Putting People First

Date: 29 Jun 92 08:40:24 EDT
From: Clinton for President <75300.3115@CompuServe.COM>
Subject: Putting People First Plan


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.

The strategy also presents a plan for government and political reform that includes: eliminating 100,000 unnecessary positions in the Federal bureaucracy, closing the revolving door through which senior government officials become lobbyists, and sweeping campaign finance reform.

"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:

"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.

Text of the plan follows:



Governor Bill Clinton

June 21, 1992


: During the 1980s, our government betrayed the values that make America great: providing opportunity, taking responsibility, rewarding work. While the rich got richer, the forgotten middle class, the people who work hard and play by the rules, took it on the chin. They paid higher taxes to a government that gave them little in return. Washington failed to put people first.

No wonder our nation has compiled its worst economic record in fifty years.

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:

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.

No wonder all of us have had enough. Our government doesn't work. People who pay the bills but get little value for their dollar have no voice in Washington. They are tired of hearing politicians blame each other. They are eager for someone to take responsibility and ready for a leader who will challenge all of us to be Americans again.

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.

No American will agree with all the details of my plan. But you have a right to know what I'll do and where I stand.

Putting America to work

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:

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:

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:

lifetime learning

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:

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:

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:

Investments and Savings (in billions)

New investments

     1993 1994 1995 1996

Putting America to work  28.3 34.6 35.4 35.4

Rewarding work and families     3.5       5.5     6.5  7.0

Lifetime learning   10.1 14.25     17.27     21.7

Total     41.9 54.35     59.17     64.1

New Savings

Spending Cuts  26.09     32.42     36.81     44.98

Entitlement Reform  0.6  1.0  1.0  1.8

Tax Fairness   19.8 22.7 23.9 25.3

Closing Corporate Loopholes   11.3 14.4 15.3 17.3

Total     57.79     70.52     77.01     89.38

Deficit Projections
(in billions of dollars)

                    1993      1994      1995      1996

Current deficit*    323.0     268.0     212.0     193.0

Clinton Plan:
moderate growth     295.7     243.0     174.0     141.0

Clinton Plan:
strong growth       282.6     207.02    125.54    75.84

*Based on Congressional Budget Office growth assumptions.

Breakdown of Savings
(in billions of dollars)

                                   1993 1994 1995      1996

Spending cuts
   Defense cuts (beyond Bush)      2.0   8.5  10.5      16.5
   Intelligence cuts               1.0   1.5   1.5       1.5

   Administrative savings*        2.0    5.0    6.5       8.5
   100,000 federal workers        2.0    4.3    4.5       4.5

   Cut White House staff by
      25 percent                  0.01   0.01   0.01      0.01

    Reform debt financing         0.0    2.0   2.0        2.0

    Cut Congressional
      staff by 25 percent         0.1    0.1   0.1        0.1

   Line-item veto to cut
      pork barrel projects        3.8    2.0   2.0        2.0

   Reform Defense Department
      procurement management      5.7    0.0   0.0        0.0
   Reform Defense Department
      inventory system            2.3    2.5   2.5        2.5

   Create comprehensive
      federal agency energy
      conservation program        0.0    0.85 0.85        0.85

   Reducing overhead on
      university research         0.73   0.79 0.79        0.82

   Streamline USDA field
      offices                     0.035  0.075 0.13       0.14

    Special purpose HUD
      grants                       0.12  0.12   0.13      0.13

   Index nuclear waste disposal
      fees for inflation           0.02  0.04   0.06      0.08

    RTC Management Reform          4.0   4.0    4.5       4.6
   End taxpayer subsidies for
      honey producers              0.02  0.02    0.0      0.0

    Consolidate overseas
     broadcasting system           0.08  0.18   0.26      0.27
    Freeze spending on
     federal consultants           0.17  0.19   0.21      0.21
    Consolidate social service
      programs                     0.0   0.27   0.27      0.27

    Reform foreign aid pipeline     2.0   0.0  0.0          0.0

    Total                          26.09  32.42   36.81    44.98

Entitlement reform
   Increase Medicare-B costs
       for those with incomes of
       more than $125,000          0.6    1.0     1.0      1.8

Tax Fairness
   Increase rates on top 2%,
         raise AMT, surtax on
         millionaires              17.8   20.5    21.6      23.0
   Prevent tax fraud on un-
      earned income for the
      wealthy                      2.0     2.2      2.3      2.3

   Total                           19.8    22.7   23.9      25.3

Closing corporate loopholes
Limit corporate deductions
      at $1 million for CEOs       0.1    0.4       0.4      0.4

End incentives for opening
      plants overseas              0.3    0.4       0.4     0.4
Prevent tax avoidance by
      foreign corporations         9.0  11.0      11.5      13.5
Increased fines and taxes for
      corporate polluters       1.8       2.5       2.9     2.9
Eliminate tax deduction for
      lobbying expenses            0.1    0.1       0.1     0.1
 Total                             11.3  14.4     15.3      17.3

 TOTAL NEW SAVINGS            57.79     70.52     77.01   89.38

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