Monday, October 23, 1995
ISSN: 0511-4187; Volume v31; Issue n42
Remarks at a fundraising dinner in Houston, Texas. (President Bill Clinton
Total number of pages for this article: 10 FULL TEXT
� October 17, 1995
� Well, Secretary Bentsen, that was such a wonderful introduction, I
almost forgive you for leaving. [Laughter] The operative word is
"almost." I thank Lloyd and B.A. for their friendship and the gifts
last 50 years of the 20th century is written in the United States, the
work that Lloyd Bentsen did to not only help to get hold of this
terrible out-of-control deficit but to do it in a way that would permit
us to invest in our people and our future and to connect the United
States to the rest of the world through NAFTA, through the GATT world
trade agreement, and in so many other ways will mark him as one of the
greatest Secretaries of the Treasury in the history of the United States
� I want to thank two other Texans who are here who made immeasurable
contributions to our administration: the Secretary of Housing and Urban
Development, Henry Cisneros. If you ask anybody who has followed the
work of that Department in the few decades that it has existed, they.
will tell you that without question he is the best Secretary of Housing
and Urban Development ever to serve in that position. And we're very
proud of him. And my good friend Bill White, who just came home to
Houston after being Deputy Secretary of Energy, thank you, sir. I will
say again that between Bill White and Hazel O'Leary and Ron Brown, the
Secretary of Commerce, they did more to further the energy interest of
the United States and to create jobs in the United States by getting
you, sir, for what you did in that, and I appreciate that very much.
� My heart is fall of gratitude tonight and so many wonderful things
have been said that if I had any sense I'd just sit down. [Laughter] I'm
afraid if I talk on now I'll disqualify myself for reelection. But I m
going to talk anyway. [Laughter]
� I want to thank the statewide chairs of these galas we've had. I have
had two wonderful days in Texas. I thank Arthur Schecter, who made a
wonderful statement earlier, and Joyce; Lee and Sandra Godfrey and Stan
McClellan; Lou Congillan; Sheldon and Sunny Smith; and George Bristol
and Frank and Debbie Branson, who did such a wonderful job for us in
Dallas yesterday. Thank you very much. Thank you, all of you.
� My good friend of nearly 25 years who is only a year younger than me
and looks 15 years younger than me - I resent it bitterly, but I still
love Garry Mauro. Thank you, my friend, and Judith, his wife.
� I'm really glad to see Ann Richards and Mark White here. I used to be
a Governor, you know, back when I had a real life. And we served
together, and we enjoyed it immensely.
� I appreciate Attorney General Morales and former Attorney General
Mattox being here. I told somebody the other day - he said, "What's the
best job you ever had?" And I said, "I was attorney general; that was
the best job I ever had." And they said, "Why?" And I said, "Well, I
didn't have to hire or fire or appoint or disappoint, raise taxes or cut
spending. And every time I did something unpopular, I blamed it on the
Constitution." [Laughter] So, remember that.
� I want to say a special word of thanks to Congresswoman Sheila Jackson
Lee and Congressman Jim Chapman for their work for our country and for
your State in the Congress. And let me say a great word of thanks, too,
to Bob Bullock for what he said and for the private things that he has
said to me in the last 2 days. It's been a great inspiration to me. And
I was sitting there thinking that I could play that talk he was giving
in several States, and it would help us. I wish I could patent it and
send it around like that Ozark water you talked about. [Laughter]
� And finally, let me say a special word of thanks, too, to Mayor Bob
Lanier and his wife, Elise. We came in and we got out of the car - I
close friends who are mayors, but I'm not sure there is any mayor in
America who has the particular combination of compassion and intellect
and old-fashioned practical insight. It's really quite a genius, you
know, to not just talk about problems but to actually do something about
them. And in so many ways, Bob Lanier has done that. And I guess that's
why he got 91 percent last time. He has promised that if you beat it
this time, that he will give me a few that he has to spare in '96.
