Date: 29 Jun 92 08:40:24 EDT
From: Clinton for President <75300.3115@CompuServe.COM>
Subject: Putting People First Plan
CLINTON UNVEILS NATIONAL ECONOMIC STRATEGY TO PUT PEOPLE FIRST
June 21, 1992
Governor Bill Clinton today unveiled a "National Economic Strategy for America" that will create economic growth and put Americans back to work while halving the federal deficit.
Clinton will take his plan directly to the people by introducing it to undecided voters during a televised town hall meeting broadcast on WSB-TV Atlanta and several other stations.
"My strategy puts people first by investing more than $50 billion dollars each year over the next four years to put America back to work -- the most dramatic economic growth program since World War II," Clinton said.
"These investments will create millions of high-wage jobs and provide tax relief to working families," he added.
Clinton's National Economic Strategy also outlines plans to provide lifetime learning opportunities, ensure affordable health care coverage for every American, increase the number of community police, and help move people from welfare to work.
To pay for these investments and reduce the national deficit, the Clinton strategy outlines nearly $300 billion in savings over the next four years. These savings would be generated by cutting wasteful government spending, forcing the very wealthy to pay their fair share of taxes, closing corporate tax loopholes, and implementing rigorous health care cost controls.
These savings will reduce the size of the federal deficit by half over the next four years, reversing the trend of the last four years in which the deficit has doubled.
"Millions of hard-working Americans struggle to make ends meet while their government no longer fights for their values or their interests," Clinton said. "This betrayal of democracy must stop."
Highlights of Clinton's National Economic Strategy include:
Putting America to work by rebuilding our country, converting from a defense to a peacetime economy, revitalizing our cities, encouraging private investment and opening up world markets.
Rewarding work and families by providing tax fairness to working families, ending welfare as we know it, providing family leave and cracking down on deadbeat parents.
Supporting lifetime learning by bringing parents and children together, improving schools, training high school graduates, retraining workers, and offering every American the chance to borrow money for college and serve our nation in return.
Providing quality affordable health care by radically controlling costs, reducing paperwork, phasing in universal access to basic medical coverage and cracking down on drug manufacturers and insurance companies.
Revolutionizing government by cutting 100,000 unnecessary Federal positions, eliminating wasteful spending, stopping the revolving door from public office to private lobbying, limiting special interests and reforming campaign financing and practices.
"No American will agree with all the details of my plan," Clinton said, "But you have a right to know what I'll do and where I stand."
Clinton plans to elaborate on his strategy in major speeches to the annual U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting Monday, June 22nd, in Houston, Texas, and the National Association of Manufacturers in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, June 24th.
Our political system isn't working either. Washington is dominated by powerful interests and an entrenched bureaucracy. Americans are tired of blame. They are ready for a leader willing to take responsibility.
My national economic strategy puts people first by investing more than $50 billion each year for the next four years while cutting the deficit in half. These investments will create millions of high-wage jobs and help America compete in the global economy. They include:
Putting America to work by rebuilding our country, converting from a defense to a peacetime economy, revitalizing our cities, encouraging private investment, and opening up world markets.
Rewarding work by providing tax fairness to working families, ending welfare as we know it, providing family leave and cracking down on deadbeat parents.
Supporting lifetime learning by bringing parents and children together, improving schools, training high school graduates, offering every American the chance to borrow money to go to college and serve our nation, and retraining workers.
Providing quality, affordable health care by radically controlling costs, reducing paperwork, phasing in universal access to basic medical coverage, and cracking down on drug manufacturers and insurance companies.
Revolutionizing government by cutting 100,000 federal jobs, eliminating wasteful spending, limiting special interests, stopping the revolving door from public office to private lobbying, and reforming campaign finance and practices.
To pay for these investments and reduce our national deficit, I will save nearly $300 billion by cutting spending, closing corporate tax loopholes, forcing the very wealthy to pay their fair share of taxes, and implementing rigorous health care cost control. My plan will cut the deficit in half within four years, and assure that the deficit continues to fall each year after that.
