The addresses are separated by three asterisks: ***
Dates of addresses by Jimmy Carter in this eBook: January 19, 1978 January 25, 1979 January 21, 1980 January 16, 1981
State of the Union Address Jimmy Carter January 19, 1978
Two years ago today we had the first caucus in Iowa, and one year ago tomorrow, I walked from here to the White House to take up the duties of President of the United States. I didn't know it then when I walked, but I've been trying to save energy ever since.
I return tonight to fulfill one of those duties of the Constitution: to give to the Congress, and to the Nation, information on the state of the Union.
Militarily, politically, economically, and in spirit, the state of our Union is sound.
We are a great country, a strong country, a vital and dynamic country, and so we will remain.
We are a confident people and a hardworking people, a decent and a compassionate people, and so we will remain.
I want to speak to you tonight about where we are and where we must go, about what we have done and what we must do. And I want to pledge to you my best efforts and ask you to pledge yours.
Each generation of Americans has to face circumstances not of its own choosing, but by which its character is measured and its spirit is tested.
There are times of emergency, when a nation and its leaders must bring their energies to bear on a single urgent task. That was the duty Abraham Lincoln faced when our land was torn apart by conflict in the War Between the States. That was the duty faced by Franklin Roosevelt when he led America out of an economic depression and again when he led America to victory in war.
There are other times when there is no single overwhelming crisis, yet profound national interests are at stake.
At such times the risk of inaction can be equally great. It becomes the task of leaders to call forth the vast and restless energies of our people to build for the future.
That is what Harry Truman did in the years after the Second World War, when we helped Europe and Japan rebuild themselves and secured an international order that has protected freedom from aggression.
We live in such times now, and we face such duties.
We've come through a long period of turmoil and doubt, but we've once again found our moral course, and with a new spirit, we are striving to express our best instincts to the rest of the world.
There is all across our land a growing sense of peace and a sense of common purpose. This sense of unity cannot be expressed in programs or in legislation or in dollars. It's an achievement that belongs to every individual American. This unity ties together, and it towers over all our efforts here in Washington, and it serves as an inspiring beacon for all of us who are elected to serve.
This new atmosphere demands a new spirit, a partnership between those of us who lead and those who elect. The foundations of this partnership are truth, the courage to face hard decisions, concern for one another and the common good over special interests, and a basic faith and trust in the wisdom and strength and judgment of the American people.
For the first time in a generation, we are not haunted by a major international crisis or by domestic turmoil, and we now have a rare and a priceless opportunity to address persistent problems and burdens which come to us as a nation, quietly and steadily getting worse over the years.
As President, I've had to ask you, the Members of Congress, and you, the American people, to come to grips with some of the most difficult and hard questions facing our society.
We must make a maximum effort, because if we do not aim for the best, we are very likely to achieve little. I see no benefit to the country if we delay, because the problems will only get worse.
We need patience and good will, but we really need to realize that there is a limit to the role and the function of government. Government cannot solve our problems, it can't set our goals, it cannot define our vision. Government cannot eliminate poverty or provide a bountiful economy or reduce inflation or save our cities or cure illiteracy or provide energy. And government cannot mandate goodness. Only a true partnership between government and the people can ever hope to reach these goals.
Those of us who govern can sometimes inspire, and we can identify needs and marshal resources, but we simply cannot be the managers of everything and everybody.
We here in Washington must move away from crisis management, and we must establish clear goals for the future, immediate and the distant future, which will let us work together and not in conflict. Never again should we neglect a growing crisis like the shortage of energy, where further delay will only lead to more harsh and painful solutions.
Every day we spend more than $120 million for foreign oil. This slows our economic growth, it lowers the value of the dollar overseas, and it aggravates unemployment and inflation here at home.
Now we know what we must do, increase production. We must cut down on waste. And we must use more of those fuels which are plentiful and more permanent. We must be fair to people, and we must not disrupt our Nation's economy and our budget.
Now, that sounds simple. But I recognize the difficulties involved. I know that it is not easy for the Congress to act. But the fact remains that on the energy legislation, we have failed the American people. Almost 5 years after the oil embargo dramatized the problem for us all, we still do not have a national energy program. Not much longer can we tolerate this stalemate. It undermines our national interest both at home and abroad. We must succeed, and I believe we will.
Our main task at home this year, with energy a central element, is the Nation's economy. We must continue the recovery and further cut unemployment and inflation.
Last year was a good one for the United States. We reached all of our major economic goals for 1977. Four million new jobs were created, an alltime record, and the number of unemployed dropped by more than a million. Unemployment right now is the lowest it has been since 1974, and not since World War II has such a high percentage of American people been employed.
The rate of inflation went down. There was a good growth in business profits and investments, the source of more jobs for our workers, and a higher standard of living for all our people. After taxes and inflation, there was a healthy increase in workers' wages.
And this year, our country will have the first $2 trillion economy in the history of the world.
Now, we are proud of this progress the first year, but we must do even better in the future.
We still have serious problems on which all of us must work together. Our trade deficit is too large. Inflation is still too high, and too many Americans still do not have a job.
Now, I didn't have any simple answers for all these problems. But we have developed an economic policy that is working, because it's simple, balanced, and fair. It's based on four principles: First, the economy must keep on expanding to produce new jobs and better income, which our people need. The fruits of growth must be widely shared. More jobs must be made available to those who have been bypassed until now. And the tax system must be made fairer and simpler.
Secondly, private business and not the Government must lead the expansion in the future.
Third, we must lower the rate of inflation and keep it down. Inflation slows down economic growth, and it's the most cruel to the poor and also to the elderly and others who live on fixed incomes.
And fourth, we must contribute to the strength of the world economy.
I will announce detailed proposals for improving our tax system later this week. We can make our tax laws fairer, we can make them simpler and easier to understand, and at the same time, we can, and we will, reduce the tax burden on American citizens by $25 billion.
