DOLE ON THE ECONOMY
JUNE 3, 1996
A speech given by Sen. Bob Dole today at a Chamber of Commerce luncheon in Warren, Michigan. The focus was the economy.
SEN. ROBERT DOLE, Republican Presidential Candidate: In this campaign, the American people's biggest challenge will be to distinguish between words and actions, between words and actions. And that is because unfortunately, as we have seen time and time again, the words this President speaks have very little to do with the actions he takes. And put simply, he talks right and runs left. And I believe the American people deserve better than zig zag leadership. And nowhere--(applause)--and nowhere is this disconnect more true than on the question of the federal budget, and nowhere is it more pivotal, for whether or not we actually bring the budget into balance in the next few years will depend more than anything else on the will and determination of the President of the United States. And as things stand in the Congress and the country today, if the President of the United States wants a balanced budget, we will have a balanced budget. But this President's actually made clear that he does not. I do. I do because I believe a federal budget that is balanced in the right way with less spending, that permits lower taxes, is a key, a critical key to making America better for families and to re-starting America's engine of economic growth.
Now, some say that, well, deficits don't matter, that the American people just don't care about them. But the fact is that the federal budget is like tax hike on working families. It drives up interest rates, and not by a little but by a lot. It is a stealth tax that every family with a home, every father and mother with a child in college, every young person who buys a car must pay and pay and pay and pay. It's time we eliminate that, and when I'm elected on November 5, that's exactly what I intend to do. Instead of giving more money to Washington to let the government grow, I want to leave more money with the taxpayers to let the family grow and prosper. And that's a big, big difference.
And it's no mystery that that's holding America back. It's no force of nature or act of faith. It's the wrong-headed, outdated liberal policies that can all be summed up in one word, Clintonomics, Clintonomics, that's the word, one word, Clintonomics. And you know one of the most amazing things about the present administration is they actually boast about the anemic, substandard growth their policies have created. Remember in the last campaign in 1992--and it happened here in Michigan--Mr. Clinton's rallying cry was "It's the economy, stupid." At that time, the economy was actually growing more than 50 percent faster than it has during the Clinton years, 50 percent faster. And the natural business cycle was pulling us strongly out of recession at that time with impressive growth. But then big--Clinton's big government and high tax policies slammed on the brakes.
And you know sometimes I think that Bill Clinton must be a very incredible magician. He took a middle class tax cut he promised in the campaign, he put in the hat, and pulled out the biggest tax increase in the history of America--$265 billion tax increase. Don't forget that number. And while Michigan, with John Engler's spending and tax cuts, was booming, what was happening to the rest of America, Bill Clinton's tax increases. We call it the Clinton crunch. Workers saw their wages stagnate. Families had to work harder just to make ends meet. Judged against America's average growth the entire post war period, Clinton economic policies threw this country into a growth deficit that according to Congress and the Joint Economic Committee will cost the average household an astonishing $3,100 per year. That's $260 per month. No wonder more and more American families feel they are falling behind. No wonder they feel the security of the past years is slipping away from them. And no wonder more and more Americans are saying our country is on the wrong track. So this year, "it's the economy, stupid," takes on a whole new meaning.
Bill Clinton is hoping the rest of us are stupid so we won't notice what a mess he's made of the economy. That's the new meaning of his slogan. And the way to get America back on the right track, the fast track to growth and prosperity, starts with letting families keep more of what they earn. It means taming and restraining the federal budget and giving the family budget a long overdue break, so that more spending decisions remain on Main Street USA and fewer on Pennsylvania Avenue in the District of Columbia. It means curing a wasteful spending addiction this administration is hooked on so that we can cut taxes, including the Clinton stealth tax, pull our nation out of the Clinton growth deficit and release our country from the Clinton crunch. It remains replacing uncertainty with security, replacing hopelessness with jobs, and replacing doubt with opportunity, and it all starts with replacing the Clinton administration in Washington on November 5. (applause) It won't happen unless that happens.
Well, I've been talking here today about economics. But the real issue is even deeper than any numbers could represent. It goes to the heart of why we want to balance the budget and cut taxes. It underlies all our goals in reforming the welfare morass, of rebuilding our military and strengthening our courts. Above all, it's about leadership. It's about will. It's about telling the truth. It's about doing the right thing. It's about making tough decisions. It's about standing up for America, standing up for America. And as great as we are today, there is no doubt in my mind that our best days and years are ahead of us, and I want to take us in the next century full speed ahead, a better country, more jobs, more opportunities for Americans everywhere. And with your help, we'll get it done.