Putting People First
It's time to put people first.
That is the core of my national economic strategy for America. And that will be the fundamental idea that guides my Presidency.
America is the greatest nation on earth. But for more than a decade this country has been rigged in favor of the rich and special interests. While the very wealthiest Americans get richer, middle-class Americans pay more to their government and get less in return. Our government has betrayed the values that make us great, providing opportunity, taking responsibility and rewarding hard work.
For twelve years, the driving idea behind American economic policy has been cutting taxes on the richest individuals and corporations, and hoping that their new wealth would "trickle down" to the rest of us.
This policy has failed.
The Republicans in Washington have compiled the worst economic record in fifty years: the slowest economic growth, slowest job growth, and slowest income growth since the Great Depression. During the 1980s the wealthiest one percent of Americans got 70 percent of the gains. By the end of the decade, American CEOs were paying themselves 100 times more than their workers. Washington stood by while quick-buck artists brought down the Savings and Loan industry, leaving the rest of us with a $500 billion bill.
While the rich cashed in, the forgotten middle class, he people who work hard and play by the rules, took it on the chin. They worked harder for lower incomes and paid higher taxes to a government that failed to produce what we need: good jobs in a growing economy, world-class education, affordable health care, and safe streets and neighborhoods. The working poor had the door of opportunity slammed in their face.
Ten years ago, Americans earned higher wages than anyone else in the world. Now we're tenth, and falling. In Europe and Japan our competitors' economies grew three and four times faster than ours, because their leaders decided to invest in their people and our government did not.
In the emerging global economy, everything is mobile: factories, even entire industries. The only resource that's really rooted in a nation, and the ultimate source of all its wealth D is its people. The only way America can compete and win in the 21st Century is to have the best educated, best trained workforce in the world, linked together by transportation and communication networks second to none.
I believe in free enterprise and the power of market forces. I know economic growth will be the best jobs program we'll ever have. But economic growth does not come without a national economic strategy to invest in people and meet the competition. Today we have no economic vision, no economic leadership and no economic strategy.
Our political system has failed us, too. Washington is dominated by powerful interests and an entrenched bureaucracy. Too many public officials enter the revolving door and emerge as high-priced influence peddlers. Too often those we elect to lead seem to respond more quickly to special interests than to the real problems of real people.
The strategy outlined in the pages that follow is not all-inclusive. There are many other crucial challenges that await the next President: healing the divisions that threaten our society, restoring law and order to our streets and communities, protecting a woman's right to choose, launching a war on AIDS, leading the world in protecting our environment, and securing our interests and human rights around the globe.
But we will reach our goals only if we focus on our country's greatest resource. That is why putting people first is the heart and soul of my national economic strategy, and the key to the American future.
My strategy puts people first by investing more than $50 billion each year over the next four years to put America back to work the most dramatic economic growth program since World War II. My strategy recognizes that the only way to lay the foundation for renewed American prosperity is to spur both public and private investment. To reclaim the future, we must strive to close both the budget deficit and the investment gap.
These investments will create millions of high-wage jobs and provide tax relief to working families. They will also help move people from welfare to work, provide lifetime learning, and ensure affordable health care coverage for every citizen.
To pay for these investments and reduce our national deficit, I will save nearly $300 billion by cutting spending, closing corporate tax loopholes, requiring the very wealthy to pay their fair share of taxes, and implementing rigorous health care cost controls. My plan will cut the deficit in half within four years, and assure that the deficit continues to fall each year after that.
Putting people first demands, above all, that we put America back to work.
For the last twelve years Washington has penalized hard work and sold out American families. As the recession sends working families into poverty, the Republicans throw up their hands instead of rolling up their sleeves.
The results have been devastating. Record numbers of Americans are unemployed and millions more must settle for insecure, low-wage, no-benefit jobs. Small businesses which create most of the new jobs in this country, are starved for capital and credit. Washington continues to grant tax deductions for outrageous executive pay and reward American corporations who move their plants and jobs overseas.