The tax reforms and the tax reductions go together. Only with the long overdue reforms will the full tax cut be advisable.
Almost $17 billion in income tax cuts will go to individuals. Ninety-six percent of all American taxpayers will see their taxes go down. For a typical family of four, this means an annual saving of more than $250 a year, or a tax reduction of about 20 percent. A further $2 billion cut in excise taxes will give more relief and also contribute directly to lowering the rate of inflation.
And we will also provide strong additional incentives for business investment and growth through substantial cuts in the corporate tax rates and improvement in the investment tax credit.
Now, these tax proposals will increase opportunity everywhere in the Nation. But additional jobs for the disadvantaged deserve special attention.
We've already passed laws to assure equal access to the voting booth and to restaurants and to schools, to housing, and laws to permit access to jobs. But job opportunity, the chance to earn a decent living, is also a basic human right, which we cannot and will not ignore.
A major priority for our Nation is the final elimination of the barriers that restrict the opportunities available to women and also to black people and Hispanics and other minorities. We've come a long way toward that goal. But there is still much to do. What we inherited from the past must not be permitted to shackle us in the future.
I'll be asking you for a substantial increase in funds for public jobs for our young people, and I also am recommending that the Congress continue the public service employment programs at more than twice the level of a year ago. When welfare reform is completed, we will have more than a million additional jobs so that those on welfare who are able to work can work.
However, again, we know that in our free society, private business is still the best source of new jobs. Therefore, I will propose a new program to encourage businesses to hire young and disadvantaged Americans. These young people only need skills and a chance in order to take their place in our economic system. Let's give them the chance they need. A major step in the right direction would be the early passage of a greatly improved Humphrey-Hawkins bill.
My budget for 1979 addresses these national needs, but it is lean and tight. I have cut waste wherever possible.
I am proposing an increase of less than 2 percent after adjusting for inflation, the smallest increase in the Federal budget in 4 years.
Lately, Federal spending has taken a steadily increasing portion of what Americans produce. Our new budget reverses that trend, and later I hope to bring the Government's toll down even further. And with your help, we'll do that.
In time of high employment and a strong economy, deficit spending should not be a feature of our budget. As the economy continues to gain strength and as our unemployment rates continue to fall, revenues will grow. With careful planning, efficient management, and proper restraint on spending, we can move rapidly toward a balanced budget, and we will.
Next year the budget deficit will be only slightly less than this year. But one-third of the deficit is due to the necessary tax cuts that I've proposed. This year the right choice is to reduce the burden on taxpayers and provide more jobs for our people.
The third element in our program is a renewed attack on inflation. We've learned the hard way that high unemployment will not prevent or cure inflation. Government can help us by stimulating private investment and by maintaining a responsible economic policy. Through a new top-level review process, we will do a better job of reducing Government regulation that drives up costs and drives up prices.
But again, Government alone cannot bring down the rate of inflation. When a level of high inflation is expected to continue, then companies raise prices to protect their profit margins against prospective increases in wages and other costs, while workers demand higher wages as protection against expected price increases. It's like an escalation in the arms race, and understandably, no one wants to disarm alone.
Now, no one firm or a group of workers can halt this process. It's an effort that we must all make together. I'm therefore asking government, business, labor, and other groups to join in a voluntary program to moderate inflation by holding wage and price increases in each sector of the economy during 1978 below the average increases of the last 2 years.
I do not believe in wage and price controls. A sincere commitment to voluntary constraint provides a way, perhaps the only way, to fight inflation without Government interference.
As I came into the Capitol tonight, I saw the farmers, my fellow farmers, standing out in the snow. I'm familiar with their problem, and I know from Congress' action that you are too. When I was running Carters Warehouse, we had spread on our own farms 5-10-15 fertilizer for about $40 a ton. The last time I was home, the price was about $100 a ton. The cost of nitrogen has gone up 150 percent, and the price of products that farmers sell has either stayed the same or gone down a little.
Now, this past year in 1977, you, the Congress, and I together passed a new agricultural act. It went into effect October 1. It'll have its first impact on the 1978 crops. It will help a great deal. It'll add $6 1/2 billion or more to help the farmers with their price supports and target prices.
Last year we had the highest level of exports of farm products in the history of our country, $24 billion. We expect to have more this year. We'll be working together. But I think it's incumbent on us to monitor very carefully the farm situation and continue to work harmoniously with the farmers of our country. What's best for the farmers, the farm families, in the long run is also best for the consumers of our country.
Economic success at home is also the key to success in our international economic policy. An effective energy program, strong investment and productivity, and controlled inflation will provide [improve] our trade balance and balance it, and it will help to protect the integrity of the dollar overseas.
By working closely with our friends abroad, we can promote the economic health of the whole world, with fair and balanced agreements lowering the barriers to trade.
Despite the inevitable pressures that build up when the world economy suffers from high unemployment, we must firmly resist the demands for self-defeating protectionism. But free trade must also be fair trade. And I am determined to protect American industry and American workers against foreign trade practices which are unfair or illegal.
In a separate written message to Congress, I've outlined other domestic initiatives, such as welfare reform, consumer protection, basic education skills, urban policy, reform of our labor laws, and national health care later on this year. I will not repeat these tonight. But there are several other points that I would like to make directly to you.
During these past years, Americans have seen our Government grow far from us.
For some citizens, the Government has almost become like a foreign country, so strange and distant that we've often had to deal with it through trained ambassadors who have sometimes become too powerful and too influential, lawyers, accountants, and lobbyists. This cannot go on.
We must have what Abraham Lincoln wanted, a government for the people.
We've made progress toward that kind of government. You've given me the authority I requested to reorganize the Federal bureaucracy. And I am using that authority.
