Remarks at the Timken Faircrest Steel Plant in Canton, Ohio

September 26, 1984

Congressman Regula, State Representative Dave Johnson, who's here, and all of you ladies and gentlemen: Tim Timken, it's plain to see that you're following in the proud tradition of one of America's great men of commerce and industry, your great-grandfather, Henry Timken.

You know, being here in this particular place -- and it's true -- from some football I played myself, and then I became a sports announcer longer ago than I'm going to admit to -- all the way over here, I found myself telling Jim Thorpe stories, and so forth, with regard to that Football Hall of Fame. But it is a thrill for me to see what's happening here. I can now say with confidence, I've seen the future, and the future looks very good, indeed.

I'd just like to congratulate Tom Faught and his crew from the Dravo Corporation, the subcontractors on this project; all of the skilled craftsmen. From what I see, you're doing a quality job of which you can all be rightfully proud. With your energy and enthusiasm, with your dedication to efficiency and excellence, America is not just going to meet the competition; we're going to beat the competition.

Timken's courageous $500 million investment, representing about two-thirds of the total value of the company, is in the finest tradition of America's entrepreneurial spirit. The cooperation between everyone concerned -- management, labor, Federal, State, and local government -- is part of a new spirit that is emerging throughout this country. We're leaving the pessimists and the doom and gloomers behind.

The old ideas that spawned inflation, stagnation, and national self-doubt only a few years ago have given way to a new philosophy. Americans are rejecting the policies of something for nothing, rejecting politicians who try to divide us by exploiting envy and who offer programs with the claim, ``We'll tax somebody else to pay for it.'' You know, that term about robbing Peter to pay Paul -- it was some time ago that we began to realize, under their policy of robbing Peter to pay Paul, we were all named Peter. There weren't any Pauls left around. [Laughter]

But the American people, anymore, don't buy something-for-nothing schemes. We know that raising taxes, no matter what the big spenders say or try to make us believe, will mean a heavier burden for the working people of this country.

And let me ask what you think would be better for the future of America. Is it better to let them tax away your earnings because they'll know how to spend your pay better than you do? Or isn't it better for you to have more take-home pay and decide for yourself how that money will be spent? [Applause]

Well, I think it's better, too. And I think it's better, too, to have Timken and other companies like yours channeling their resources into job-creating investment rather than letting politicians tax it away. America doesn't need higher taxes and a heavier tax burden. America needs more high tech to modernize heavy industry. We need more take-home pay, more investment, more innovation, and more jobs.

My opponent made raising taxes his number one issue and the option that he would use first in solving our country's problems. My first option is expanding economic growth and increasing opportunity. I say, let's not focus on dividing the pie and everybody continually getting a smaller and smaller piece. Let's pull together and make a bigger pie so that everybody can have a bigger piece.

Standing here today and seeing this incredible new mill taking shape, I can't help but think of a telegram I received back in 1981. And I would have read it to you, except that Tim Timken has already done so. [Laughter] No, that's all right. [Laughter]

And I was very pleased to get it, and very pleased to have him remember, too, about that telegram. I've often wondered what kind of telegram I might have received had our policy been to increase taxes instead of reducing them.

This company didn't start out making steel. In fact, back in the 1890's, Timken was primarily a supplier to wagon and carriage builders. Mind you, I didn't see that for myself. I just heard about it. [Laughter]

But Timken has always been a vibrant and innovative company, never afraid of new challenges, never afraid to take advantage of new opportunities, and never afraid to compete. If America is to progress as a country, this is the kind of spirit our policies must promote.

There are those who call for protectionism and quotas which are shortsighted and temporary at best and which will make all of us a lot worse off in the long run. Certainly, we must ensure that other countries, our competitors, do not use unfair trade practices. I reaffirmed our determination to prevent this and charted a clear course of action to that effect last week. But a blunderbuss approach of quotas and trade barriers, encouraging stagnation by stifling competition, is not the way to a better future. It's a giant step back into the misery of a failed past.

America's heavy industries, like steel, will be just as much a part of our country's future as they are a part of our country's past. We're going to ensure this by hitting directly any country that attempts to dump its industrial products using unfair and illegal subsidies. But aggressive enforcement is only part of the answer. The kind of innovation that we underline here today at Timken is the most important part of the solution.

This mill is designed to produce the highest quality alloy steel at the lowest cost. While your workers in this mill will be paid comparable wages to any in the industry, their productivity will be substantially higher. It'll be energy efficient, using 22 percent less electricity, 27 percent less natural gas per ton of steel melted. It was designed to meet, and in many cases exceed, all of the EPA's clean air standards. It innovatively ties, as Tim Timken rightly points out, high tech and heavy industry.

And this type of commitment, commitment on the part of all of us, is the path to progress and an improved standard of living. I firmly believe that, if given the tools and the equipment we need, American workers can outproduce, outsell, and outcompete the pants off anyone in the world.

What you accomplish here will reap rewards throughout the system. Producing a higher quality product at a lower cost will help the auto and other heavy industries meet their competition, benefit your other customers. And eventually, in one way or another, everyone in this country will benefit. And that's what made America the great country it is, and that's what's going to make America even greater still.

There's been a lot said recently, with the lead story in a major magazine recently, about the new spirit spreading across America, something I've been calling the new patriotism. I couldn't help thinking about it when I was driving over here and we went past that Football Hall of Fame. Several years ago, there were those, even some of our own leaders, who seemed to be counting America out. Well, we aren't a nation of quitters. We're all on the same team -- the American team. And it's good to see we're scoring touchdowns again.

Well, that's the way we are. And nobody should ever sell America short. During the dark days of World War II, Timken quickly adjusted its production line from steel tubes to gun barrels. By the end of the war, you did what the enemies of freedom thought was impossible, producing over a hundred thousand gun barrels used for antiaircraft guns, tanks, and the nose guns on the B - 25 bomber.

Six thousand Timken employees marched off to fight for their country during that conflict. One of them was John Paul Moriarty. He was blinded when he was shot down over enemy territory in 1944. He suffered blindness and imprisonment, and when he finally got home, the city of Canton gave him a hero's welcome. His friends and neighbors pooled their money and provided this local boy -- who gave his sight so they could remain free -- enough money to build a home for his family.

And then, in March of 1946, John Paul Moriarty returned to the Timken Company. He was given a job operating special electronic gauges that had been specifically developed to enable the blind to inspect Timken bearings. John Paul Moriarty retired last year after 47 years of service to Timken, most of it as a blind employee.

Canton and Timken showed the world what America is all about. Thank you for letting me join you today. Thank you very much. [Applause] I -- [applause] -- all right. I'm willing. [Applause] Thank you all very much. Thank you.

If I could just make a personal note in here. If sometime again they happen to show the Knute Rockne film on television -- [laughter] -- when the Gipper scores that touchdown, if you'll look at the fellow in the dark sweater standing right over beside me before I start for that touchdown run, that was Jim Thorpe. He was playing an assistant coach in the picture. And it was a great thrill for me to get to meet the immortal Jim Thorpe. I just had to throw that in. I told you I was full of Jim Thorpe stories.

God bless you all.

Note: The President spoke at 2:53 p.m. in the steel plant's melt shop. Earlier, he was given a tour of the plant and was briefed by company officials on its operation.

Prior to his departure for Milwaukee, WI, the President met with local Republican leaders at the Akron/Canton Regional Airport.