The corrupt do-nothing values of the 1980s must never mislead us again. Never again should the government reward those who speculate in paper, instead of those who put people first. Never again should we sit idly by while the plight of hard-working Americans is ignored. Never again should we pass on our debts to our children while their futures slide silently through our fingers.
My national economic strategy will reward the people who work hard: creating new jobs, starting new businesses and investing in our people and our plants here at home. To restore economic growth, we need to help free enterprise flourish, put our people back to work and learn again how to compete. My plan would:
Shut the door on the "something for nothing" decade by:
Making the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share in taxes;
Ending tax breaks for American companies that shut down their plants here and ship American jobs overseas;
Eliminating deductions for outrageous executive pay; and
Cracking down on foreign companies that prosper here and manipulate tax laws to their advantage.
Rebuild America. The 1980s saw the concrete foundations of the United States crumble as the investment gap widened between America and our global competitors. By the decade's end, Japan and Germany were investing more than 12 times what we spend on roads, bridges, sewers and the information networks and technologies of the future. No wonder they threaten to surpass America in manufacturing by 1996. No wonder we are slipping behind.
To create millions of high-wage jobs and smooth our transition from a defense- to a commercial-based economy, we will rebuild America and develop the world's best communication, transportation and environmental systems. As a prominent part of our commitment to put people first, we will create a Rebuild America Fund, with a $20 billion Federal investment in each year for four years, leveraged with state, local, private sector and pension fund contributions. User fees such as road tolls and solid waste disposal charges will help guarantee these investments.
Just as construction of interstate highways in the 1950s ushered in two decades of unparalleled growth, creating the concrete foundations of the 21st century will help put Americans back to work and spur economic growth. States and localities will be responsible for project development and management. The creation of large predictable markets will stimulate private industry to invest in these new markets and create new high-wage, value-added jobs.
We will focus on four critical areas:
including renovation of our country's roads, bridges and railroads; creation of a high-speed rail network linking our major cities and commercial hubs; development of "smart" highway technology to expand the capacity, speed and efficiency of our major roadways; and development of high-tech short-haul aircraft.
A national information network to link every home, business, lab, classroom and library by the year 2015. To expand access to information, we will put public records, databases, libraries and educational materials on line for public use.
Environmental technology to create the world's most advanced systems to recycle, treat toxic waste and clean our air and water. Funds will also be directed to the development of new, clean, efficient energy sources.
Defense conversion to ensure that the communities and millions of talented workers that won the Cold War don't get left out in the cold. Many of the skills and technologies required to rebuild America are similar to those now used in our defense industries. We will encourage companies that bid on projects to rebuild America to contract work to, or purchase, existing defense facilities; order the Pentagon to conduct a national defense jobs inventory to assist displaced workers; and provide special conversion loans and grants to small business defense contractors.
Investing in communities. While America's greatest cities fall into disrepair, the Republicans in Washington continue to ignore their fate. Private enterprise has abandoned our cities, leaving our young people with few job prospects and declining hopes. To restore urban economic vitality and bring back high-paying jobs to our cities, I will:
Target funding and Community Development Block Grants to rebuild America's urban roads, bridges, water and sewage treatment plants and low-income housing stock, stressing "ready to go" projects. Require companies that bid on these projects to set up a portion of their operations in low-income neighborhoods and employ local residents.
Create a nationwide network of community development banks to provide small loans to low-income entrepreneurs and homeowners in the inner cities. These banks will also provide advice and assistance to entrepreneurs, invest in affordable housing, and help mobilize private lenders.
Fight crime by putting 100,000 new police officers on the streets. We will create a National Police Corps and offer unemployed veterans and active military personnel a chance to become law enforcement officers here at home. We will also expand community policing, fund more drug treatment, and establish community boot camps to discipline first-time non-violent offenders.
Create urban enterprise zones in stagnant inner cities, but only for companies willing to take responsibility. Business taxes and federal regulations will be minimized to provide incentives to set up shop. In return, companies will have to make jobs for local residents a top priority.