[Laughter] So I hope that you will do that.
� I want to thank Reverend Caldwell for praying over us tonight and for
his mission and his ministry and for bringing his wonderful wife, who is
a native of my State. His mother-in-law was a supporter and a woman I
got to know, a remarkable woman. I'm delighted to see you here, sir.
Thank you both for coming.
� I'd like to thank Terry McAuliffe and Laura Hartigan and Meredith
Jones, our Texas finance director, for the work they did and all those
who helped them for this fine night. I thank you.
� I also want to say a word on behalf of two people who are not here
to do this last night, but I thanks to the sponsors here in Houston, we
were able to defer this until this evening so that I could go out to
California last night and participate in a national benefit for the
Center on Alcohol and Substance Abuse Prevention, something that is very
important to me because I've dealt with both those issues in my family
and because our administration is committed to making progress on that.
And I thank you for your indulgence, but that kept the Vice President
� I just want to say that even my severest detractors, when our
administration's history is written, will say that Al Gore was the most
influential Vice President in 219 years of the American Republic. And I
thank him for his work on the environment, on reinventing Government, on
technology, on helping us with Russia. But most of all, I thank him just
for being there.
� When we work together, I wonder what all of those other Presidents did
and why they didn't do more with this incredibly flexible office. The
only thing the Vice President really has to do is to sort of show up in
the Senate when there is a tie vote, and hang around waiting for
a few more sit-ups and - [laughter] - you know, do what I can to avoid
that. So, you know, you've got a fellow with a high IQ and a reasonable
amount of energy, it seems like a shame just to let him hang around.
[Laughter] And I really think he's done a magnificent job. I'm so proud
of him, and we have a genuine partnership.
� I'd also like to say that I know that the First Lady would like to be
here with us tonight, but as some of you doubtless know, she has been on
a very, very successful trip to Latin America. She went to Nicaragua, to
Chile, to Brazil, and to Paraguay. And since the people of Texas
understand better than any other people in the United States how
important our partnership with Latin America is, I hope you will excuse
� I've been trying to think of what I ought to talk about tonight. You
saw a movie about the accomplishments of the administration, and then
Secretary Bentsen was kind enough to get up and talk about it, and
others did. What I'd like to do is to give you some arguments for the
next year. I've heard all this talk about how the Democratic Party is
dead because we don't have any new ideas or we're too liberal or we're
elections with those arguments, we're better at doing and they're better
at talking. So I want to give you some talking tonight, if I could.
� I have learned a few things about the limits of liberalism. I heard a
story the other day my - senior Senator, Dale Bumpers, called me and
told me a story I want to share with you about the limits of liberalism,
involving Huey Long, the famous populist Governor and Senator of
Kentucky. One day, you know, when we were in the middle of the
Depression and we had - I mean, Louisiana. [Laughter] I've got a
Kentucky story I wanted to tell, but I decided, upon reflection, I
shouldn't tell it. So my conscience is clicking in on me.
� Anyway, when - do you remember, Huey Long - those of you who are old
enough to remember when he was Governor and then later Senator, he
campaigned around the State and then around the country on this "share
the wealth" platform. He came up north to Arkansas, actually, and helped
a woman named Hattie Caraway get elected to the Senate. The first woman
in American history ever elected to the Senate in her own right was
Hattie Caraway from Arkansas. And the only time anybody ever came into
our State as an outsider and helped anybody win an election was Huey
America, and the per capita income of Arkansas, Louisiana, and
Mississippi was only about half the national average. So you could say
whatever you want to about sharing the wealth, and you had a pretty
� And he was out on a country crossroads one day, talking about how we
ought to share the wealth. And there were all these farmers standing
around. He saw this old boy in overalls, and he said, "Farmer Jones," he
said, "let me ask you something." He said, "Now, if you had three
Cadillacs, wouldn't you give us one so we could go around here on these
country roads and pick up these kids and take them to school during the
week and take them to church on Sunday?" He said, "Of course, I would."
