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Public Papers - 1992

Remarks at the Superconducting Super Collider Laboratory in Waxahachie, Texas

1992-07-30

Thank you all so much for that introduction. Thanks for that welcome back home. Thank you so very much, and good morning everyone. Please be seated -- never mind. [Laughter]

Joe Barton, thank you sir, for your kind introduction, your generous comments. And let me just say to you, some of whom are constituents, many friends, the confidence I have in this man knows no bounds. He's an outstanding Representative for this area of Texas in the United States Congress.

May I also acknowledge our dais companions: the Deputy Secretary for Energy that Joe talked to you about, Linda Stuntz; Jack Martin; Joe Cipriano; and of course, Dr. Roy Schwitters. Joe and Roy were kind enough to lead Linda and me on a tour of this impressive facility. And out there in the audience someplace, another I'm grateful to is Waxahachie's Mayor, Joe Grubbs. We salute him and thank him for his city's hospitality.

Now, the super collider. The super collider is one of the greatest scientific projects in the entire world. This place attracts scientific genius the way our U.S. basketball players attract autograph seekers over there in Barcelona. So for me it is an incredible honor to be among you and to hear of your dreams and accomplishments.

As much as any State, Texas is a land of old and new, a place where ``boot'' means something you wear on your feet and what you do to turn on your computer each morning. And so I come here to talk just a little bit about what we need to do to prepare for the economy of the 21st century.

I'd like to start with a story not about the economy but football, a story about a freshman who walked out onto the field over at S.M.U. for his first football practice. He told the coach, ``Look, I can throw the ball 60 yards in a perfect spiral. I can run the 40 in 4.4. My punts usually carry 75 yards into the wind.'' The coach looked at this guy; he said, ``Kid, everybody has a weakness. What's yours?'' And this freshman said, ``Well, some people might tell you I have a tendency to exaggerate a little bit.''

Well, when we look at our economy, we should resist the urge to exaggerate our problems. Sure we face some very stiff challenges, but let's not forget a few facts. We're the world's largest economy. No other nation sells more products outside its borders; exports tremendously high. Inflation is the lowest in two decades. And if you want to talk to the world's most productive workers, you don't have to brush up on your Japanese or your German. The ``Dream Team'' of workers can be found right here in the United States of America.

So the question today is not can America compete; we know we can do that. The question is how do we stay number one and share our prosperity with more Americans and create more jobs for the American worker.

First, we face some short-term challenges. This morning the new economic numbers came out; they were released, telling you something you probably can pick up from conversations down at the local hardware store. The economy is growing, but it's got to grow faster. The economy grew at, what, 2.9 percent in the first quarter, and now -- that was stronger than originally reported -- but only 1.4 percent in the second. Housing sales, though, were much stronger than expected, up 8 percent in June. But overall, while the national economy is still growing, it is not growing fast enough.

Now, economists are going to tell you that this kind of uneven growth is not unusual. Since World War II, the first year of every recovery has shown the same pattern, with one quarter up and the next quarter down a little bit. Most of the economists, blue chip economists, predict that the economy is going to get stronger the rest of the year, and I believe that they're right. But we have got to act now to guarantee that.

On January 29th, I put forward a specific program to create new jobs with incentives to encourage businesses to hire new workers and help Americans who want to buy a new home. If that plan was in place, it would have been creating almost 15,000 new jobs a day, over a half a million jobs since February. For 183 days, in spite of the efforts of Joe Barton and a handful of others, the Congress has dillied and dallied while too many Americans are looking for work. They have made some progress, but we need this program of growth incentives passed right now. I hope you and all of these people will join me. I hope you'll join me in reminding Congress that we can't wait another 183 days. This sign is right: We the people need jobs. And we need to stimulate this economy and get those jobs. So help me pass that growth program. No more holding the American economy hostage to politics. Vote for this economic recovery program, and put more Americans to work now.

Now, that's the short-term program, but the real question on Americans' minds is: What about 5 years from now? What about 10 years, 20? Will America still be the world's leading economy? That's the question that I want to just focus on in this very special place this morning.

You know, our economy has changed in many ways since Barbara and I moved to Odessa 44 years ago, back in 1948. Back then, everybody was talking about new developments in television, atomic energy. This was just after World War II, and everyone in the neighborhood would turn out when somebody drove home in a brandnew car.

Today the new industries are computers, biotech, material science. You not only can get a new car; you can get a car with a new fax machine inside it. I can't quite understand for the life of me why anyone wants to get faxed something while they are going along at 65 miles an hour or 60.

Back when I started out in business, you could get a job based on what you could lift with your shoulders. Today a good job depends on what you can fit inside your head. Back then, America reigned supreme in steel and emerging industries like electronics, and today we're competing for the lead in emerging basic industries of the 21st century: computers, biotech, and material science.

It's fashionable this year for people to talk about change, about preparing for the future. But for the past 3 years, without a lot of hype or fanfare, we've put forward a series of dramatic ideas to change America so that we will win in the new economic olympics. From our unprecedented effort to open up new markets to our products to our program to make our grade and elementary schools as great as our colleges, from proposed record increases in basic laboratory research to new ways to help our companies get ideas from the laboratory to the marketplace, from new incentives for American business men and women to new efforts to rip away the regulations that hinder innovation, from top to bottom our entire program is designed to build America for the 21st century.