Ease the credit crunch in our inner cities by passing a more progressive Community Reinvestment Act to prevent "redlining" and require financial institutions to invest in their communities.
Encouraging private investment in America. Ten years ago, the United States spent about $400 more per person than Japan in capital investment. Today the Japanese invest more than twice as much in their nation as we do. We must either change directions or continue to slide.
To help American business create new jobs and compete in the global economy, we must dramatically increase private investment. My plan would:
Provide a targetted investment tax credit to encourage investment in the new plants and productive equipment here at home that we need to compete in the global economy.
Help small businesses and entrepreneurs by offering a 50 percent tax exclusion to those who take risks by making longterm investments in new businesses.
Make permanent the research and development tax credit to reward companies that invest in groundbreaking technologies.
Create a civilian research and development agency to bring together businesses and universities to develop cutting-edge products and technologies. This agency will increase our commercial research and development spending, and focus its effort in crucial new industries such as biotechnology, robotics, high-speed computing, and environmental technology.
Opening up world markets. Because every $1 billion in expanded American exports will create 20,000 to 30,000 new jobs, we will move aggressively to open foreign markets to quality American goods and services. We will urge our trading partners in Europe and the Pacific Rim to abandon unfair trade subsidies in key sectors like ship building and aerospace, and act swiftly if they fail to respond. We will:
Pass a stronger, sharper "Super 301" trade bill. If other nations refuse to play by our trade rules, we'll play by theirs.
Seek more open markets for American products by negotiating a free trade agreement with Mexico that ensures a more level playing field and protects basic worker rights and environmental standards.
Create an Economic Security Council, similar in status to the National Security Council, with responsibility for coordinating America's international economic policy.
Reform the office of the U.S. Trade Representative by issuing an executive order banning trade negotiators from cashing in on their positions by serving as representatives of foreign corporations or governments. We must transform this office into a corps of trade experts whose primary aim is to serve their country, not sell out for lucrative lobbying paychecks from foreign competitors.
Rewarding Work and Families
Putting our people first means honoring and rewarding those who work hard and play by the rules. It means recognizing that government doesn't raise children, people do. It means that we must reward work, demand responsibility and end welfare as we know it.
The Republicans who run the federal government have abandoned working families. Millions of Americans are running harder and harder just to stay in place. While taxes fall and incomes rise for those at the top of the totem pole, middle-class families pay more and earn less. Wages are flat, good jobs have become scarce and poverty has exploded. Health care costs have skyrocketed, and millions have seen their health benefits disappear.
Today almost one of every five people who works full time doesn't earn enough to support his or her family above the poverty line. Deadbeat parents owe $25 billion in unpaid child support, and have left millions of single-parent families in poverty.
In the 1980s the Republicans once again used welfare as a wedge to divide Americans against each other. They silently hacked away at the programs that keep disadvantaged children healthy and prepare them for school. They talked about "family values," but increased the burden on American families. My national economic strategy will strengthen families and empower all Americans to work. It will break the cycle of dependency and end welfare as we know it. It includes:
Expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit. To ensure that no one with a family who works full-time has to raise their children in poverty, we will expand the Earned Income Tax Credit to make up the difference between a family's earnings and the poverty level. The credit would also be expanded for part-time workers, giving them a greater incentive to work.
Middle class tax fairness. Virtually ever industrialized nation recognizes the importance of strong families in its tax code; we should, too. We will lower the tax burden on middle class Americans by forcing the rich to pay their fare share. Middle class taxpayers will have a choice between a children's tax credit or a significant reduction in their income tax rate.
Welfare-to-work. We will scrap the current welfare system and make welfare a second chance, not a way of life. We will empower people on welfare with the education, training and child care they need for up to two years so they can break the cycle of dependency. After that, those who can work will have to go to work, either by taking a job in the private sector or through community service.
