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Public Papers - 1992 - August

Remarks to the Chamber of Commerce in Ansonia, Connecticut

1992-08-24

The President. Thank you very, very much. Michael, thank you and all the others at the Chamber. Thank you for that introduction. Let me just explain what Michael was talking about. There has been this hurricane down in Florida, and so we leave right from here to go down to Newark, take the plane, and head on down to look at that damage and express our concerns to the people there.

But I am just delighted to be here. A warm reception coming into town. I want to thank David Rifkin and especially the Mayor Thomas Hallihan. Let me also mention an old friend and a good man, Gary Franks, who's the Congressman here. I am so indebted to him. And another that you all know so well in this valley, John Rowland, he's a great man, and I want to see him do more. I was touched by the Reverend Father Weiss' invocation. And I want to ask today that we now take a little political look ahead to the fall.

I'll tell you something. I came out of that Houston convention, and the whole spirit around this country is different. I am determined to win this election, and I'm determined to do it fair and square. If I hadn't been fired up when I walked in here, the Company, that great music, would have got it going, I'll tell you. That was fantastic. I don't even know where they are.

But anyway, we're looking ahead to a great classic that takes place this fall. I'm not talking about Ansonia versus Derby -- [laughter] -- I'm talking about the November 3d contest. That does have a lot to do with the direction of this country and also the new century beyond.

I heard my grandson speak at our convention, and I was so very proud of that young kid. It just reminded me on a very personal basis of what the Reverend Father was talking about and the job that lies ahead of us, to make life better for all.

Now, we have witnessed, as I pointed out down there, a world of change from Managua to Moscow. Millions of men and women now turn towards freedom. They're celebrating a new birth of freedom. I believe people right here in the valley, many of whom came here from other countries, many of whose family came here, understand what I'm talking about when I say this Nation can take pride in the freedom of others. Many right in this room, because of family, not just because of freedom and democracy, because of family, prayed for this day of freedom to come to Eastern Europe, to Russia, to the countries south of our border. We've witnessed this remarkable change, and this miracle has come true.

So now the challenge for this country is to bring that spirit home from Warsaw, Poland, to Warsaw Park and to focus this great Nation on the mission ahead. We have literally changed the world with the help of the taxpayer, Presidents that preceded me, fighting men and women that have served this great country with distinction. We've changed the world, and now we must change America for the better.

Our challenge quite simply is to win the global economic challenge, to win the peace, be a military superpower, an economic superpower, an export superpower. In this election you're going to hear two very different visions of how to do this. Theirs is to turn inward and protect; and ours is to look outward and open new markets and prepare our people to compete, to restore social fabric, to save and invest. When I'm talking about investment, I don't mean more taxpayer money going into Government investment. I mean more private investment, small business investment.

I don't want to get too personal in this wonderful area that I understand has some wonderfully smart Democrats, because I need you guys in the fall. But let me say this, that my opponent has spent most of his adult life in government, and that's pretty much, I think, all he knows about. But his idea about creating jobs is to have Government jobs, public payroll jobs. And I come at things a different way. I spent, I computed it the other day, half of my adult life in government service, one kind or another, and half in the private sector. Long before I was in the public sector, I worked for a living out in the oilfields of west Texas, built a company, and did what many here has in small or larger operations, I met a payroll. I took risks, and I made it work. I happen to think having held a job is not a bad qualification even for President of the United States of America.

Look, the world economy is changing, and we've got to be in the lead of that change. Think of the economic changes you've seen right here in Ansonia, from moving from that brass and copper age in the mills along the Naugatuck to the new corporate headquarters in the industrial parks across the valley. Right now one in every six American manufacturing jobs is tied directly to exports. That doesn't count the economic ripple effect created when those workers pay mortgages or buy a car or feed the kids.

Since '88, since 1988, three-fifths of the economic growth has come from people in other countries buying what we do best, the products we make right here in America. We are the best manufacturers in the world, and don't let anybody tell you, don't you let that gloomy opposition tell you we can't compete or say that we're a nation in decline. We are not.

As President, I'm working now to create jobs, new markets, markets in Moscow, markets in Mexico City that mean new American jobs. I am convinced that the answer is not to build a wall around our economy, not to put the Government in charge but to use the Government to help you literally go back to work in this country. That's what I want to tell you, how I'm going to do it.

Here are some of what we stand for: open markets for American products. Here's one we have a big difference on: lower Government spending and tax relief, not spend and tax; tax relief and less Federal Government spending. And the other one is opportunities for small business. We've got to do better getting the regulatory burden off the back of these mom-and-pop, these small operators. We're going to keep doing it until we get that job done.

You know my feeling about too many lawsuits in this country. I've been fighting to change that, blocked by this gridlocked Congress. We sue each other too much. We care for each other too little. We've got to break the back of those that are breaking this country with these damn lawsuits.

Audience members. Clean House! Clean House! Clean House!

