October 10, 1984

The President. It's great to be here at -- [applause] -- thank you. It's great to be here at Macomb Community College. We were looking for a good place to speak to the people of Warren, and I said Macomb was my first choice. It's wonderful to be back in Michigan, and I can say that because I was here just 10 days ago. I've been here four times since I've been President, and always for the same reason: I love your State.

Now, there are some cynics who think that I've come here because it's an election year.

Audience. No!

The President. This is such an obvious falsehood. I'm here on this lovely October afternoon to watch the leaves fall, to admire the way the crisp autumn sun hits the sparkling surface of Lake St. Clair. And now, of course, you know, if by chance we should pick up a few votes while we're here, well -- --

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

The President. All right. Okay. All right.

I love your Michigan spirit. I'm inspired by it. And I am impressed by your Michigan football, and believe me, I speak from experience, because some years ago I was a sports announcer. I was broadcasting, as a matter of fact, an Iowa-Michigan game here in Michigan, and down on the field one of the fellows in the line for Michigan -- his name was, I think, was Jerry Ford.

But I understand that you play a little baseball, too. Now, you know that because in this job I'm supposed to be President of all the people, I can't take sides on the Tigers-Padres issue. But just a little while ago, over at St. Agatha's High School, I promised the students there that -- well, I told them I might try praying for one and cheering for the other, and, no, that wouldn't work, so I think my prayer'll just be, ``Bless you, boys.''

I expect an exciting contest, but then that's kind of what October's all about this year. But there are many things to talk about this October. On the way here, I was thinking of how to sum up 3\1/2\ years of effort by the American people to turn our economy and our nation around, how to sum up your success. And it seems to me that the past 3\1/2\ years have been an historic time in our country, a time of great renewal. Our nation has hope again, opportunity abounds, the American dream is reborn. And this is what I would call the overview. But would you like the facts to back it up? [Applause]

Well, we're enjoying the strongest economic expansion in 30 years. We've created more than 6 million new jobs in the last 22 months. And 600,000 new businesses were incorporated last year alone. And here in your State, in Michigan, brave technologies for men and women are putting forward advanced technologies, modernizing our world and our older industries, working to create new hopes, new jobs, and new dreams. And with labor and management pulling together with renewed confidence and spirit, our competitors are about to learn that once Americans put our minds to it, once we're provided the proper tools and equipment, we can outproduce, out compete, and outsell anybody, anytime, anywhere in the world.

Now, none of this great national renewal happened by accident. It wasn't a matter of chance. Our renewal was the result of a policy aimed at lightening the tax burden on the American people. That's what helped get our economy moving again. And we intend to simplify the tax system so that we can push income tax rates further down, not up, and keep the expansion going.

Now, my opponent has another plan. He says he'll raise your taxes.

Audience. Boo-o-o!

The President. By 1989 he says that his tax would amount to $85 billion more per year.

Audience. Boo-o-o!

The President. Now, it's tempting to figure, when you hear that, that it's the other fellow's taxes that'll be raised. But let me tell you, they've been getting away with that for years. It's yours that will be raised.

We've already said that if my opponent is to keep all the promises that he's made, he would have to increase taxes by the equivalent of $1,890 per household.

Audience. Boo-o-o!

The President. Now, the red ink was barely dry on his massive $85 billion tax increase proposal before he revealed that part of his plan was for a second round of new tax increases. And these plans would leave a bottomless hole in the pockets of every working man and woman in this country.

On Sunday night, my opponent admitted that once his first huge tax hike was approved, that he would go for still more tax increases. And let me quote him. He said, "As soon as we get the economy on a sound ground as well, I would like to see the total repeal of indexing.''

Audience. Boo-o-o!

The President. Now, I think you understand that indexing is the reform that we passed to protect you from the cruelest tax -- the hidden tax caused by government using inflation to force you into higher and higher tax brackets. As you get a cost-of-living increase you move up. You're not any better off, you just kept pace with inflation. But suddenly you're in a higher percentage of tax bracket.

Now, that is scheduled by our tax program to go into effect on January 1st. That's when it begins. But Sunday, he said that he would repeal that protection. In fact, he said it before. But today, I gather that he says now, as of this morning, that he didn't mean that. Well, it's no wonder he thinks he goofed. The price of repealing index would be enormous. For a family earning $30,000, it would mean over $500 more in taxes per year by 1989. For a family earning 40,000, it'd be over $850 more.

And, now, you may not like the sound of that. But wait, it gets worse. The greatest hardship in his repeal of indexing would fall on those who can least afford it: everybody below the $25,000 earning line, everybody. The people that he claimed he would protect -- the heaviest proportional burden falls on those least able to pay. In fact, it gets so bad as you go down the line that people earning $10,000 or less would have to pay about $200 a year more in taxes.

Well, it's nice that my opponent was willing to explain his two-part tax plan: raise taxes and raise them again. But it's the height of unfairness to make hard-working people pay even more taxes just to finance excessive campaign promises.

Now, believe me, this is one issue that affects every family in Michigan, every family in this country. One way or another my opponent's tax increases would not only stop the economy dead in its tracks; they would put a new and ever-increasing burden on you and your neighbors and your children. And he would turn us back to the old days where the politicians dance and you pay the piper.

The last thing we need now is a return to the policies of tax and tax and spend and spend. Those policies stifled creativity and growth. What we do need is a tax policy that offers incentives for people to work, save, and invest -- all the things that'll keep the economy growing.

You know, it's hard sometimes to put recent events in historical perspective. We get caught up in everyday things. Sometimes we forget that we're part of a long continuum that stretches back two centuries to a little gathering in Philadelphia.