Family and medical leave. Parents should not have to choose between the job they need and the family they love. I will immediately sign into law the Family and Medical Leave Act. This bill will give American workers the right to take 12 weeks of unpaid leave in order to care for a newborn child or sick family members, a right enjoyed by workers in every other advanced industrial nation.
Child support enforcement. We will crack down on deadbeat parents by reporting them to credit agencies, so they can't borrow money for themselves when they're not taking care of their children. We'll use the Internal Revenue Service to collect child support, start a national deadbeat databank, and make it a felony to cross state lines to avoid paying support.
Putting people first demands a revolution in lifetime learning, a concerted effort to invest in the collective talents of our people. Education today is more than the key to climbing the ladder of opportunity. It is an imperative for our nation. Our economic life is on the line.
Government fails when our schools fail. For four years we have heard much talk about "the Education President" but seen no action by government to close the gaps between what our people can achieve and what we ask of them. Washington shows little concern as people pay more and get less for what matters most to them: educating their children.
Millions of our children go to school unprepared to learn. The Republicans in Washington have promised, but never delivered full funding of Head Start, a proven success that gives disadvantaged children a chance to get ahead. And while the states move forward with innovative ways to bring parents and children together, Washington fails to insist on responsibility from parents, teachers, students, and itself.
The 1980s witnessed the emergence of immense education gaps between America and the world, and among our own people. Test scores went down while violence in the schools went up. Too many children did bullet drills instead of fire drills, and too many teachers were assaulted. High school graduates who chose not to go to college saw their incomes drop by 20 percent. While college tuition and living costs skyrocketed, the Republicans tried to slash assistance for middle class families. By the decade's end, nearly one of every two college students was dropping out, most because they simply could no longer afford it.
In an era when what you earn depends on what you learn, education too often stops at the schoolhouse door. While our global competitors invest in their people, American companies spend seven of every ten dollars set aside for employee training on those at the top of the corporate ladder. Top executives float on golden parachutes to a cushy life while hard-working Americans are grounded without the skills they need.
My national economic strategy for America will invest in our people at every stage of their lives. It will put children first by dramatically improving the way parents prepare their children for school, giving students the chance to train for jobs or pay for college, and providing workers with the training and retraining they need to compete in tomorrow's economy.
The main elements include:
Parents and Children Together. We will inspire parents to take responsibility, and empower them with the knowledge they need to help their children enter school ready to learn. As we do in my state, we will help disadvantaged parents work with their children to build an ethic of learning at home that benefits both parent and child. We will fully fund programs that save us several dollars for every one we spend, Head Start, the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program, and other critical initiatives recommended by the National Commission on Children.
Dramatically improve K-12 education. We will overhaul America's public schools to insure that every child has a chance for a world-class education. We will establish tough standards and a national examination system in core subjects like math and science, level the playing field for disadvantaged students, and reduce class sizes. We will give every parent the right to choose the public school his or her child attends, as we have done in Arkansas. In return, we will demand that parents work with their children to keep them in school, off drugs and headed toward graduation.
Safe Schools Initiative. We will provide funds for violence-ridden schools to hire security personnel and purchase metal detectors. We will help cities and states use community policing to put more police officers on the streets in high-crime areas where schools are located.
Youth Opportunity Corps. To help teenagers who drop out of school, we will help communities open centers that give dropouts a second chance. Teenagers will be matched with adults who care about them, and given a chance to develop self-discipline and skills.
National Apprenticeship Program. As President, I will bring business and education leaders together to develop a national apprenticeship system that offers non-college bound students training in a valuable skill, with the promise of a good job when they graduate.
National Service Trust Fund. To give every American the right to borrow money for college, we will scrap the existing student loan program and establish a National Service Trust Fund. Those who borrow from the fund will be able to choose how to repay the balance: either as a small percentage of their earnings over to me, or by serving their communities for one or two years doing work their country needs as teachers, law enforcement officers, health care workers, or peer counselors helping kids stay off drugs and in school.
