February 19, 1988

I am today designating Caspar Weinberger and Drew Lewis to the National Economic Commission. These appointments, along with those announced today by the Republican leaders of the House and Senate, complete the current membership of the Commission.

This Commission, which was created in last year's reconciliation bill, is charged with making recommendations on reducing the Federal deficit and is to issue its report on March 1 of next year. The Commission should also examine the current budget process as part of their deliberations.

I am very pleased that these two men have agreed to lend their considerable expertise to the Commission. While Cap most recently served as my Secretary of Defense, he has had extensive government experience at OMB and HEW as well as in State government in California. He knows the budget inside and out and is familiar with a broad range of Federal programs. Drew has exhibited his many abilities in both the public and private sector; he served as my Secretary of Transportation and is currently at Union Pacific.

As I have said before, I believe when all aspects of the budget are reviewed the primary policy problem will be viewed not as a lack of revenues but an inexorable growth in spending. Over the last 7 years, revenues have increased by $250 billion, but spending has increased by $325 billion. And while defense has necessarily grown, it accounted for only $125 billion, or less than 40 percent, of the increase.