[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1994, Book I)]
[January 1, 1994]
[Pages 1-2]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

[[Page 1]]

The President's Radio Address
January 1, 1994

    Good morning, and happy New Year. I hope you're enjoying this day 
with your family and your friends. I hope you feel that you have a lot 
to be thankful for on New Year's Day. I know that I certainly do.
    I am grateful that our economy is coming back to life, that optimism 
and direction are back. The deficit is down. Interest rates and 
inflation are down. Investments and consumer confidence are up. We have 
more trade opportunities with NAFTA and with the GATT world trade 
agreement. Millions of you have refinanced your homes and businesses. 
The private sector has created about a million and a half new jobs in 
just 10 months, more than were created in the previous 4 years.
    But our Nation is about more than economics. It's also about our 
sense of community, the obligations we have to each other. For too long 
we've been coming apart instead of coming together. In 1993, we began to 
reverse that, and I'm grateful.
    We established the national service program to allow our young 
people to serve their communities and earn money for their college 
educations. We reorganized the student loan program so that all students 
can now afford to borrow money from this program because they can repay 
on lower interest rates and based on the incomes they earn, not just the 
money they borrow. We made democracy more of a reality for millions of 
people with the motor voter bill, which makes it easier to register to 
vote. We wrote our best family values into law with the family leave 
law, which says to parents, if you have a newborn child or an ill 
parent, you can be with them, you can take a little time off from work 
without losing your jobs. We also strengthened our families when we gave 
tax relief to 15 million working families on modest wages with children 
so that they can stay off welfare, stay at work, and still succeed as 
parents. And after 7 years of gridlock, Washington finally woke to the 
growing fear of violence on our streets when Congress passed and I 
signed the Brady bill.
    All over America, beyond Washington, people are beginning to take 
more responsibility for themselves, for their children, for their 
communities, working to save jobs, improve schools, and make our streets 
safer. In 1994, we must resolve to do even more, to help the middle 
class with more jobs and with income growth, to help the poor who are 
trapped in whole neighborhoods where there's no work, few stable 
families, and where violence is the norm. There is still a great deal to 
    So in 1994, let us resolve to improve the health security, the 
personal security, and the job security of the American people who work 
hard and play by the rules. With all the changes sweeping our Nation and 
the world, let us resolve to make these changes our friends and not our 
    In 1994, we must work to keep the economic recovery going. We must 
pass comprehensive health care reform that provides benefits that can 
never be taken away. We must put more police on the street and take more 
assault weapons off the street. We must adopt world-class standards for 
our schools and provide lifetime training for our workers.
    Millions of Americans, even those with good health insurance, must 
live in fear of losing their health coverage. Another 2 million 
Americans lost their insurance in 1993. Our health care reform plan is a 
guaranteed system of private insurance that will cover every American. 
We'll maintain the health care system in private hands, improve the 
quality of health care, increase the choices you have as a consumer, and 
protect the doctor-patient relationship. And all the while, if we do it 
in the way we've recommended, we will reduce mountains of paperwork and 
billions of dollars of unnecessary costs in the present system. Health 
reform is a good deal for our families and our future, and it should 
pass in 1994.

[[Page 2]]

    I also want Congress to pass the crime bill without delay. Our 
proposal will put 100,000 more police officers on the street, expand 
boot camps for young offenders, get handguns out of the hands of minors, 
ban assault weapons, and have stiffer sentences for violent repeat 
    This year, I'm also determined to start creating a world-class 
system of lifetime education and training, especially for those who lose 
their jobs. This means setting high standards first for our public 
schools and challenging every State to meet them--world-class standards. 
It means new investments, from Head Start for preschoolers to job 
training for young people to retraining for experienced workers. Better 
schools and better skills are the best way to promote competitiveness 
for our economy and equal opportunity for every American.
    And we must continue to work to make welfare a second chance, not a 
way of life. Our welfare reform proposal will embrace two simple values: 
work and responsibility. Those who can work should do so. And both 
parents must take responsibility for their children, because governments 
don't raise children, parents do.
    In 1993, I met a lot of Americans who made a vivid impression on me 
and whose impression caused me to redouble my determination to face the 
problems which our country has too long ignored. I met a young man in 
California who changed schools to go to a safer school but whose brother 
was shot standing in front of him in the safer school as they tried to 
register. I met a widow in Detroit who supports herself and her 
children, enrolled in a training program to become a machinist, to prove 
again that most Americans want to work and don't want to be on welfare. 
I met a businessman in Florida who poured his heart into his small 
furniture store, only to be told by his insurance company that he had to 
drop coverage of his own parents whose age made them a high risk. All 
these folks strengthened my commitment to work for better education and 
better job training, universal health coverage that can never be taken 
away, safer streets, and a stronger America.
    The stories of real people inspire the struggles and the efforts 
that drive my administration. We've got to keep working to rebuild the 
American economy, to revive middle class life and middle class values in 
America, and to restore our sense of community. We have to recognize 
that all these problems are interrelated. You can't just solve one 
without the other. We have to remember that these problems developed 
over a long period of time; they can't be solved overnight. We have to 
remember that Government can't do everything alone, everyone must play 
his or her part. But we must remember, too, that we can make a 
difference and we can do better.
    In that spirit, let us all make New Year's resolutions today. Let's 
resolve among other things that in 1994 every American will have health 
care that's always there and can never be taken away, that in 1994 we 
will take back our streets and make them safer for our children, that in 
1994 we will improve our schools and hold ourselves to world-class 
standards of excellence and that we will give our workers throughout 
their lifetimes the skills they need to compete and win in a tough 
global economy, that in 1994 we will continue to work to favor work over 
welfare, and that we will continue to rebuild our economy and, with it, 
the American dream.
    If we'll stay together and work together, we can do these things. 
Have a happy and healthy New Year's. And thanks for listening.

Note: The address was recorded at 3:15 p.m. on December 31, 1993, in 
Hilton Head, SC, for broadcast at 10:06 a.m. on January 1, 1994.