He said, "If you had $3 million, wouldn't you give us a million dollars
so we could put a roof over every family's head and give them a good
meal at night and breakfast in the morning?" He said, "You bet I would."
He said, "If you had three hogs -" and he said, "Now, wait a minute,
Governor, I've got three hogs." [Laughter] So the Democrats, to be fair,
have learned a few things about the limits of liberalism. [Laughter]
� Here's what I think is going on. This is a time of extraordinary
industrial age to an information and a technology age. We're moving out
of the cold-war era into a global village, where we're all closer
together than ever before and where there are vast new opportunities for
cooperation existing alongside the new security threats of terrorism,
biological and chemical warfare, organized crime, and global drug
trafficking. What we have to do is to harness all this change to make
America a better place.
� I ran for President with a clear mission in my own mind to try to take
good care of this country to achieve two objectives in the 21st century:
One was to make sure that the American dream was alive and well for all
people without regard to their race, their income, or their region. And
the second was to make sure that America continued to be the strongest
country in the world, so that someone could lead the world after the
cold war toward greater freedom and greater democracy and greater
security and greater prosperity. That's what I wanted to do.
� I said at the time that I thought we would have to move beyond the old
political debate that parties had been having for many years toward what
I called a new democratic philosophy. And I'd just like to go over what
� I said I thought our economic policy ought to be based on growth, not
dividing the pie but growing the economy more; that we ought to do
whatever it took to maintain our world leadership but that we couldn't
be involved in everybody's problem everywhere; that we needed a new form
of Government that would be smaller and less bureaucratic, would be more
entrepreneurial, would give more responsibility to State and local
governments and to the private sector, would embrace all kinds of new
ideas, but would still fulfill our fundamental obligations that can only
be done by the National Government; and that all of this ought to be
done based on a reassertion of old-fashioned mainstream values that I
think got lost over the last 10 or 20 years: that we needed both
responsibility and opportunity in our country, that people had to be
able to succeed both at work and in their family lives, that we had to
have both growth and fairness in our country, and that in the end we had
to decide, as Mayor Lanier said, to be a community. We had to decide
that we had certain obligations to one another. That's what people in a
we're just a crowd. We occupy the same piece of land, but we're just
going to elbow each other until whoever is strongest winds up at the
front of the line. And we never will turn over our shoulder to see what
happened to the others. Being a community means you have obligations to
our parents, to our children, to those who need help through no fault of
their own. It also means that we revel in and cherish and build up our
diversity, we don't use it as a cheap political trick to divide the
American people. That's what it means.
� Now, what I want to say to you tonight is that I believe I've been
faithful to that and I believe this country is moving in the right
direction, thanks mostly to the American people. But I believe that our
administration has made its contributions.
� You heard what was said about the economy, about the growth of the
economy. The misery index that the other party used to talk about so
much, the combined rates of unemployment and inflation, you never hear
them mention it anymore because it's at the lowest level it's been in 25
the largest number of new small businesses incorporated in the last 2
1/2 years of any comparable period in American history; that we've got,
thanks in no small measure to the remarkable partnership Henry Cisneros
has established with the housing industry in America, we have 2 1/2
million new homeowners, a record number for such a short time. And if he
keeps going, we're going to have two-thirds of the American people in
their own homes by the end of the decade, something that has never been
� Most of the credit goes to the American people, but the fact that we
drove down the deficit while increasing our investment in technology, in
research, in the education of our people, and that we expanded trade
dramatically - up 4 percent in '93, 10 percent in '94, 16 percent in '95
- those things have made a contribution to that economic picture because
we broke the mold.
� We brought down the deficit and invested in our people. We went for
free trade with NAFTA and GATT in 80 agreements with other countries,
including 15 with Japan. But we also went for fair trade that looked
after labor standards and the environment and that finally, finally got
issues. These are important things that will make a difference over the
long run. And I think they're worthy of support.