We've already begun a series of reorganization plans which will be completed over a period of 3 years. We have also proposed abolishing almost 500 Federal advisory and other commissions and boards. But I know that the American people are still sick and tired of Federal paperwork and redtape. Bit by bit we are chopping down the thicket of unnecessary Federal regulations by which Government too often interferes in our personal lives and our personal business. We've cut the public's Federal paperwork load by more than 12 percent in less than a year. And we are not through cutting.
We've made a good start on turning the gobbledygook of Federal regulations into plain English that people can understand. But we know that we still have a long way to go.
We've brought together parts of 11 Government agencies to create a new Department of Energy. And now it's time to take another major step by creating a separate Department of Education.
But even the best organized Government will only be as effective as the people who carry out its policies. For this reason, I consider civil service reform to be absolutely vital. Worked out with the civil servants themselves, this reorganization plan will restore the merit principle to a system which has grown into a bureaucratic maze. It will provide greater management flexibility and better rewards for better performance without compromising job security.
Then and only then can we have a government that is efficient, open, and truly worthy of our people's understanding and respect. I have promised that we will have such a government, and I intend to keep that promise.
In our foreign policy, the separation of people from government has been in the past a source of weakness and error. In a democratic system like ours, foreign policy decisions must be able to stand the test of public examination and public debate. If we make a mistake in this administration, it will be on the side of frankness and openness with the American people.
In our modern world, when the deaths of literally millions of people can result from a few terrifying seconds of destruction, the path of national strength and security is identical to the path of peace.
Tonight, I am happy to report that because we are strong, our Nation is at peace with the world.
We are a confident nation. We've restored a moral basis for our foreign policy. The very heart of our identity as a nation is our firm commitment to human rights.
We stand for human rights because we believe that government has as a purpose to promote the well-being of its citizens. This is true in our domestic policy; it's also true in our foreign policy. The world must know that in support of human rights, the United States will stand firm.
We expect no quick or easy results, but there has been significant movement toward greater freedom and humanity in several parts of the world.
Thousands of political prisoners have been freed. The leaders of the world, even our ideological adversaries, now see that their attitude toward fundamental human rights affects their standing in the international community, and it affects their relations with the United States.
To serve the interests of every American, our foreign policy has three major goals.
The first and prime concern is and will remain the security of our country.
Security is based on our national will, and security is based on the strength of our Armed Forces. We have the will, and militarily we are very strong.
Security also comes through the strength of our alliances. We have reconfirmed our commitment to the defense of Europe, and this year we will demonstrate that commitment by further modernizing and strengthening our military capabilities there.
Security can also be enhanced by agreements with potential adversaries which reduce the threat of nuclear disaster while maintaining our own relative strategic capability.
In areas of peaceful competition with the Soviet Union, we will continue to more than hold our own.
At the same time, we are negotiating with quiet confidence, without haste, with careful determination, to ease the tensions between us and to ensure greater stability and security.
The strategic arms limitation talks have been long and difficult. We want a mutual limit on both the quality and the quantity of the giant nuclear arsenals of both nations, and then we want actual reductions in strategic arms as a major step toward the ultimate elimination of nuclear weapons from the face of the Earth.
If these talks result in an agreement this year, and I trust they will, I pledge to you that the agreement will maintain and enhance the stability of the world's strategic balance and the security of the United States.
For 30 years, concerted but unsuccessful efforts have been made to ban the testing of atomic explosives, both military weapons and peaceful nuclear devices.
We are hard at work with Great Britain and the Soviet Union on an agreement which will stop testing and will protect our national security and provide for adequate verification of compliance. We are now making, I believe, good progress toward this comprehensive ban on nuclear explosions.
We are also working vigorously to halt the proliferation of nuclear weapons among the nations of the world which do not now have them and to reduce the deadly global traffic in conventional arms sales. Our stand for peace is suspect if we are also the principal arms merchant of the world. So, we've decided to cut down our arms transfers abroad on a year-by-year basis and to work with other major arms exporters to encourage their similar constraint.
Every American has a stake in our second major goal, a world at peace. In a nuclear age, each of us is threatened when peace is not secured everywhere. We are trying to promote harmony in those parts of the world where major differences exist among other nations and threaten international peace.
In the Middle East, we are contributing our good offices to maintain the momentum of the current negotiations and to keep open the lines of communication among the Middle Eastern leaders. The whole world has a great stake in the success of these efforts. This is a precious opportunity for a historic settlement of a longstanding conflict, an opportunity which may never come again in our lifetime.
Our role has been difficult and sometimes thankless and controversial. But it has been constructive and it has been necessary, and it will continue.
Our third major foreign policy goal is one that touches the life of every American citizen every day, world economic growth and stability.
This requires strong economic performance by the industrialized democracies like ourselves and progress in resolving the global energy crisis. Last fall, with the help of others, we succeeded in our vigorous efforts to maintain the stability of the price of oil. But as many foreign leaders have emphasized to me personally and, I am sure, to you, the greatest future contribution that America can make to the world economy would be an effective energy conservation program here at home. We will not hesitate to take the actions needed to protect the integrity of the American dollar.
We are trying to develop a more just international system. And in this spirit, we are supporting the struggle for human development in Africa, in Asia, and in Latin America.
Finally, the world is watching to see how we act on one of our most important and controversial items of business, approval of the Panama Canal treaties. The treaties now before the Senate are the result of the work of four administrations, two Democratic, two Republican.
They guarantee that the canal will be open always for unrestricted use by the ships of the world. Our ships have the right to go to the head of the line for priority of passage in times of emergency or need. We retain the permanent right to defend the canal with our own military forces, if necessary, to guarantee its openness and its neutrality.
The treaties are to the clear advantage of ourselves, the Panamanians, and the other users of the canal. Ratifying the Panama Canal treaties will demonstrate our good faith to the world, discourage the spread of hostile ideologies in this hemisphere, and directly contribute to the economic well-being and the security of the United States.
I have to say that that's very welcome applause.
There were two moments on my recent journey which, for me, confirmed the final aims of our foreign policy and what it always must be.
