. You, you are what this election is all about -- you and your future.
I have been seeing these young people all across the country -- on campuses, in schools, in rallies of this kind. And I have to tell you, this generation of young people really sparkles. Your idealism, your love of country are unsurpassed. And I want to tell you that my generation and a few generations between mine and yours -- [laughter] -- we have a sacred trust. And that is, when the time comes to turn over the reins to you, you young people out there, we're going to turn over to you an America that is every bit as full of opportunity, hope, confidence, and dreams as it was when we were your age and growing up in America.
Audience. Reagan! Reagan! Reagan!
The President. All right. Thank you. Thank you.
And the line I was going to finish with 2 weeks ago on that debate was: We're going to turn over to you an America that is free in a world that is at peace.
Audience. 4 more years! 4 more years! 4 more years!
The President. Well, if you insist, okay. All right.
America will never go back, never. We were born to be a special place between the two great oceans with a unique mission to carry freedom's torch. To a tired, disillusioned world we've always been a light of hope where all things are possible. And throughout my life I've seen America do the impossible.
We survived a Great Depression that toppled governments in many parts of the world. We came back from Pearl Harbor to win the greatest military victory in world history. And in a single lifetime -- in my lifetime -- we have gone from the horse and buggy to landing astronauts on the Moon.
We Americans have fought harder, paid a higher price, done more to advance the freedom and dignity of man, than any other people who ever lived on this Earth.
Ours is the land of the free because it is the home of the brave. Our future will always be great because our nation will be strong. Our nation will be strong because we're free. And our people will be free because we're united -- one people, under God, with liberty and justice for all.
I am deeply honored that you've let me serve you for these past 4 years. Much remains to be done. We must continue to build upon the new beginning that we started 4 years ago. So I've come here today to ask for your support and for your vote.
But now, I've gotten a little frightened reading the polls, and I'll tell you why. I have a terrible feeling that some may decide their votes aren't needed. Well, come Tuesday, every vote is needed. I have it directly from President Dewey: Go to the polls, vote. And I'll tell you, if you're going to vote for me, as you've just indicated, don't send me back there alone. Send these candidates back there with me to help do the job.
America's best days are yet to come. And I know it bothers my opponent very much, but I'm going to say it anyway: You ain't seen nothin' yet.
Thank you. God bless you all. Thank you very much.
Note: The President spoke at 10:23 a.m. in Hangar 5 at the Tri-City Airport.
Following his remarks, the President traveled to Cleveland, OH.