Title: President's Remarks- 12/19/94 Press Conf.

Author: Office of the Press Secretary, White House

Date: December 19, 1994


Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release December 19, 1994



Room 450

Old Executive Office Building

12:13 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: Last week I outlined my proposal for

a Middle Class Bill of Rights to help the American

people restore the American Dream. The G.I. Bill

after World War II gave a generation Americans a

chance to build their own lives and their own

dreams. Now we can help a new generation of

hardworking people get the right education and

skills, raise their children, and keep their

families strong so that they can get ahead in the

new American economy.

I want to take just a moment to remind you of the

four features in that Bill of Rights. First, for a

family making less than $120,000, the tuition they

pay for post-secondary education, training and

retraining would be fully deductible from a taxable

income, phased up to $10,000 a year.

Second, for a family with an income of $75,000 a

year or less, a tax cut phased up to $500 a year for

every child under the age of 13. Third, for families

with incomes under $100,000 a year, the ability to

put away $2,000 tax-free into an IRA, and then

withdraw that money tax-free for a cost of

education, health care, first-time home, or the care

of an elderly parent.

Finally, we will make billions of dollars available

that the government normally spends itself through

separate job-training programs directly to workers,

who can decide on how best to use the money to learn

new skills. There is only one reason we can afford

to do this at this time. We have worked very hard to

cut government spending and to bring the deficit

under control. The government debt increased by

four times during the 12 years before I took office.

I want to remind you what that burden means; it

means that this April when people make out their

checks to the government, 28 cents of every dollar

of federal income tax will be necessary to pay

interest on the debt accumulated between 1981 and

the day I was inaugurated. It is our responsibility

to turn that around, and we have been working to

fulfill it. We have already passed budgets that cut

the deficit by $700 billion, eliminate 100

government programs and cut over 300 others.

A major part of this endeavor has been the

Reinventing Government Initiative, led by the Vice

President. I have worked hard to reduce and to

redirect governments for many years, since my early

days as governor of my state, when we were one of

the first states in the country to adopt a statewide

total quality management program, which resulted in

cutting regulation and paperwork, eliminating

agencies and departments and programs that were

unnecessary. Now we are cutting things that can be

cut. We propose to stop doing things that government

doesn't do very well and that don't need to be done

by government. And we believe that we should

increase our efforts where government can make a

real positive difference in the lives of

ordinary Americans. We have to change yesterday's

government and make it work for the America of today

and tomorrow.

In the last two years, we have made a good

beginning. We have begun to shrink the federal

government's bureaucracy to its smallest size in 30

years. The work force of the federal government

is already almost 100,000 below where it was on the

day we were inaugurated. We are on the way to a

reduction of 272,000 positions -- cuts that are

freeing up money to invest in our people. For

example, every dollar that goes to fund the crime

bill, which is a direct transfer of investment to

our local communities at the grass roots level,

comes from the cuts we are making. Later today, at

the Justice Department, I will announce new efforts

under the crime bill to finish our commitment of

putting 100,000 more police officers on the street,

and stop the crime that punishes so many American


We have to continue to meet our responsibilities to

the next generation. We must pay, therefore, for the

Middle Class Bill of Rights, with new reductions in

government spending, dollar for dollar -- spending

cuts to pay for tax cuts, with no new cuts in

Medicare and Social Security. I call on Congress to

meet that same responsibility in their


Our administration has just completed a review in

which we have identified $24 billion in cuts in

bureaucracy, red tape, and outmoded programs to help

to do this. And we are committed to continuing the

freeze on discretionary spending, which will save

another $52 billion in the next five-year budget


We will do even more to shrink yesterday's

government. I have called on the Vice President to

review every single government program and

department for further possible reductions. He's

also going to review the federal regulatory process,

and we have spent a good deal of time on that

already, so that we can get better results for the

public with less interference in their lives.

Vice President Gore is here to discuss the details

of our next round of proposals in reinventing

government, along with Director Alice Rivlin and the

heads or representatives of five agencies in which

we are proposing reductions now, including Secretary

Cisneros, Secretary Pena, Deputy Secretary White,

General Services Administration Director Roger

Johnson, and Office of Personnel Management Director

Jim King. I want to thank them and our entire

economic team for their hard work in the last few


I also want to say a special word of thanks to

people who often get overlooked in this, and that is

the employees of the United States government. The

work they have done in the last two years to help us

to reduce the size of the federal work force by

100,000 already; to implement plans to take it down

to a total of 272,000, and even more, with the

announcements we are making today - that work is

truly exemplary. It would be envied by many of our

biggest corporations in this country. They have

rolled up their sleeves, they have been creative,

they have found ways for us to save taxpayer money

and redirect that into the Middle Class Bill of

Rights and to investing in our future.

This has been -- I want to emphasize -- a very

disciplined, well-organized process. We have not let

rhetoric and recklessness dominate it. This has been

about reality. And, again, as we go into the New

Year, that ought to be our motto, as I said the

other night: Country first, politics as usual dead

last; focus on reality, not rhetoric and not


It is not enough to cut government just for the sake

of cutting it. Government is not inherently good or

bad. In a new time, with a new economy, with new

demands on ordinary American families, we need a

leaner, but not a meaner, government. We need to

put government back on the side of hardworking


That means I will oppose certain cuts if they

undermine our economic recovery, undermine

middle-class living standards, undermine our

attempts to support poor people who are doing their

best to raise their children and want to work their

way into the middle class, undermine our attempts to

improve education, protect our environment and move

us into the future with a high-wage, high-growth


As I said last Thursday night, what we really need

is a new American government for this new American

economy in the 21st century -- one that is creative

and flexible; that's a high-quality, low-cost

producer of services that the American people need

and that can best be provided at the national level.

The best thing we can do in this process is to

follow the model that smart companies have done,

which is to develop a good plan, put good people in

charge and pursue the goal with vigor.

I am confident that I chose the right person to lead

the reinventing government effort. I want to thank

the Vice President and all of his team. They have

done wonderful work. And I'd like now to turn the

podium over to Vice President Gore.
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