One was in a little village in India, where I met a people as passionately attached to their rights and liberties as we are, but whose children have a far smaller chance for good health or food or education or human fulfillment than a child born in this country.
The other moment was in Warsaw, capital of a nation twice devastated by war in this century. There, people have rebuilt the city which war's destruction took from them. But what was new only emphasized clearly what was lost.
What I saw in those two places crystalized for me the purposes of our own Nation's policy: to ensure economic justice, to advance human rights, to resolve conflicts without violence, and to proclaim in our great democracy our constant faith in the liberty and dignity of human beings everywhere.
We Americans have a great deal of work to do together. In the end, how well we do that work will depend on the spirit in which we approach it. We must seek fresh answers, unhindered by the stale prescriptions of the past.
It has been said that our best years are behind us. But I say again that America's best is still ahead. We have emerged from bitter experiences chastened but proud, confident once again, ready to face challenges once again, and united once again.
We come together tonight at a solemn time. Last week the Senate lost a good and honest man, Lee Metcalf of Montana.
And today, the flag of the United States flew at half-mast from this Capitol and from American installations and ships all over the world, in mourning for Senator Hubert Humphrey.
Because he exemplified so well the joy and the zest of living, his death reminds us not so much of our own mortality, but of the possibilities offered to us by life. He always looked to the future with a special American kind of confidence, of hope and enthusiasm. And the best way that we can honor him is by following his example.
Our task, to use the words of Senator Humphrey, is "reconciliation, rebuilding, and rebirth."
Reconciliation of private needs and interests into a higher purpose.
Rebuilding the old dreams of justice and liberty, and country and community.
Rebirth of our faith in the common good.
Each of us here tonight, and all who are listening in your homes, must rededicate ourselves to serving the common good. We are a community, a beloved community, all of us. Our individual fates are linked, our futures intertwined. And if we act in that knowledge and in that spirit, together, as the Bible says, we can move mountains.
Thank you very much.
State of the Union Address Jimmy Carter January 25, 1979
Tonight I want to examine in a broad sense the state of our American Union—how we are building a new foundation for a peaceful and a prosperous world.
Our children who will be born this year will come of age in the 21st century. What kind of society, what kind of world are we building for them? Will we ourselves be at peace? Will our children enjoy a better quality of life? Will a strong and united America still be a force for freedom and prosperity around the world?
Tonight, there is every sign that the state of our Union is sound.
Our economy offers greater prosperity for more of our people than ever before. Real per capita income and real business profits have risen substantially in the last 2 years. Farm exports are setting an all-time record each year, and farm income last year, net farm income, was up more than 25 percent.
Our liberties are secure. Our military defenses are strong and growing stronger. And more importantly, tonight, America—our beloved country—is at peace.
Our earliest national commitments, modified and reshaped by succeeding generations, have served us well. But the problems that we face today are different from those that confronted earlier generations of Americans. They are more subtle, more complex, and more interrelated. At home, we are recognizing ever more clearly that government alone cannot solve these problems. And abroad, few of them can be solved by the United States alone. But Americans as a united people, working with our allies and friends, have never been afraid to face problems and to solve problems, either here or abroad.
The challenge to us is to build a new and firmer foundation for the future—for a sound economy, for a more effective government, for more political trust, and for a stable peace—so that the America our children inherit will be even stronger and even better than it is today.
We cannot resort to simplistic or extreme solutions which substitute myths for common sense.
In our economy, it is a myth that we must choose endlessly between inflation and recession. Together, we build the foundation for a strong economy, with lower inflation, without contriving either a recession with its high unemployment or unworkable, mandatory government controls.
In our government, it is a myth that we must choose between compassion and competence. Together, we build the foundation for a government that works, and works for people.
In our relations with our potential adversaries, it is a myth that we must choose between confrontation and capitulation. Together, we build the foundation for a stable world of both diversity and peace.
Together, we've already begun to build the foundation for confidence in our economic system. During the last 2 years, in bringing our economy out of the deepest recession since the 1930's, we've created 7,100,000 new jobs. The unemployment rate has gone down 25 percent. And now we must redouble our fight against the persistent inflation that has wracked our country for more than a decade. That's our important domestic issue, and we must do it together.
We know that inflation is a burden for all Americans, but it's a disaster for the poor, the sick, and the old. No American family should be forced to choose among food, warmth, health care, or decent housing because the cost of any of these basic necessities has climbed out of reach.
Three months ago, I outlined to the Nation a balanced anti-inflation program that couples responsible government restraint with responsible wage and price restraint. It's based upon my knowledge that there is a more powerful force than government compulsion—the force created by the cooperative efforts of millions of Americans working toward a common goal.
Business and labor have been increasingly supportive. It's imperative that we in government do our part. We must stop excessive government growth, and we must control government spending habits.
I've sent to this Congress a stringent but a fair budget, one that, since I ran for President in 1976, will have cut the Federal deficit in half. And as a percentage of our gross national product, the deficit will have dropped by almost 75 percent.
This Congress had a good record last year, and I now ask the 96th Congress to continue this partnership in holding the line on excess Federal spending. It will not be easy. But we must be strong, and we must be persistent.
This budget is a clear message that, with the help of you and the American people, I am determined, as President, to bring inflation under control.
The 1980 budget provides enough spending restraint to begin unwinding inflation, but enough support for our country to keep American workers productive and to encourage the investments that provide new jobs. We will continue to mobilize our Nation's resources to reduce our trade deficit substantially this year and to maintain the strength of the American dollar.
We've demonstrated in this restrained budget that we can build on the gains of the past 2 years to provide additional support to educate disadvantaged children, to care for the elderly, to provide nutrition and legal services for the poor, and to strengthen the economic base of our urban communities and, also, our rural areas.
This year, we will take our first steps to develop a national health plan.