Now, some advocate a very different, different approach. They want to erect protectionist walls around our economy. They suggest that Government should invest directly in industry and that maybe it's time we try having some guy in Washington pick economic winners and losers.

I don't trust that approach. I trust our business men and women to create and innovate. I trust our workers to perform. I trust you, our best researchers and scientists, to lead America to a bigger and brighter future. All you need is some tools, and that's what our programs provide.

First, in an age when knowledge is king, we want Americans to wear the crown. I admit I am very proud of our young people's domination in swimming and basketball. But by the year 2000 I want our kids to be champions not just in the pool and on the court, I want them to be number one in the math class and in the science lab.

Our second priority is to extend America's heritage as the world's leader in technology. The new industries that I've mentioned this morning will potentially create millions of new jobs. We don't want them nurtured in Germany or Japan. We want them built here in Texas, here in America.

The programs that we've put forward to build America are all prejudiced, yes. They are prejudiced to the future, loyal only to our children. But we can make this investment without new taxes or budget-busting spending today.

The Federal Government already spends, here it is, .4 trillion of your money every year. So I have proposed to do what you do with your family budget every weekend: set priorities. Cut back on mandatory spending today, and do away with almost 250 Government programs that simply don't work anymore.

I've got a friend that many of you know, Randy Travis, and he sings something about love going on ``forever and ever.'' Well, I'm not sure Randy would sing the same tune about a taxpayer-supported research program on the mating habits of minks. We've got to get rid of those needless programs.

But then we come to priorities. The super collider is big priority, a big part of our investment in America's future. When you talk basic research, this is the Louvre, the pyramids, Niagara Falls, all rolled into one.

Where once we reached for the Moon above to explore new frontiers of our universe, soon we'll begin to tunnel below to learn about the fundamental question of science, how our universe began.

A couple of weeks ago, I hosted a meeting on this project in the White House with seven preeminent scientists, including four Nobel prize winners, four Nobel laureates. They started talking about quarks and quenches, and I wondered for a minute if they had all spent the weekend bird hunting. But nevertheless -- [laughter] -- but beneath all the discussion about matter and antimatter was real talk about what matters to our kids' future: maintaining America's technological supremacy.

History has shown again and again that by pushing technology to ever-higher levels of accomplishment, we can achieve immensely practical consequences. To give you just one example, at Argonne Laboratories years ago, scientists were trying to purify liquid hydrogen for use with what was then the world's largest accelerator. They ended up figuring out a way to make artificial kidneys for just apiece. That resulted from this fundamental science. The same kind of developments will occur right here, on a scale never before imagined. Here, for example, is where a new electronics industry is going to be born.

Some in Congress don't see it this way. They talk a good game about investment. While they proclaim to be ``future's friend'' they have repeatedly blocked programs I have put forward in education and research. And now, they've set their sights on the super collider.

The House last month voted to shut down this project, the House of Representatives, in spite of the heroic efforts of this scientist, this Congressman with me here today, and this Deputy Secretary of Energy with me here today. Now, the Senate will consider it soon. And no one should be under any illusion: Savings from killing the super collider will not be used to reduce the deficit, as some said.

Some Members of Congress want to use this money to support organized interests whose backing they need in an election year. They will squander the taxpayer's money today rather than invest in our economy with tomorrow in sight. Make no mistake: This is a battle being waged right now in the Congress between the patrons of the past, and the architects of the future. And that is every one of you standing here today.

It may not be popular in all places, but I am determined, election year or not, to do what is right for America. Today I say: I stand with our young people who want the jobs of tomorrow. I stand with our future. And I will fight hard and continue to fight hard for the super collider, and call everybody necessary to get them to do what is right by science and technology.

Five hundred years ago this Monday, a man named Columbus set sail on a journey that brought him to the shores of this great land. But in many respects, America's voyage is never-ending. Centuries after Columbus set sail, our forebears tread this soil in wagon trains, and two centuries after that, scientists at Johnson Space Center watched as brave Americans set sail for the stars.

Today, new frontiers beckon; new discoveries await; new progress lies before us. Our adventure is not to sail the open ocean but rather to go to the edge of the universe and see the birth of space and of time. Our vessel is not called Santa Maria, it is the super collider. But human imagination is still our compass and human ingenuity and yearning for progress our only power. To those who would sacrifice tomorrow for today, I say: Trust in America's future. Trust in America's incredible capacity for renewal and innovation. Trust in the spirit that is here today, for ours is an eternal voyage to greatness. And each and every one of you is a part of that voyage.

Thank you for listening. May God bless Texas, and God bless the United States of America. Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 10:32 a.m. in the String Test Building. In his remarks, he referred to Jack Martin, chairman, Texas National Research Commission; Joseph Cipriano, director of the Superconducting Super Collider Project, Department of Energy; and Roy Schwitters, Director, Superconducting Super Collider Laboratory.

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