Worker retraining. We will require every employer to spend 1.5 percent of payroll for continuing education and training, and make them provide the training to all workers, not just executives. Workers will be able to choose advanced skills training, the chance to earn a high school diploma, or the opportunity to learn to read. And we will streamline existing programs by combining the confusing array of publicly-fundedtraining schemes.
quality, affordable health care for all
The American health care system costs too much and does not work. Instead of putting people first, the government in Washington has favored the insurance companies, drug manufacturers, and health care bureaucracies. We cannot build the economy of tomorrow until we guarantee every American the right to quality, affordable health care.
Washington has ignored the needs of middle-class families and let health care costs soar out of control. American drug companies have raised their prices three times faster than the rate of inflation, forcing American consumers to pay up to six times more than Canadians or Europeans for the same drugs. Insurance companies routinely deny coverage to consumers with "pre- existing conditions" and waste billions on bureaucracy and administration. Twelve years ago Americans spent $249 billion on health care. This year we'll spend more than $800 billion.
Health care costs are now the number one cause of bankruptcy and labor disputes. They threaten our ability to compete, adding $700 to the cost of every car made in America. Our complex system chokes consumers and providers with paper, requiring the average doctor to spend 80 hours a month on paperwork. It invites fraud and abuse. We spend more on health care than any nation on earth and don't get our money's worth.
Our people still live in fear. Today almost 60 million Americans have inadequate health insurance or none at all. Every year working men and women are forced to pay more while their employers cover less. Small businesses are caught between going broke and doing right by their employees. Infants die at rates that exceed countries blessed with far fewer resources. Across our nation older Americans live in fear that they will fall ill, and lose everything or bankrupt their children's dreams trying to pay for the care they deserve. America has the potential to provide the world's best, most advanced and cost-effective health care. What we need are leaders who are willing to take on the insurance companies, the drug companies, and the health care bureaucracies and bring health care costs down.
My health care plan is simple in concept but revolutionary in scope. First, we will move to radically control costs, by changing incentives, reducing paperwork and cracking down on drug and insurance company practices. As costs drop, we will phase in guaranteed universal access, through employer or public programs, to basic medical coverage. Companies will be required to insure their employees, with federal assistance in the early years to help them meet their obligations. Health care providers will finally have incentives to reduce costs and improve quality for consumers. American health care will make sense.
My plan will put people first by guaranteeing quality, affordable health care. No American will go without health care but, in return, everyone who can must share the cost of their care. The main elements include:
National spending caps. The cost of health care must not be allowed to rise faster than the average American's income. I will scrap the Health Care Financing Administration and replace it with a health standards board D made up of consumers, providers, business, labor and government, that will establish annual health budget targets and outline a core benefits package.
Universal coverage. Affordable, quality health care will be a right, not a privilege. Under my plan, employers and employees will either purchase private insurance or opt to buy into a high-quality public program. Every American not covered by an employer will receive the core benefits package set by the health standards board.
Managed care networks. Consumers will be able to select from among a variety of local health networks, made up of insurers, hospitals, clinics and doctors. The networks will receive a fixed amount of money for each consumer, giving them the necessary incentive to control costs.
Eliminate drug price gouging. To protect American consumers and bring down prescription drug prices, I will eliminate tax breaks for drug companies that raise their prices faster than Americans' incomes rise.
Take on the insurance industry. To stand up to the powerful insurance lobby and stop consumers from paying billions in administrative waste, we need to streamline the industry. My health plan will institute a single claim form and ban underwriting practices that waste billions to discover which patients are bad risks. Any insurance company that wants to do business will have to take all comers and charge every business in a community the same rate. No company will be able to deny coverage to individuals with pre-existing conditions.
Fight bureaucracy and billing fraud. To control costs and trim the "paper hospital," my plan will replace expensive billing, coding and utilization review functions with a simplified, streamlined billing system. Everyone will carry "smart cards" coded with his or her personal medical information. I will also crack down on billing fraud and remove incentives that invite abuse.