The President. I'll get to that. New schools -- and I know we've got some teachers here, and God bless them. But I'll tell you something. We need new schools to back up these teachers, new ideas. Our whole program, America 2000, is a good program to literally revolutionize how we bring our kids into the next century. It's exciting program. I might say, we've got to win this fight on narcotics. Teenage use of cocaine is down, but we've just begun to fight. We've got to win it, clean out these schoolyards.

You know, a big difference is, a big one, I do believe that they're too big in Government and spend too much. Last week I offered an idea to get the deficit down. We'll give you a special box -- I believe that people should have it -- a special box on that tax return to check so that up to 10 percent of your income tax can go for one purpose, and that is to reduce the budget deficit. If Congress doesn't like it -- all these editorials that you read around here on some of these sophisticated journals don't like it -- but the Congress has failed to do it. So let's get the people a chance to check that box, and then we have to live with it.

Then there's something that's very important to the valley that I talked about today in Union, New Jersey, a dramatic new approach to job training: To help young people find that first job, a program we call the Youth Training Corps, to get inner-city kids off the mean streets and get them a second chance to build the skills they need to succeed. For older workers who have lost their job or worry that next pay envelope may have a pink slip, we've developed a new concept called skill grants, vouchers worth ,000 to be used towards the training program of their choice. Our plan is based on empowering people to get the kind of training they want, not empowering the bureaucracies to hire more people. That is a very different approach than the approach the others are taking toward job training.

The Governor of Arkansas says he's all for free enterprise. Then he proposes right out of the box the largest tax increase in history, much of it on the back of small business. I learned the hard way, holding out my hand to that gridlocked Congress, and they bit it off. Once you make one mistake you don't make it again. I am not going to go forward and go with this program of spending and taxes.

We've literally proposed, and it's before Congress right now, eliminating over 200 programs and 4,000 projects. It's there; it's put down in detail. It's before this gridlocked Congress. We've got to do something about changing the Congress. If we had more people like Gary Franks, we wouldn't have a gridlock problem. But the Congress has been controlled, they have been controlled by the same party for 38 years. Everything else has changed in the country; not the House of Representatives. Help me change the House. Clean it. Clean the House.

My opponent says he's for fiscal responsibility. He's against a balanced budget amendment. Says he's for a line-item veto, but the gridlocked Congress refuses to give it to the President. I stand for something different. I want to see us cut that Federal spending with the help of a new Congress, get the taxes down so we can get the economy stimulated and let people keep a little more of what they earn. It's a big philosophical difference between the Bush-Quayle ticket on the one hand and Clinton-Gore on the other. Look at it. It is fundamentally different.

Now, in this campaign, we've got to call it as we see it. This year I believe the choice is very clear. We've got two different, fundamentally different approaches. I believe in the Government. You get all this talk: Government, Government, of the Government, by the Government, for the Government. That's not going to get the job done. We are fighting against that because we happen to believe still that the power should flow from the people, so it's of the people, by the people, and for the people. Really, what's at stake here is the future of this country.

We're in choppy waters. I heard the Reverend. I know it. People that are hurting and can't find jobs when they need it. I'll tell you another area we've got a big difference: on the defense spending. I have cut defense, but we're not going to cut into the muscle of the defense. The other side wants to take billion more than Colin Powell and Cheney tell me is the right level. We still have a tough world out there. We must still be strong. While you're thinking about it, we don't needlessly need to throw another million defense workers out of work by cutting back on defense below the levels needed for national security.

Let me just tell you, I wish Barbara Bush were here. This would be great for her morale. This would be great for her spirits.

But I'll tell you something. I want to be serious about this one point. When I drove in here today -- and I've been here as some of you know many, many times. My dad was a Senator from this State, and we grew up down the way. Leave out the politics for just a minute. When I came in here this morning, a lot of the people out there were waving. I'm sure they were not for me. They were there because I am privileged to be the President of the United States of America.

But you sense something else out there along the highway. You sense this community feeling and this feeling of family. I want to tell you something. The cynics, the liberal theoreticians, they can ridicule me all they want when I talk about family values. But this one transcends Democrat. It transcends Republican. It gets to the heart of what our community is about. The community has been diminished by the decimation and sometimes the decline of the American family.

I saw it today, that family spirit is still strong. And I just want to pledge to you, I am not going to get off talking about that because we must find ways -- whether it's welfare reform, whether it's making the fathers that run away stay there, whether it's helping, as Barbara does, hold someone in the arms to demonstrate the compassion and love we feel for our fellow man -- we've got to find ways to strengthen the American family. It is not demagoguery. It's fundamental to America.

She and I will continue to try to do our level-best to set a level of decency and honor and, hopefully, trust there in the Oval Office and there in the White House.

Thank you very much for this wonderful reception. May God bless the Naugatuck Valley, and may God bless the United States of America.

Note: The President spoke at 2:05 p.m. in Warsaw Park Hall. In his remarks, he referred to Michael Pacowta, president, and David Rifkin, chairman, Greater Valley Chamber of Commerce; former Representative John Rowland; and Father Robert Weiss, pastor, St. Joseph's Church.

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