� You heard what Mr. Schecter said about the role the United States has
played in world peace; I won't belabor that. I will tell you that this
is also a safer country than it was 2 1/2 years ago. There are no
Russian missiles pointed at anyone in America for the first time since
the dawn of the nuclear age. We are moving toward a comprehensive
nuclear test ban treaty next year. We have extended indefinitely the
agreement of over 170 nations not to be proliferators of nuclear
weapons. We are making progress in working with other countries in
fighting terrorism, in fighting the spread of biological and chemical
weapons, in trying to make the American people safer. I am proud of
that. And we have to continue to do it.
� This Bosnia issue has been difficult, but we must lead here. And if we
can get a peace agreement, as the leader of NATO, we have to help
implement it. Otherwise, we will have a terrible problem in the middle
of Europe that can engulf us in the future.
income inequality. You always have that when you change from one
economic arrangement to another and everything gets shaken up. The
people that are best positioned to do well, do very well. Those that
aren't positioned to do well get hurt worse. And we have to do something
about that. And I've put forward a program to do that, to offer more
educational opportunities, to raise the minimum wage, to give middle
income families a tax deduction for the cost of a college education so
that more people can get that education.
� We have to deal with that, but let's see it in the context of what's
happening. This country is generating jobs and growth and opportunity.
There will always be problems as long as the world exists. We need to
focus on the problems but keep doing what is working in America.
� If you look at the issue of Government - Lloyd Bentsen said the
Government's 165,000 smaller than it was when I took office; let me tell
you what that means. Next year, the Federal Government will be the
smallest it's been since Kennedy was President. But more importantly, as
a percentage of the work force, the Federal Government today is the
smallest it's been since 1933. I hardly think that qualifies us to be
the party of big Government.
� We've done more to give authority to States to get out from under
Federal rules on welfare and health care experiments than the last two
administrations combined did in 12 years. We have done more to get rid
of thousands and thousands of pages of regulations. We are trying to
make this Government work. Does it still do dumb things? Of course. Do
we make mistakes? You bet we do. Is the answer to abolish the Federal
Government? No. No. The answer is to have it be smaller but make it so
it can still protect people.
� This is a fundamental decision that's at issue in this election
season, that's at issue in this budget fight. Do you really believe that
the market will solve all problems and we'd be better off without any
Government? Are you willing to tolerate the occasional mistake of a
Government that is transforming itself radically in order to know that
somebody is there looking out for the public interest and our
obligations to one another as a community.
� Do we need to do more? Of course, we do. I still want the line-item
veto, lobby reform, campaign finance reform. There's lots of things we
is to reform the National Government, not to dismantle it. That is the
answer. That's what will work for America. That is the right approach.
� If you look at whether we've furthered our values or not, let me tell
you that I want to give you some statistics that will support what you
saw yesterday in that march. Forget about all the speeches and all the
politics about it and everything; just remember the faces of the people
that were at that march yesterday. Listen to what they said. That march
was about them and their desire to reassert responsibility for
themselves, their families, their communities. Their understanding that
until everybody in America is willing to do their part, then the
Government can't fix the problems, no one else can - that is a beautiful
and awesome thing, and no one should denigrate it and no one should
� What I tried to do at the University of Texas yesterday was to give a
clear voice to what I believe was in the hearts and minds of most of the
people who showed up there yesterday. But I believe it's in the hearts
and minds of most Americans. And I think it is a great tragedy that
people who basically share the same values and, frankly, have a lot of
the same problems often cannot reach across the divide at one another.
� But what I want to tell you is, this country, even more than what you
saw at the march yesterday, across racial and gender and age and
regional lines, there is a reawakening in this country, a sort of a
coming back to common sense and shared values and a determination to go
into the future with greater strength and character and devotion to the
things that make life worth living.