We must never accept a permanent group of unemployed Americans, with no hope and no stake in building our society. For those left out of the economy because of discrimination, a lack of skills, or poverty, we must maintain high levels of training, and we must continue to provide jobs.
A responsible budget is not our only weapon to control inflation. We must act now to protect all Americans from health care costs that are rising $1 million per hour, 24 hours a day, doubling every 5 years. We must take control of the largest contributor to that inflation: skyrocketing hospital costs.
There will be no clearer test of the commitment of this Congress to the anti-inflation fight than the legislation that I will submit again this year to hold down inflation in hospital care.
Over the next 5 years, my proposals will save Americans a total of $60 billion, of which $25 billion will be savings to the American taxpayer in the Federal budget itself. The American people have waited long enough. This year we must act on hospital cost containment.
We must also fight inflation by improvements and better enforcement of our antitrust laws and by reducing government obstacles to competition in the private sector.
We must begin to scrutinize the overall effect of regulation in our economy. Through deregulation of the airline industry we've increased profits, cut prices for all Americans, and begun—for one of the few times in the history of our Nation—to actually dismantle a major Federal bureaucracy. This year, we must begin the effort to reform our regulatory processes for the railroad, bus, and the trucking industries.
America has the greatest economic system in the world. Let's reduce government interference and give it a chance to work.
I call on Congress to take other anti-inflation action—to expand our exports to protect American jobs threatened by unfair trade, to conserve energy, to increase production and to speed development of solar power, and to reassess our Nation's technological superiority. American workers who enlist in the fight against inflation deserve not just our gratitude, but they deserve the protection of the real wage insurance proposal that I have already made to the Congress.
To be successful, we must change our attitudes as well as our policies. We cannot afford to live beyond our means. We cannot afford to create programs that we can neither manage nor finance, or to waste our natural resources, and we cannot tolerate mismanagement and fraud. Above all, we must meet the challenges of inflation as a united people.
With the support of the American people, government in recent decades has helped to dismantle racial barriers, has provided assistance for the jobless and the retired, has fed the hungry, has protected the safety, health, and bargaining rights of American workers, and has helped to preserve our natural heritage.
But it's not enough to have created a lot of government programs. Now we must make the good programs more effective and improve or weed out those which are wasteful or unnecessary.
With the support of the Congress, we've begun to reorganize and to get control of the bureaucracy. We are reforming the civil service system, so that we can recognize and reward those who do a good job and correct or remove those who do not.
This year, we must extend major reorganization efforts to education, to economic development, and to the management of our natural resources. We need to enact a sunshine [sunset] law that when government programs have outlived their value, they will automatically be terminated.
There's no such thing as an effective and a noncontroversial reorganization and reform. But we know that honest, effective government is essential to restore public faith in our public action.
None of us can be satisfied when two-thirds of the American citizens chose not to vote last year in a national election. Too many Americans feel powerless against the influence of private lobbying groups and the unbelievable flood of private campaign money which threatens our electoral process.
This year, we must regain the public's faith by requiring limited financial funds from public funds for congressional election campaigns. House bill 1 provides for this public financing of campaigns. And I look forward with a great deal of anticipation to signing it at an early date.
A strong economy and an effective government will restore confidence in America. But the path of the future must be charted in peace. We must continue to build a new and a firm foundation for a stable world community.
We are building that new foundation from a position of national strength—the strength of our own defenses, the strength of our friendships with other nations, and of our oldest American ideals.
America's military power is a major force for security and stability in the world. We must maintain our strategic capability and continue the progress of the last 2 years with our NATO Allies, with whom we have increased our readiness, modernized our equipment, and strengthened our defense forces in Europe. I urge you to support the strong defense budget which I have proposed to the Congress.
But our national security in this complicated age requires more than just military might. In less than a lifetime, world population has more than doubled, colonial empires have disappeared, and a hundred new nations have been born, and migration to the world's cities have all awakened new yearnings for economic justice and human rights among people everywhere.
This demand for justice and human rights is a wave of the future. In such a world, the choice is not which super power will dominate the world. None can and none will. The choice instead is between a world of anarchy and destruction, or a world of cooperation and peace.
In such a world, we seek not to stifle inevitable change, but to influence its course in helpful and constructive ways that enhance our values, our national interests, and the cause of peace.
Towering over this volatile, changing world, like a thundercloud on a summer day, looms the awesome power of nuclear weapons.
We will continue to help shape the forces of change, to anticipate emerging problems of nuclear proliferation and conventional arms sales, and to use our great strength parts of the world before they erupt and spread.
We have no desire to be the world's policeman. But America does want to be the world's peacemaker.
We are building the foundation for truly global cooperation, not only with Western and industrialized nations but with the developing countries as well. Our ties with Japan and our European allies are stronger than ever, and so are our friendly relations with the people of Latin America, Africa, and the Western Pacific and Asia.
We've won new respect in this hemisphere with the Panama Canal treaties. We've gained new trust with the developing world through our opposition to racism, our commitment to human rights, and our support for majority rule in Africa.
The multilateral trade negotiations are now reaching a successful conclusion, and congressional approval is essential to the economic well-being of our own country and of the world. This will be one of our top priorities in 1979.
We are entering a hopeful era in our relations with one-fourth of the world's people who live in China. The presence of Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping next week will help to inaugurate that new era. And with prompt congressional action on authorizing legislation, we will continue our commitment to a prosperous, peaceful, and secure life for the people of Taiwan.
I'm grateful that in the past year, as in the year before, no American has died in combat anywhere in the world. And in Iran, Nicaragua, Cyprus, Namibia, and Rhodesia, our country is working for peaceful solutions to dangerous conflicts.
In the Middle East, under the most difficult circumstances, we have sought to help ancient enemies lay aside deep-seated differences that have produced four bitter wars in our lifetime.
