October 28, 1982
The President. Senator Wallop, Senator Simpson, Congressman Cheney, ladies and gentlemen, our candidate for Governor, the other candidates who are here on the platform for your statewide races: It's great to be back here in Wyoming, back where your farmers and ranchers and workers and small business people dream big and toil hard to make dreams come true.
Audience member. Glad to have you, Ron!
The President. Thank you. You all live in a world that Washington will never quite understand -- the real world.
I'm pleased to be here and to speak on behalf of people I very much admire. The first, of course, is the man who went to Washington as your Senator, but I can tell you he left his heart in Wyoming -- Malcolm Wallop. He shares your values, and he's always on the job, using his experience to help and protect the people of this great State. As chairman of the Subcommittee on Public Lands and Reserved Water, he shepherds legislation crucial to your State.
Leadership, hard work, experience, loyalty to Wyoming -- that's what Malcolm Wallop is all about. But he has something else that's mighty important -- honesty and honor. Malcolm Wallop is the ``real McCoy,'' because he sticks to his word, and he sticks by you, the people of Wyoming. And, you know, that's very important, because many of us have tended to forget that in the beginning of our country, the two Senators from each State were sent there by the State to be a body representing the States, the sovereign States, keeping alive the idea that this nation is a federation of sovereign States, not 50 administrative districts of the Federal Government. Whether it be working for prosperity and peace -- the peace we all want for our children, for these young people who are here today, or protecting the pensions of senior citizens, who've already given so much, Malcolm Wallop has a solid record of keeping faith.
And, you know, having mentioned those senior citizens, I can predict that in these last few days of the campaign nationwide, our opponents are going to broadcast widely one of the most dishonest canards that has ever been fostered in a political campaign. They are going to tell you that we -- and I really include myself, because I'm kind of a target of that -- that we are some way out -- some way we're on our way to changing or reducing or doing away with social security. And let me tell you that is what I said before -- a falsehood.
I pledged during the campaign, when we were aware that social security has some fiscal problems that must be resolved to keep the program's integrity, those problems must be solved, but not at the expense of taking anything away from the people who are presently dependent on their social security checks. So, in the next few days when you hear that other side saying those things, just hold your nose and smile -- [laughter] -- because you now have the truth.
Well, with your continued support on November 2d, Malcolm Wallop will remain right where he belongs, doing a great job as your Senator.
And let me say, too, how much I value the strong, loyal support of your outstanding Congressman -- Dick Cheney. Dick's leadership as chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee is remarkable for someone who was just first elected 4 years ago. We need his strong leadership back in the House in Washington.
And I know that your former statehouse speaker, Warren Morton of Casper, is a man of great experience, and he would make a fine Governor. And I'm an ex-Governor saying that. He will bring to Wyoming the same responsible principles of government that we're trying so hard to bring to Washington. So, please promise me something: Go out from here; mobilize an army of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents; and get your great statewide candidates elected next Tuesday, November 2d.
With your support, and the leadership of Malcolm Wallop, Alan Simpson, and Dick Cheney, we're changing the direction of America; we're putting her back on the course of hope that was charted by the Founding Fathers. We've begun to handcuff the big spenders, get the Federal Government off your backs, promote economic recovery, and put you, the people, back in charge of your country again. For too long the Federal Government has been violating the Constitution in its usurpation of the rights that belong to the States, the local communities, and to the individual people in this country.
But now our critics are determined to beat the drums of doom and gloom. They say the economy is on its knees. Well, you know, if the economy is on its knees, that's quite an improvement, because 2 years ago it was flat on its back.
The truth is, thanks to your courage, your patience, and your support, we've already accomplished a minor miracle: We've pulled America back from the edge of disaster. Of the five worst economic problems that we inherited -- runaway spending, runaway taxing, double-digit inflation, record interest rates, and high unemployment -- we have already made solid progress on four of them, and that's not a bad beginning.
