Radio Address to the
Nation on Administration Goals
January 23, 1988
week was the start of the eighth year of my Presidency. And so, as we all do at
the beginning of a new year, I'd like to take a few minutes to look ahead at
some of the challenges before our nation this year.
the way, I'll be doing a lot more looking ahead on Monday night, when I'll go
up to Capitol Hill to deliver the annual State of the Union Address. The State
of the Union is the only statement
that the Constitution itself requires the President to give. Almost all
Presidents since Woodrow Wilson have delivered States of the Union in person, not just
sent up written messages. This will be my seventh time. And let me tell you,
the thrill of standing in that place where so many great Presidents have stood
and of continuing a tradition that stretches back to George Washington and
signifies our determination that, as Lincoln said, a government of, by, and for
the people shall not perish from the Earth -- well, that thrill never goes
away. I'm looking forward to Monday night. I hope you'll tune in.
I'll tell Congress then, we in Washington have a lot of work ahead
of us -- for starters, preserving the economic growth of the past 5 years. Last
week we had good news on this front. Our trade deficit dropped by 25 percent,
but more importantly our exports, which have been climbing for more than a
year, shot forward nearly 10 percent in 1 month and reached the highest levels
in American history. Yes, American industry is in an export boom, and our
economy is strong -- in fact, it's the envy of the world.
we all know that there are still unanswered questions in our economic future --
the biggest: Are we going to keep working to reduce our budget deficit? The
administration and Congress have made progress, in the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings
legislation and in this year's budget compromise, but we need to do more. On Monday
I'll remind Congress of some good ideas that are past due for action, like the
line-item veto and a balanced budget amendment. And I may have a surprise, too,
a way, right now, for Congress to show it's serious about putting the
Government's house in order.
issue that we will take up in the year ahead is more significant than the issue
of peace with freedom, whether in this hemisphere or around the world. On
Monday I will formally submit to the Senate for advice and consent to ratify
the Intermediate Nuclear Forces treaty that General Secretary Gorbachev and I
signed in December. It's a good treaty, a solid one with the most extensive
verification provisions in history. It will make America and its allies more
secure. Monday evening I will remind the Congress that this step toward
enduring peace with freedom would never have come if the forces of democracy
hadn't been strong, and I'll ask for expeditious Senate action.
the key to peace with freedom is also in the strength of the democratic forces.
Some say if you're for aid to the freedom fighters in Nicaragua you're against the
peace process. Phooey! Even the Sandinistas admit they're talking peace and
democracy because of the freedom fighters. Yet to date, the Sandinistas haven't
gone through with one concession to democratize that they can't easily reverse
once the pressure of the freedom fighters is off. At stake here is whether Nicaragua becomes a Soviet base
camp on the mainland of this hemisphere. Imagine if the Sandinista vision of a
Communist Central America is realized and Mexico is threatened. The next
vote on aid to the freedom fighters may be the most important this Congress
casts. On Monday I'll ask Congress to vote yes.
are great challenges and opportunities in the year ahead. On Monday I will also
talk about continuing to bring greater excellence to education. I'll mention
ways to raise the quality of our schools. But I'll remind Congress that the
most important thing is not to throw quantities of money at education but to
tie funding to results and to have a commitment to quality and to State and
local control of schools.
that's a glimpse of the year ahead. And as I said, you'll hear more Monday
night. That's the Nation's future, but let me turn for a minute to something
more personal. You may have read about Tabatha
Foster. She's 3 years old, was born with a severe birth defect, and recently,
in an operating room in Pittsburgh, received five new
organs. It will take time and money, as much as $1 million, to return Tabatha to full health. Her parents have exhausted their
medical insurance, so a Tabatha Foster Fund has been
set up to help them. I know you join me in praying that Tabatha
will someday be able to lead a normal life.
next week, thanks for listening, and God bless you. And God bless Tabatha Foster.