Our firm commitment to Israel's survival and security is rooted in our deepest convictions and in our knowledge of the strategic importance to our own Nation of a stable Middle East. To promote peace and reconciliation in the region, we must retain the trust and the confidence both of Israel and also of the Arab nations that are sincerely searching for peace.
I am determined, as President, to use the full, beneficial influence of our country so that the precious opportunity for lasting peace between Israel and Egypt will not be lost.
The new foundation of international cooperation that we seek excludes no nation. Cooperation with the Soviet Union serves the cause of peace, for in this nuclear age, world peace must include peace between the super powers—and it must mean the control of nuclear arms.
Ten years ago, the United States and the Soviet Union made the historic decision to open the strategic arms limitations talks, or SALT. The purpose of SALT, then as now, is not to gain a unilateral advantage for either nation, but to protect the security of both nations, to reverse the costly and dangerous momentum of the nuclear arms race, to preserve a stable balance of nuclear forces, and to demonstrate to a concerned world that we are determined to help preserve the peace.
The first SALT agreement was concluded in 1972. And since then, during 6 years of negotiation by both Republican and Democratic leaders, nearly all issues of SALT II have been resolved. If the Soviet Union continues to negotiate in good faith, a responsible SALT agreement will be reached.
It's important that the American people understand the nature of the SALT process.
SALT II is not based on sentiment; it's based on self-interest—of the United States and of the Soviet Union. Both nations share a powerful common interest in reducing the threat of a nuclear war. I will sign no agreement which does not enhance our national security.
SALT II does not rely on trust; it will be verifiable. We have very sophisticated, proven means, including our satellites, to determine for ourselves whether or not the Soviet Union is meeting its treaty obligations. I will sign no agreement which cannot be verified.
The American nuclear deterrent will remain strong after SALT II. For example, just one of our relatively invulnerable Poseidon submarines—comprising less than 2 percent of our total nuclear force of submarines, aircraft, and land-based missiles—carries enough warheads to destroy every large- and medium-sized city in the Soviet Union. Our deterrent is overwhelming, and I will sign no agreement unless our deterrent force will remain overwhelming.
A SALT agreement, of course, cannot substitute for wise diplomacy or a strong defense, nor will it end the danger of nuclear war. But it will certainly reduce that danger. It will strengthen our efforts to ban nuclear tests and to stop the spread of atomic weapons to other nations. And it can begin the process of negotiating new agreements which will further limit nuclear arms.
The path of arms control, backed by a strong defense, the path our Nation and every President has walked for 30 years, can lead to a world of law and of international negotiation and consultation in which all peoples might live in peace. In this year 1979, nothing is more important than that the Congress and the people of the United States resolve to continue with me on that path of nuclear arms control and world peace. This is paramount.
I've outlined some of the changes that have transformed the world and which are continuing as we meet here tonight. But we in America need not fear change. The values on which our Nation was founded: individual liberty, self-determination, the potential for human fulfillment in freedom, all of these endure. We find these democratic principles praised, even in books smuggled out of totalitarian nations and on wallposters in lands which we thought were closed to our influence. Our country has regained its special place of leadership in the worldwide struggle for human rights. And that is a commitment that we must keep at home, as well as abroad.
The civil rights revolution freed all Americans, black and white, but its full promise still remains unrealized. I will continue to work with all my strength for equal opportunity for all Americans—and for affirmative action for those who carry the extra burden of past denial of equal opportunity.
We remain committed to improving our labor laws to better protect the rights of American workers. And our Nation must make it clear that the legal rights of women as citizens are guaranteed under the laws of our land by ratifying the equal rights amendment.
As long as I'm President, at home and around the world America's examples and America's influence will be marshaled to advance the cause of human rights.
To establish those values, two centuries ago a bold generation of Americans risked their property, their position, and life itself. We are their heirs, and they are sending us a message across the centuries. The words they made so vivid are now growing faintly indistinct, because they are not heard often enough. They are words like "justice," "equality," "unity," "truth," "sacrifice," "liberty," "faith," and "love."
These words remind us that the duty of our generation of Americans is to renew our Nation's faith, not focused just against foreign threats but against the threats of selfishness, cynicism, and apathy.
The new foundation I've discussed tonight can help us build a nation and a world where every child is nurtured and can look to the future with hope, where the resources now wasted on war can be turned towards meeting human needs, where all people have enough to eat, a decent home, and protection against disease.
It can help us build a nation and a world where all people are free to seek the truth and to add to human understanding, so that all of us may live our lives in peace.
Tonight, I ask you, the Members of the Congress, to join me in building that new foundation, a better foundation, for our beloved country and our world.
Thank you very much.
State of the Union Address Jimmy Carter January 21, 1980
This last few months has not been an easy time for any of us. As we meet tonight, it has never been more clear that the state of our Union depends on the state of the world. And tonight, as throughout our own generation, freedom and peace in the world depend on the state of our Union.
The 1980's have been born in turmoil, strife, and change. This is a time of challenge to our interests and our values and it's a time that tests our wisdom and our skills.
At this time in Iran, 50 Americans are still held captive, innocent victims of terrorism and anarchy. Also at this moment, massive Soviet troops are attempting to subjugate the fiercely independent and deeply religious people of Afghanistan. These two acts—one of international terrorism and one of military aggression—present a serious challenge to the United States of America and indeed to all the nations of the world. Together, we will meet these threats to peace.
I'm determined that the United States will remain the strongest of all nations, but our power will never be used to initiate a threat to the security of any nation or to the rights of any human being. We seek to be and to remain secure—a nation at peace in a stable world. But to be secure we must face the world as it is.
Three basic developments have helped to shape our challenges: the steady growth and increased projection of Soviet military power beyond its own borders; the overwhelming dependence of the Western democracies on oil supplies from the Middle East; and the press of social and religious and economic and political change in the many nations of the developing world, exemplified by the revolution in Iran.
Each of these factors is important in its own right. Each interacts with the others. All must be faced together, squarely and courageously. We will face these challenges, and we will meet them with the best that is in us. And we will not fail.