First, we cut that bankrupt government spending growth by nearly two-thirds. Second, we passed the first real tax cut for all American taxpayers in nearly 20 years.
You know, so many of those people who constantly beat their breasts about fairness are the same ones who raised taxes during the 1970's to unbearable levels on hard-working American families. In 1977, they passed the biggest single tax increase in our history, and it still has further installments of increase built into the law that will go into effect between now and 1990, the payroll tax. And then when we arrived in 1981, they tried to stop us from giving any tax cut at all.
And now that we've got some of it, they're aiming and they've made public that it is their intention to repeal that third-year tax cut, the 10-percent income tax cut that is due next July -- and the indexing, which keeps you from being pushed into a higher tax bracket when you get a cost-of-living pay raise.
You know, inflation has not been an accident. It's a tax by which government, without having to bear the onus of passing a tax bill, can get more money out of your pockets through that thing called bracket creep. So, their idea of fairness means the average family of four, if they have their way, would lose more than $2,500 in tax benefits over the next 5 years.
It's about time the people who blow so much smoke about compassion start showing some real compassion for people like you who pay the country's bills. Well, I know and I cannot only speak for myself but for these gentlemen here on the platform, and that is, we're going to protect that tax cut, and you're going to continue to get the other installments that are still due.
Just consider one of the features of that tax cut which Malcolm and Alan and Dick worked so hard to get. It contains a major benefit for you: family farmers, for ranchers, for family-owned businesses. We're raising the estate tax exemption to $600,000. Of even greater help, there will no longer be any estate tax for a surviving spouse.
Now, some say when you talk about fixing the estate tax, you're talking about very rich people. No, you're not. You're talking about the corner grocer. You're talking about the farmer. You're talking about the people who, because of inflation having increased the value of the property, find that, if there is death in the family, the widow and the children who might remain no longer have that source of support because it has to be sold to pay the government's tax on death. Well, that's not going to happen anymore.
And third, we're trying to lighten the load on your family budget by beating down double-digit inflation. It hit 18 percent in January of 1980. We're doing a little better. As a matter of fact, we're doing a lot better. Inflation is all the way down to 4.8 percent in 1982. And, you know, I could have said it's back down to 4.8 percent, because the last time it was 4.8 percent was when the last Republican President, Jerry Ford, left office. And we're not finished yet. We're going to bring it down even lower. 1982 could go down in history as the best performance against inflation in the last 10 years.
Fourth, our dramatic progress against inflation has enabled us to knock down that 21\1/2\-percent prime interest rate that we inherited by nearly 50 percent. It's now down to between 11\1/2\ and 12. I say that because it's 11\1/2\ in some banks, 11\3/4\ in others, and 12 in the rest. And that's going to come down more.
So, that's four out of five, and that leaves us with unemployment, which remains far too high. But just as surely as single-digit inflation started the interest rates tumbling, getting these interest rates down will drive unemployment back down to single digits, too. And then, we'll have delivered a knockout blow to the recession once and for all.
And I say ``once and for all,'' because it won't be like those seven previous recessions that we've had since World War II, when our opponents had controlled the Congress for 26 straight years, and every time there was a recession they applied the gimmick of big government spending, bigger deficits, and the quick fix. And all it led to was a little temporary boost, and then 2 years later we were right back in another recession.
Just this week, the National Association of Realtors came to Washington to report to me a surge of homebuying in early October that was far above the average for this time of year. That surge of buying means that housing is becoming affordable for more Americans again, and this will mean more jobs. Unlike some before us, this administration intends to get the job done but to get it done right for a change.
Now, I hear those who say that we haven't done enough. But, you know, there's a kind of a little inconsistency, a double standard there. They won't accept responsibility for what they did in the 25-plus years they controlled the Congress, but they demand that we take full responsibility for not producing a miracle in less than 25 months.