� And I'll just give you a few examples of that. In the last 2 1/2
years, the crime rate is down, the murder rate is down, the welfare
rolls are down, the food stamp rolls are down, the poverty rate is down,
the teen pregnancy rate is down. A lot of people don't know that. Now,
no Government program did that. That's the folks that live in this
country getting themselves together and sort of - you know, we're a
great big, complicated country, and we change slowly, but that's an
awesome thing when you think about that.
� Now, I think our policies helped. I think we helped when we cut taxes
on 15 million working families who were making modest incomes, so that
we'd be able to say, if you work 40 hours a week and you've got kids in
thing to do. I think that was an honorable thing to do.
� I think the family and medical leave law helped. I don't think people
ought to lose their jobs if their parents get sick or their baby's born
and they need to be there.
� I think the 35 States who we gave permission to experiment with
welfare reform - I think that helped. I'll give you an example. One
thing that they're doing in Texas that I agree with is they have asked
for permission to get out from under Federal rules so that they can say
if you want a welfare check and you've got a child, you have to prove
your child has been immunized against serious diseases. We have one of
the lowest immunization rates in the country. I think it's a great idea.
It's a great idea.
� And I hope - I think the crime bill helped. I appreciate what Mayor
Lanier said. I was very moved by what I saw that he was trying to do in
Houston when I ran for President. And that crime bill, by putting
100,000 police on the street and community policing is helping America
to lower the crime rate, but also by emphasizing the prevention and
the crime rate. And I want to say more about that in a minute.
� I just want you to remember this little moment from yesterday's speech
in Texas - at the University of Texas, I mean. I tried to say that a lot
of what has to be done to bridge the racial divide requires first the
assumption of personal responsibility by all Americans without regard to
race. Second, the ability to talk honestly and listen carefully to one
another - we don't do enough of that. We still haven't even scratched
the surface of that. But thirdly, there are responsibilities of things
we have to do. One of the big fights I'm in now with Congress is whether
we ought to just get rid of all this money for prevention. Now, they say
they like this, giving the States and localities the right to spend the
money; that's what we did. We said, here's the prevention money. I don't
know what works in Houston and whether it would work in Hartford,
Connecticut. I know one thing, you get enough kids in these programs
playing soccer after school or learning to play golf or doing whatever
else these kids are doing, you get all of them in there, and your crime
rate is going to go down. You're going to save a lot of kids' lives. You
won't have to spend all that money building jails and putting them in
prison. You can spend less money and educate them and have them do well.
I believe that.
� I have always believed we should be very tough on crime. I have always
believed that in some crimes you just have to give up and be
unforgiving. But I am often reminded of one of my favorite lines of
poetry that was written in the context of the turmoil in Ireland but
applies to the children growing up alone on these mean streets today.
William Butler Yeats once said, "Too long a sacrifice can make a stone
of the heart." And we shouldn't forget that.
� Our biggest problem today is, in spite of all those good numbers I
told you, in spite of the fact - one thing I didn't say is that drug
usage among young adults is down - in spite of all that, the violent
crime rate among juveniles in most cities is up. Casual drug use,
especially marijuana, among young teenagers - not young adults, among
teenagers - is up. Why? Because there's too many of those kids out there
raising themselves. And nobody's looking after them and making sure they
have something to do, something to say yes to. The mayor told me that
the juvenile crime rate is not going up in Houston because those kids
are being engaged.
do more of this, to do more things consistent with our basic values, not
to do less, not to do less.
� This is a great country. We are getting our act together culturally
and socially. And our economy is going great. What we have to do is to
figure out how to spread the benefits of the economy to people who don't
have it and how to deal with the social and cultural problems that need
some help from the outside, that can't be totally solved by individuals
and families on their own. This is what I want you to think about: That
means that a great deal of the rhetoric in Washington today is
irrelevant to what we have to do, to the future, and that's what bothers
me about it.
� Now, you want to deal with yesterday's rhetoric - and the Republicans
say, "Well, Clinton's liberal; the Democrats are liberal; they love big
Government" - you got a few questions you can ask them. You say, "Well,
if that's true, of the last three Presidents, who cut the deficit more?