Core benefits package. Every American will be guaranteed a basic health benefits package that includes ambulatory physician care, inpatient hospital care, prescription drugs, and basic mental health. The package will allow consumers to choose where to receive care and include expanded preventive treatments such as pre-natal care, mammograms and routine health screenings. We'll provide more services to the elderly and the disabled by expanding Medicare to include more long-term care.
Equal costs. All businesses, regardless of size, will pay a set amount per person they employ. This system, known as "community rating," will protect small businesses and spread the risk evenly among all companies.
A revolution in government
We cannot put people first and create jobs and economic growth without a revolution in government. We must take away power from the entrenched bureaucracies and special interests that dominate Washington.
We can no longer afford to pay more, and get less, from our government. The answer for every problem cannot always be another program or more money. It is time to radically change the way government operates, to shift from top-down bureaucracy to entrepreneurial government that empowers citizens and communities to change our country from the bottom up. We must reward the people and ideas that work and get rid of those that don't.
It's long past time to clean up Washington. The last twelve years were nothing less than an extended hunting season for high-priced lobbyists and Washington influence peddlers. On streets where statesmen once strolled, a never-ending stream of money now changes hands, tying the hands of those elected to lead.
Millions of hard-working Americans struggle to make ends meet while their government no longer fights for their values or their interests. Washington deregulated the Savings and Loan industry and then tried to hide when it collapsed, leaving taxpayers to foot the bill. Political action committees and other special interests funnel more than $2.5 million every week to Congress, giving incumbents a 12-1 financial advantage over challengers.
During the 1980s the White House staff routinely took taxpayers for a ride to play golf or bid on rare stamps. High-level executive branch employees traded in their government jobs for the chance to make millions lobbying their former bosses. Experts estimate that nearly one of every two senior American trade officials has signed on to work for nations they once faced across the negotiating table.
This betrayal of democracy must stop.
To break the stalemate in Washington, we have to attack the problem at its source: entrenched power and money. We must cut the bureaucracy, limit special interests, stop the revolving door, and cut off the unrestricted flow of campaign funds. The privilege of public service ought to be enough of a perk for the people in government.
I will take the following steps:
Staff reductions. I will reduce the White House staff by 25 percent and challenge Congress to do the same.
Eliminate 100,000 unnecessary positions in the bureaucracy. I will eliminate 100,000 federal government positions through attrition.
Cuts in administrative waste. I will require federal managers and workers to achieve 3 percent across-the-board administrative savings in every federal agency.
Cut wasteful government spending programs. To get rid of spending programs that no longer serve their purpose, I will eliminate taxpayer subsidies for narrow special interests, reform defense procurement and foreign aid, and slash boondoggle projects.
Line item veto. To eliminate pork-barrel projects and cut government waste, I will ask Congress to give me the line item veto.
Special interest tax. To help put government back in the hands of the people, I will ask Congress to eliminate the tax deductions for lobbying expenses by special interests. I will also urge Congress to close the "lawyers' loophole," which allows lawyer-lobbyists to disguise lobbying activities on behalf of foreign government and powerful corporations.
Stop the revolving door. I will require all my top appointees to sign a pledge that, if they work in my Administration, they will refrain for five years after leaving office from lobbying government agencies within their responsibilities. I will require senior officials to pledge never to become registered agents on behalf of any foreign government. I will then challenge members of Congress to do the same.
Lobbyists. I will push for and sign legislation to toughen and streamline lobbying disclosure. The new law will require all individuals and groups to register with the Office of Government Ethics within 30 days after contacting a federal official, lawmaker or lawmaker's aide. Lobbyists will be required to report twice a year on their contacts and expenses. I will instruct the Justice Department to strictly enforce disclosure laws and collect fines.
Campaign finance reform. I will push for and sign strong campaign finance legislation to cap spending on House and Senate campaigns; cut political action committee (PAC) contributions in any race to the legal limit for individuals of $1,000; lower the cost of air time so that TV becomes an instrument of education, not a weapon of political assassination; and require lobbyists who appear before a Congressional committee to disclose the campaign contributions they've made to members of that committee.