And those who gathered there envisioned and created a totally new thing in history: a splendid union of States headed by a Federal Government whose members would be elected by the people and who would serve at the sufferance of the people. It was made clear from the beginning that the citizenry would allow the government certain rights -- rights would not flow from the government to the people; it would be the other way around.

All over the world there are constitutions. And most of them promise a lot of the same things that ours guarantees. But there's one difference so fundamental that is tells the whole story. All those other constitutions say, ``We, the government, allow you, the people, to do the following things.'' Ours says, ``We, the people, allow you, the government, to do the following things.''

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

The President. All right.

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

The President. All right. Thank you. That thing about we the people -- that was changed a bit. And some decided that it was the state from which all blessings flow. So, we started some years ago to send more money and more power to the Federal Government in the hopes that it would give us better lives. But by the 1970's, it was clear that we had created chaos, disorder in the economy, wild inflation, government programs that tore up the fabric of the family and trampled on tradition.

Now, not all of what government has done has been bad. But in recent years, much of it was. And the worse things got, the more the Government took to blaming it on the people. Do you remember a few years ago, where they said the fault was ours? We had a malaise -- that we were never going to have things as good again, and we might as well get used to it.

Well, in 1980 the American people declared their independence once again. We recognized, once and for all, that a government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take away everything you've got. And we recognize that after all this time, Henry David Thoreau was right: that government is best which governs least.

Now, we need government, of course. But when you go from government to big government -- to government as the neighborhood bully -- it's time for a change, and change we made. We started putting our house in order. When we cut tax rates 25 percent, we said, Washington, you've had enough. And when we cut inflation by two-thirds, we said, Economic chaos, your time is past. And we didn't do this for some of the people -- we didn't do it especially for blacks or whites, or men and women, or old and young; we did it together, and we did it for everybody.

Now, the other side thinks of America as little more than a collection of special interest groups competing against each other, but they ought to wake up to what a united America accomplished while they were busy trying to manipulate this group and that.

I believe that we have returned to a proper understanding of who the American people are. We're the people who crossed the plains, scaled the mountains, won the West. We're the people who came up with the inventions that lit the world and filled it with sound and laughter. We're the people who twice in this century have fought in Europe and stood up for decency for all mankind. We're a people, in short, who don't need the supervision of government sophisticates to tell us what is right and good.

In the past few weeks, I've gone throughout this country, and I've talked to Americans, and I've taken questions from them. And one of the things that I've tried to talk about is how the revolution of 1980 is open to and eager for the help of the rank-and-file members of the Democratic Party. I hope that there are many present here today -- I was one myself once. And whenever I talk about Franklin Delano Roosevelt or Harry Truman or John F. Kennedy, my opponents start tearing their hair out. They just can't stand it. Well, of course they can't, because it highlights how far they, the leadership today of the Democratic Party, has strayed from the strength of the democratic political tradition.

The good and decent Democrats of the rank and file, patriotic Democrats by the millions, they haven't changed. Like their former leaders, they're clear-eyed about the world. They have few illusions, and they consider themselves to be Americans first, and not members of a special interest group.

When John Kennedy was President, he didn't push a program of dreary mediocrity with endless tax increases on those who dream of better days. He challenged Americans, just as we're challenging you today, to make America grow and to make America great by pushing for lower personal income tax rates for all the working people of America. And there was a great similarity between his tax cut program and the one that we implemented in 1981.

But the leaders of the present Democratic Party, as I've said, have gone so far left, they've left the mainstream. They no longer stand for what their great party always stood for. And that's a sad change; and I don't welcome it, because it's not good for this country. We see things as they are, and that's why I ask Democrats to listen to us, to give us a chance, to consider whether or not we don't, in fact, stand for the justice and decency that you've always cared about. We welcome you. You're not without a home. We're building a new grassroots opportunity party. We need your new blood, your ideas, your enthusiasm, and your energy.

Finally, I want to talk about the bright future I anticipate if we continue on the path that we've begun. We're going to continue to force personal income tax rates down, not up. We're going to continue curbing government's appetite. And that's going to keep the economy blooming. It is going to continue to grow. It's going to create millions of more jobs and new worlds of opportunity for all of us -- all of us together. And with that new economic freedom, we'll have more time and more opportunity to explore the things of the soul. We'll be a nation even greater in art and learning and scientific inquiry; a nation great in observance and worship and love for the God who made us.

I'm talking about a future of flowering possibilities, a future that is safe, secure, and stable. That's the world that I envision. And I hope that you'll join me as we create that future together. [Applause] I knew you would. You are, after all, the new revolution. And you're leading the way, as you always have.

And may I add something here?

Audience member. We love you, President Reagan!

The President. Thank you very much, but I'll tell you, if you do love me -- [applause] -- I can tell you right now -- [applause]. Let me tell you -- --

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

The President. All right. Let me tell you something right now. We couldn't have done the things that we've done if we hadn't had a majority in the United States Senate. And we need the help of Jack Lousma, who was a great astronaut, who will make a great U.S. Senator.

There you are. There he is.

Let me just add one thing here. One of the reasons that I wanted to be on a campus -- because I figured that there might, as a result, be a lot of young people present, and there are. You're what this election and this campaign are all about.

Those people, a few years ago, were telling you to lower your expectations and hopes and be prepared for something that was kind of mundane and no longer like the America that you've heard about from your parents and grandparents in the past. Let me tell you something. No, our duty -- when I say, ``our,'' I mean people of my age and some younger -- our duty is to make sure, and we're going to, that you have the same America of opportunity and hope and dreams and future that we had when we were your age.

So, thank you. Thank you.

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

The President. Thank you very much. Thank you also for your time this afternoon, for your support, for your commitment, and for your faith that America's best days are still to come. And God bless you all.

Note: The President spoke at 2:25 p.m. in the fieldhouse at Macomb Community College. Following his remarks, the President returned to Washington, DC.