Who was the only one to present a balanced budget? Who reduced
regulation more? Who gave more authority to State and local governments
to get out from under the Federal Government more of the last three
small businesses?" Believe it or not, we did in 1993, thanks to Lloyd
Bentsen. Those are all facts. Who had the most pro-family welfare and
child support and tax policies? We did.
� But that is not the argument we need to make. I want you to say that;
maybe that will open some people's ears and eyes. But that's not what
this is about. This is not about politics. This is about the people of
the United States, about our future, about how we're going to get into
the 21st century, remember, with the American dream alive for everybody,
with America the strongest country in the world. That is the mission.
The mission is what happens to the people - not what happens to the
politicians, not what happens to the political parties - what happens to
the people of the United States of America.
� And I ask you to consider just two things as I move out of this and
leave you here and go back to work. First is, in a time of change the
President has to do what is right for the long run, which means
inevitably he will do things that will be unpopular in the short run.
Now, that is absolutely true. I'd bet everything I've got in the bank,
which isn't all that much - [laughter] - that I've done four or five
sometimes I've been wrong. But I show up every day. [Laughter] But the
point I want to make here, what I want to say is, you have to understand
that when things are changing so quickly and the moment is there, you
cannot even imagine what will be popular in a month or a year in a time
of change like this. You have to think about what it would look like in
10 or 20 years.
� When Lloyd Bentsen and I - he didn't tell you the whole story - I'll
tell you the whole story about that budget - probably people in this
room still mad at me at that budget because you think I raised your
taxes too much. It might surprise you to know that I think I raised them
too much, too. But you know why we did it? Because we had been in
Washington - you ask - we had been in Washington one week when the
then-minority leaders of the House and Senate, now the Senate majority
leader and the Speaker of the House, informed us that we would not get
not one single, solitary vote from the other party for our budget, no
matter what we did, and were very candid. They said, "We want to be in a
position to blame you if the economy continues to go down. And if it
goes up, we want to be in a position to attack you forraising taxes,
whether you raise taxes on people or not. You're going to raise taxes on
not a one of us."
� Well, needless to say, we had information, as you heard Secretary
Bentsen say, that if we could get the deficit down $500 billion in 5
years, we could lower interest rates and boom the economy. And so we
decided, even with only Democrats voting for it, we would have to make
whatever decisions would be necessary to do that, even though it meant a
little more tax and a little less spending cut than we wanted. And we
reasoned - and I remember him telling me this, he said, "I'm going to
pay more, but most people will make a whole lot more money if we get
this economy going than they'll pay in extra taxes." And that's exactly
what happened. It was the right thing for America for the long run, even
though it was difficult politics in the short run. It was the right
thing to do.
� You know and I know they cut us a new one in Texas over the assault
weapons ban and the Brady bill. [Laughter] But let me tell you
something. Since we adopted the Brady bill, last year, 1994, there were
40,000 felons who did not get handguns and didn't have a chance to shoot
innocent Americans because of it.
through the FDA to try to crack down on teenage smoking and restrain
advertising directed at teenagers, all the political advice was, "Don't
do that. Don't do that, because if you do that, everybody that's against
you will vote against you, and everybody that's for you can find some
other reason to vote against you."
� That's why things often don't get done, by the way, in national
politics. [Laughter] Because organized, intense, minority interests will
all vote against you and will terrify whoever they can terrify if you do
such and such a thing, and then everybody that agrees with you will find
some other reason to be against you. So it paralyzes the political
� But we studied this problem for 14 months. Three thousand kids a day
start smoking; 1,000 of them are going to die earlier because of it. How
much political hit is 1,000 lives a day worth? I think it's worth a
whole lot. It's the right thing to do. Twenty years from now, there will
be a lot more kids alive because of the initiatives of the
administration. It is the right thing to do.
there's a poll in - the Washington Post came out, the poll was 81-15
against what I did. I thought it just another day at the office.