Well, the truth is, our opponents sometimes sound to me, particularly in this election year, as if they don't really want a recovery. Their only concern is a political victory. Well, we didn't create the grain embargo. We didn't create double-digit inflation. We didn't create the 21\1/2\-percent interest rates which caused so much misery on Main Street and the farm; we ended them. And while not every statistic is strong yet, the trend is unmistakable. Real wages are up; real retail sales are up; housing starts and permits are up; the value of the dollar is up; productivity is up; research and development spending is up; venture capital in small business is near a record. And while there's been a lot of talk about the bankruptcies which the high interest rate has brought on -- and it did -- there is now a figure of business starts -- new businesses coming on line, that is virtually a record in our history.
Personal savings rates are at a 6-year high. New IRA accounts are pumping 30 to 35 billion into savings and investment for more jobs, and the stock and bond market is sharply higher. Tell me: Does all of this sound like an economy that's getting weaker or getting stronger? Confidence is being restored. You and your children can look to the future with hope again. And that's good news for America, and it's the thing that our opponents are not talking about.
Don't let the doomcriers and the scaremongers frighten our citizens and subvert recovery. All they offer is a return to their failed policies of the past: more big spending, more big taxing, more regulations, more meddling, and more make-work -- more big government coming through the windows, underneath the door, and down the chimney. And that's an alternative we don't need. If they can't encourage, if they can't work with the rest of us, then let them get out of the way, because we're going to do it.
Next Tuesday, you and millions of Americans will have a moment to spend in a voting booth, the place where you have as much influence and power as any other American. As all of you prepare for that moment, I urge you to consider some very important questions. Ask yourselves: Will we create more jobs by returning to the policies that sent interest rates up to 21\1/2\? Will we create more jobs by returning to the policies that gave us back-to-back double-digit inflation for 2 years? Will we create more jobs by going back to the policies that taxed working families like millionaires? Or is there a better way?
Well, the program all of us worked so hard to pass, the program that is still so young but that has already brought down the spending growth, the tax rates, the inflation, and the interest rates -- does that program deserve a little more time to fix the one remaining problem, unemployment, so we can put people back on the job and get this country back on its feet again? [Applause]
You know, another thing you're hearing in this election year is that, well, we've had our program, gave it a try, and it didn't work. Well, my friends, yes, we've been there 21 months, but the program didn't start going into effect until 13 months ago. And there are still further installments of it to come next year, as I told you. I urge you, when you vote next Tuesday, vote for your hopes, not your fears. Vote for your children's future, not for the return of a failed past. Vote for the real hope of Wyoming: Malcolm Wallop, Dick Cheney, Warren Morton, and your statewide candidates.
There's a passage in the Psalms which says, ``Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.'' Well, America's endured a long and terrible night of economic hardship. But now we're entering a new season of hope -- genuine hope which springs from the vitality of the American spirit.
Before I go, I'd like to read you just some lines from a letter I received from a Wyoming mother not too many miles from here. Her son had written an essay, ``What America Means to Me.'' And in the essay the young man said, ``I'm glad that I'm a citizen of the United States. I should help this country in any way I can. I think America is the best country in the world to live in; America has very good standards so that you and I can live in peace.'' Those are only a few of the lines the young man wrote. But I think we all get the general idea of his essay.
Well, with your continued help, with your determination, and with the mighty force of your prayers, I know that we can live up to those standards. And I know, too, that a great new season of hope will bring the better world that we owe to our children -- children like that young lad who wrote that essay -- and one day to their children.
I thank you for your support. I thank you for your courage. Thank you for being Americans. Send these people back to Washington -- Malcolm Wallop, Dick Cheney. And I know that Warren Morton and these State candidates should go back to your State capital. I know, of course, that Alan Simpson is going definitely back to Washington, not being in this election. But we need them all there. We need your continued support, and then we'll do the job together, I guarantee you.
And God bless you all. Thank you.
Note: The President spoke at 11:25 a.m. in Hangar 5 at the Natrona County Airport.