[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1993, Book I)]
[February 6, 1993]
[Pages 60-61]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

The President's Radio Address
February 6, 1993

    Good morning. This is Bill Clinton. And this morning, on my first 
radio address, I want to talk with you about the most important 
challenge facing our country and the challenge that has consumed almost 
all my time since I became your President on January 20th: how we can 
build a strong and growing economy for ourselves and for our children.
    Lately we've had some good news about our economy. Our business 
productivity is up. Our people are producing more at lower cost. And 
lower interest rates are giving people the opportunity to refinance 
their home mortgages and to show more activity in the housing market. 
Now that change is in the air, people have more hope. Consumer 
confidence is up, and the financial markets are performing well. And all 
of that is good news for the economy.
    But chances are, you're not satisfied. And neither am I, because our 
economy isn't numbers, it's people and how their lives are affected. And 
still today, all across America, more than 16 million of us are looking 
for full-time jobs and can't find them. Our unemployment rate, at 7.1 
percent, is over 7 percent for 14 months now and still higher than it 
was at what we thought was the bottom of the recession. Our country is 
simply not producing enough new jobs, even in the recovery. And we're 
having a harder time hanging on to the good jobs that give people a good 
standard of living and give their children a good future. Too many 
people are working longer and harder just to stay even, living in fear 
that their families will be devastated by a serious illness. And too 
many parents are wondering if their children will live as well as they 
have or even if they'll be able to afford a college education.
    As I traveled across our country last year, I spoke with many 
thousands of you about my ideas for creating new jobs and increasing our 
families' incomes. Now, in my first weeks as President, I've learned, as 
you have, that the economic situation has some greater problems than we 
thought. Shortly after the election, the Federal Government announced 
that the proposed deficit for next year and the year after that and the 
year after that was about $50 billion more than we'd been told last 
August. The difference between what the Government spends and what the 
Government takes in is much larger than we had thought before and poses 
new challenges for our administration.
    For the past 12 years, our leaders haven't completely leveled with 
us. They loved to tell us how much they cared about us and how much they 
hated big Government. But Government kept spending more money, and the 
deficit kept growing. And even worse, all the time Government took care 
of a privileged elite while our country's real problems kept worsening.
    So today we have to do something no generation has ever had to do 
before. We have to build a high-growth, high-skilled, high-wage

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economy by investing in the health, the education, the job training, and 
the technologies of our people and their future. And at the same time, 
we have to cut that enormous Federal deficit before it chokes off our 
ability to invest in our future and undermines your living standards and 
those of your children. When the Government keeps borrowing more and 
more money, it becomes more difficult for business and Government and 
for our own families to make the investments we all need. Today the 
government is spending about a $1.20 for every $1.00 it takes in taxes. 
We've got to act and act now. There is simply no alternative.
    In the days ahead, I'll be discussing with you in greater detail my 
plan to put our economy back on track. But this morning I just want to 
tell you about my guiding principles. They are the same ones that got me 
into this campaign well over a year ago, that kept me going all through 
the year 1992, and that I carry with me to work every morning in the 
Oval Office.
    We have to ask everyone to contribute something to get the job done. 
But we're going to ask the most from those who have got the most and 
gave the least during the past dozen years, those at the top of the 
ladder. And we're going to do everything we can to protect people who 
are suffering the most from declining incomes and vanishing jobs, the 
middle class and the working poor.
    First, we've got to control the cost of Government, starting with my 
own people. I'll be making big cuts in the White House staff, cutting 
payrolls and perks and privileges. I want to set an example so that I 
can take the fight to the rest of the Government to eliminate 
unnecessary commissions, to reduce the Federal payroll, to get rid of 
needless luxuries like posh dining rooms. And we're going to take on the 
lobbyists for the special interests that have grown used to getting 
special favors from our Government.
    Then we'll ask the people who have benefited most from the eighties 
to give something back to their country. While most Americans paid 
higher taxes on lower real incomes, the privileged few paid lower taxes 
on much higher real incomes. We're going to ask them now to pay their 
fair share, along with corporations whose tax burden has been 
dramatically reduced in the last 12 years. I'm going to cut the cost of 
our Government and get rid of windfalls for the wealthy before I ask any 
of the rest of the American people to make a contribution that is fair 
and essential to grow our economy.
    I'd ask you to remember that we didn't get into this mess overnight. 
In the last 12 years, our debt has grown to 4 times what it was before. 
We're now spending 14 cents of every tax dollar paying interest on past 
debt, almost as much as we're spending on our social services and our 
defense budget. We can't get out of this overnight, but we have to make 
a beginning.
    Together we can return to the time-honored American values of 
rewarding work, offering opportunity, demanding responsibility, and 
providing for our future as a community. We're all in this together. 
We're going up or down together. I'm convinced we're going up, if we 
have the courage to invest, if we have the courage to reduce our 
deficit, and if we have the courage to do it in a fair way.
    Thank you, and good morning.

Note: The President spoke at 9:06 a.m. from the Oval Office at the White