� But the American people could not possibly see ahead 10, 20 years to
what would happen to the United States if the economy of Mexico failed
and the financial markets in Argentina and Brazil collapsed. And our
whole strategy for growing the American economy in the 21st century in a
world economy, but starting in our backyard with Mexico and the rest of
Latin America and then moving to Asia, Europe, and other places would be
wrecked. And our ability to cooperate in fighting drugs and in dealing
with illegal immigration and all these things would have been
� So I said to myself, "Yes, it's unpopular, but this is a good country.
People are fairminded. Maybe it will work out in the next year or two.
But whether it does or not, 20 years from now, it will look like a very
good decision." That is the way we all have to begin to think. And when
we do, then we can begin to dismiss out of hand these trivial wedge
issues that are designed to divide us and drive a stake in our hearts.
� I applaud the mayor for not abandoning affirmative action. It's not
time yet. It's not time yet. It's not time yet. We had so many different
programs in Washington, there were things wrong with them. We're trying
to fix them. And any time you do anything, if you do it long enough,
somebody will make a mistake, and then someone else can go find it, and
they can blow it up in a 30-second ad and make it look like, you know,
you can't find your way home at night. [Laughter] But it is not time
� If we haven't learned anything from the last few weeks, we should have
learned that. We have still got work to do to make sure everybody has a
chance to participate on fair and equal terms in the bounty of America.
� So these are the things we have to do, and that's what I want you to
see. Now, having said that, I want you to see this fight over the budget
in these terms.
� Let me tell you as you leave here, this is not about balancing the
budget. For the first time since Lyndon Johnson was President, the
budget. That is a very good thing. I applaud the Republican leadership
for that. This is not about slowing the rate of medical inflation and
securing the Medicare Trust Fund for the first time in a good while.
We're both committed to that. The issue is, how are we going to do it,
and are we going to do it in a way that is consistent with our values
and with common sense and bringing us together?
� Now, my budget is a good, credible, conservative budget. It gets rid
of hundreds of programs. But it does not - it does not, in this age, gut
education or research or technology. I want everybody to get on that
information superhighway and ride straight into the 21st century, and it
is nuts for us to cut education if we're going to do that. It is wrong.
And it doesn't hurt families. I can't imagine my getting a deduction for
Chelsea's college costs, which is what would happen under their bill,
and turn around and raising taxes on families making $20,000 a year
trying to support three children. But that's exactly what they do.
That's wrong. That is wrong. It doesn't make sense, and it's wrong.
� And on the health care issue, you may think there's a lot of
demagoguery in it, but let me tell you - we have got to slow the rate of
up less than inflation this year for the first time in 10 years. We can
fix this. But we do not want to cut Medicare so much.
� Listen to this. This is their proposal: Cut Medicare so much that we
stop paying the copay requirements for really poor elderly people.
You've got a lot - a bunch of old folks out there living on $300 a
month. And the way this budget, their budget, is written now, they get
hit the hardest. We stopped - because right now, we pay their copays and
their deductibles because they don't have enough money to live on. And
it's estimated a million elderly people could drop out of the Medicare
system if the budget passed. We don't have to do that. We don't have to
� And we don't have to go back to the time where we say to an elderly
couple, if they're lucky enough to both live and be happy, and they're
way up in their seventies or eighties, and they're still together, but
they don't have much money, and one of them needs to go into a nursing
home, we don't have to go back to the time when you could tell the
person that's not going into the nursing home, "You've got to sell your
house. You've got to sell your car. You've got to clean out your bank
those people that choice? I don't. We don't have to. It's in their
budget, but we don't need it to balance the budget. And I'm going to
fight it. It's not right. It's not right.