In response to the abhorrent act in Iran, our Nation has never been aroused and unified so greatly in peacetime. Our position is clear. The United States will not yield to blackmail.
We continue to pursue these specific goals: first, to protect the present and long-range interests of the United States; secondly, to preserve the lives of the American hostages and to secure, as quickly as possible, their safe release, if possible, to avoid bloodshed which might further endanger the lives of our fellow citizens; to enlist the help of other nations in condemning this act of violence, which is shocking and violates the moral and the legal standards of a civilized world; and also to convince and to persuade the Iranian leaders that the real danger to their nation lies in the north, in the Soviet Union and from the Soviet troops now in Afghanistan, and that the unwarranted Iranian quarrel with the United States hampers their response to this far greater danger to them.
If the American hostages are harmed, a severe price will be paid. We will never rest until every one of the American hostages are released.
But now we face a broader and more fundamental challenge in this region because of the recent military action of the Soviet Union.
Now, as during the last 3 1/2 decades, the relationship between our country, the United States of America, and the Soviet Union is the most critical factor in determining whether the world will live at peace or be engulfed in global conflict.
Since the end of the Second World War, America has led other nations in meeting the challenge of mounting Soviet power. This has not been a simple or a static relationship. Between us there has been cooperation, there has been competition, and at times there has been confrontation.
In the 1940's we took the lead in creating the Atlantic Alliance in response to the Soviet Union's suppression and then consolidation of its East European empire and the resulting threat of the Warsaw Pact to Western Europe.
In the 1950's we helped to contain further Soviet challenges in Korea and in the Middle East, and we rearmed to assure the continuation of that containment.
In the 1960's we met the Soviet challenges in Berlin, and we faced the Cuban missile crisis. And we sought to engage the Soviet Union in the important task of moving beyond the cold war and away from confrontation.
And in the 1970's three American Presidents negotiated with the Soviet leaders in attempts to halt the growth of the nuclear arms race. We sought to establish rules of behavior that would reduce the risks of conflict, and we searched for areas of cooperation that could make our relations reciprocal and productive, not only for the sake of our two nations but for the security and peace of the entire world.
In all these actions, we have maintained two commitments: to be ready to meet any challenge by Soviet military power, and to develop ways to resolve disputes and to keep the peace.
Preventing nuclear war is the foremost responsibility of the two superpowers. That's why we've negotiated the strategic arms limitation treaties—SALT I and SALT II. Especially now, in a time of great tension, observing the mutual constraints imposed by the terms of these treaties will be in the best interest of both countries and will help to preserve world peace. I will consult very closely with the Congress on this matter as we strive to control nuclear weapons. That effort to control nuclear weapons will not be abandoned.
We superpowers also have the responsibility to exercise restraint in the use of our great military force. The integrity and the independence of weaker nations must not be threatened. They must know that in our presence they are secure.
But now the Soviet Union has taken a radical and an aggressive new step. It's using its great military power against a relatively defenseless nation. The implications of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan could pose the most serious threat to the peace since the Second World War.
The vast majority of nations on Earth have condemned this latest Soviet attempt to extend its colonial domination of others and have demanded the immediate withdrawal of Soviet troops. The Moslem world is especially and justifiably outraged by this aggression against an Islamic people. No action of a world power has ever been so quickly and so overwhelmingly condemned. But verbal condemnation is not enough. The Soviet Union must pay a concrete price for their aggression.
While this invasion continues, we and the other nations of the world cannot conduct business as usual with the Soviet Union. That's why the United States has imposed stiff economic penalties on the Soviet Union. I will not issue any permits for Soviet ships to fish in the coastal waters of the United States. I've cut Soviet access to high-technology equipment and to agricultural products. I've limited other commerce with the Soviet Union, and I've asked our allies and friends to join with us in restraining their own trade with the Soviets and not to replace our own embargoed items. And I have notified the Olympic Committee that with Soviet invading forces in Afghanistan, neither the American people nor I will support sending an Olympic team to Moscow.
The Soviet Union is going to have to answer some basic questions: Will it help promote a more stable international environment in which its own legitimate, peaceful concerns can be pursued? Or will it continue to expand its military power far beyond its genuine security needs, and use that power for colonial conquest? The Soviet Union must realize that its decision to use military force in Afghanistan will be costly to every political and economic relationship it values.
The region which is now threatened by Soviet troops in Afghanistan is of great strategic importance: It contains more than two-thirds of the world's exportable oil. The Soviet effort to dominate Afghanistan has brought Soviet military forces to within 300 miles of the Indian Ocean and close to the Straits of Hormuz, a waterway through which most of the world's oil must flow. The Soviet Union is now attempting to consolidate a strategic position, therefore, that poses a grave threat to the free movement of Middle East oil.
This situation demands careful thought, steady nerves, and resolute action, not only for this year but for many years to come. It demands collective efforts to meet this new threat to security in the Persian Gulf and in Southwest Asia. It demands the participation of all those who rely on oil from the Middle East and who are concerned with global peace and stability. And it demands consultation and close cooperation with countries in the area which might be threatened.
Meeting this challenge will take national will, diplomatic and political wisdom, economic sacrifice, and, of course, military capability. We must call on the best that is in us to preserve the security of this crucial region.
Let our position be absolutely clear: An attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force.
During the past 3 years, you have joined with me to improve our own security and the prospects for peace, not only in the vital oil-producing area of the Persian Gulf region but around the world. We've increased annually our real commitment for defense, and we will sustain this increase of effort throughout the Five Year Defense Program. It's imperative that Congress approve this strong defense budget for 1981, encompassing a 5-percent real growth in authorizations, without any reduction.
We are also improving our capability to deploy U.S. military forces rapidly to distant areas. We've helped to strengthen NATO and our other alliances, and recently we and other NATO members have decided to develop and to deploy modernized, intermediate-range nuclear forces to meet an unwarranted and increased threat from the nuclear weapons of the Soviet Union.