� Do you really want to take thousands of kids out of the chance to be
in the Head Start program or cut the number of college scholarships for
poor kids at the time when we need more children going to college? What
do you think it's going to do to the racial dialog in this country when
you need more and more and more education? Look around here. If we'd had
this dinner 20 years ago and charged us to get in, would there have been
any black people here? Would there have been any Hispanic people here?
No. How do you think they got here? They have good educations. What are
we going to do - does that make any sense? No.
� I could go on and on and on. This is - they want to get rid of the
Commerce Department. Who do you think is opening all these doors for all
these Texas energy companies in these countries that many people just
learned existed a couple of years ago? [Laughter] The Commerce
Department, the Energy Department, the United States of America, working
in partnership with our business interests to create jobs here in
do that? We don't have to, and it doesn't make any sense.
� Let me tell you something about the Medicaid program. This is the last
one I'll mention. This is big for Houston. The Medicaid program: Most
people think that that's that program for health care for poor people on
welfare. Well, that's sort of true. About 30 percent of the Medicaid
program goes to pay for health care mostly for children of welfare
families; 70 percent of it goes to help older people who don't have a
lot of money in their nursing homes or home health care, or to help the
disabled population in America.
� And when that happens, it means that their middle class children, if
you're talking about nursing homes, or their middle class brothers and
sisters and parents, if you're talking about the disabled, are therefore
able to save the money they have and educate their children and maintain
a middle class lifestyle. And it holds us together. I don't know a
single, solitary health care provider in the United States of America
who believes we can maintain the quality of health care we've got now
for all those people if we put these Medicaid cuts in.
time. Why? Because the Medicaid program gives extra money to university
teaching hospitals, gives extra money to children's hospitals, gives
extra money to inner-city hospitals, gives extra money to rural
hospitals in all those little towns in Texas that are 90 miles from
nowhere and wouldn't be able to give health care if they didn't have
country hospitals out there. What's going to happen to that? Is that
what you want? I'm not for that. We don't have to do that.
� And then there are all those little curlicues in the budget. You know
how they're giving everything to the States, right? The States are the
source of all wisdom now - [laughter] - all wisdom. They're never going
to make a mistake. We're giving everything to the States except a few
things. For example, they've decided that Texas, even though Texas just
passed a tort reform law, you don't have enough sense to do your own
laws. So they want to take away your right to decide what your
malpractice laws are and what all your other laws are. They want to just
take that away. All of a sudden, you can do everything but decide what
your legal system is.
� And last week - you know what they did last week? This is an amazing
give the Medicaid program back to the States in a block grant. Now,
we're going to cut their money by 30 percent, but we're sure they'll do
fine because they're so much more efficient than we are, they can get
lower costs." And the next vote - I mean within the same hour they voted
to stop States from being able to bargain with drug companies to get
cheaper prescription drugs. [Laughter]
� This is not about balancing the budget. This is about whether you
believe America should be a winner-take-all society or a society where
everybody has a chance to win. That's what this is about. It's about
whether you believe that the market can solve every problem in the
world, or that all human systems are imperfect and democracies are
instituted to find fair ways to treat people fairly so we can go forward
� I'm telling you, folks, this country is in better shape than it was 2
years ago. Part of it is because we have had a good economic policy.
We've had good social policies. We've done the right things by the
Government. We stood up for America around the world. But a big part of
it is, the American people are changing the way they live and think, and
that budget. And I'm going to do my best to see that you get it. It is
the right thing for America. And I want you to help me. And I want you
to fight for it because it's right for you.
� Thank you, and God bless you all.
� NOTE: The President spoke at 8:15 p.m. in the Westin Galleria Hotel.
In his remarks, he referred to former Secretary of the Treasury Lloyd
Bentsen and his wife, B.A.; former Texas Governors Ann Richards and Mark
White; Texas Attorney General Dan Morales and former Texas Attorney
General Jim Mattox; Lt. Gov. Bob Bullock; Texas Land Commissioner Garry
Mauro; and Terence McAuliffe, national finance chair, and Laura
Hartigan, national finance director, Clinton-Gore '96.