We are working with our allies to prevent conflict in the Middle East. The peace treaty between Egypt and Israel is a notable achievement which represents a strategic asset for America and which also enhances prospects for regional and world peace. We are now engaged in further negotiations to provide full autonomy for the people of the West Bank and Gaza, to resolve the Palestinian issue in all its aspects, and to preserve the peace and security of Israel. Let no one doubt our commitment to the security of Israel. In a few days we will observe an historic event when Israel makes another major withdrawal from the Sinai and when Ambassadors will be exchanged between Israel and Egypt.
We've also expanded our own sphere of friendship. Our deep commitment to human rights and to meeting human needs has improved our relationship with much of the Third World. Our decision to normalize relations with the People's Republic of China will help to preserve peace and stability in Asia and in the Western Pacific.
We've increased and strengthened our naval presence in the Indian Ocean, and we are now making arrangements for key naval and air facilities to be used by our forces in the region of northeast Africa and the Persian Gulf.
We've reconfirmed our 1959 agreement to help Pakistan preserve its independence and its integrity. The United States will take action consistent with our own laws to assist Pakistan in resisting any outside aggression. And I'm asking the Congress specifically to reaffirm this agreement. I'm also working, along with the leaders of other nations, to provide additional military and economic aid for Pakistan. That request will come to you in just a few days.
Finally, we are prepared to work with other countries in the region to share a cooperative security framework that respects differing values and political beliefs, yet which enhances the independence, security, and prosperity of all.
All these efforts combined emphasize our dedication to defend and preserve the vital interests of the region and of the nation which we represent and those of our allies—in Europe and the Pacific, and also in the parts of the world which have such great strategic importance to us, stretching especially through the Middle East and Southwest Asia. With your help, I will pursue these efforts with vigor and with determination. You and I will act as necessary to protect and to preserve our Nation's security.
The men and women of America's Armed Forces are on duty tonight in many parts of the world. I'm proud of the job they are doing, and I know you share that pride. I believe that our volunteer forces are adequate for current defense needs, and I hope that it will not become necessary to impose a draft. However, we must be prepared for that possibility. For this reason, I have determined that the Selective Service System must now be revitalized. I will send legislation and budget proposals to the Congress next month so that we can begin registration and then meet future mobilization needs rapidly if they arise.
We also need clear and quick passage of a new charter to define the legal authority and accountability of our intelligence agencies. We will guarantee that abuses do not recur, but we must tighten our controls on sensitive intelligence information, and we need to remove unwarranted restraints on America's ability to collect intelligence.
The decade ahead will be a time of rapid change, as nations everywhere seek to deal with new problems and age-old tensions. But America need have no fear. We can thrive in a world of change if we remain true to our values and actively engaged in promoting world peace. We will continue to work as we have for peace in the Middle East and southern Africa. We will continue to build our ties with developing nations, respecting and helping to strengthen their national independence which they have struggled so hard to achieve. And we will continue to support the growth of democracy and the protection of human rights.
In repressive regimes, popular frustrations often have no outlet except through violence. But when peoples and their governments can approach their problems together through open, democratic methods, the basis for stability and peace is far more solid and far more enduring. That is why our support for human rights in other countries is in our own national interest as well as part of our own national character.
Peace—a peace that preserves freedom—remains America's first goal. In the coming years, as a mighty nation we will continue to pursue peace. But to be strong abroad we must be strong at home. And in order to be strong, we must continue to face up to the difficult issues that confront us as a nation today.
The crises in Iran and Afghanistan have dramatized a very important lesson: Our excessive dependence on foreign oil is a clear and present danger to our Nation's security. The need has never been more urgent. At long last, we must have a clear, comprehensive energy policy for the United States.
As you well know, I have been working with the Congress in a concentrated and persistent way over the past 3 years to meet this need. We have made progress together. But Congress must act promptly now to complete final action on this vital energy legislation. Our Nation will then have a major conservation effort, important initiatives to develop solar power, realistic pricing based on the true value of oil, strong incentives for the production of coal and other fossil fuels in the United States, and our Nation's most massive peacetime investment in the development of synthetic fuels.
The American people are making progress in energy conservation. Last year we reduced overall petroleum consumption by 8 percent and gasoline consumption by 5 percent below what it was the year before. Now we must do more.
After consultation with the Governors, we will set gasoline conservation goals for each of the 50 States, and I will make them mandatory if these goals are not met.
I've established an import ceiling for 1980 of 8.2 million barrels a day—well below the level of foreign oil purchases in 1977. I expect our imports to be much lower than this, but the ceiling will be enforced by an oil import fee if necessary. I'm prepared to lower these imports still further if the other oil-consuming countries will join us in a fair and mutual reduction. If we have a serious shortage, I will not hesitate to impose mandatory gasoline rationing immediately.
The single biggest factor in the inflation rate last year, the increase in the inflation rate last year, was from one cause: the skyrocketing prices of OPEC oil. We must take whatever actions are necessary to reduce our dependence on foreign oil—and at the same time reduce inflation.
As individuals and as families, few of us can produce energy by ourselves. But all of us can conserve energy—every one of us, every day of our lives. Tonight I call on you—in fact, all the people of America—to help our Nation. Conserve energy. Eliminate waste. Make 1980 indeed a year of energy conservation.
Of course, we must take other actions to strengthen our Nation's economy.
First, we will continue to reduce the deficit and then to balance the Federal budget.
Second, as we continue to work with business to hold down prices, we'll build also on the historic national accord with organized labor to restrain pay increases in a fair fight against inflation.
Third, we will continue our successful efforts to cut paperwork and to dismantle unnecessary Government regulation.
Fourth, we will continue our progress in providing jobs for America, concentrating on a major new program to provide training and work for our young people, especially minority youth. It has been said that "a mind is a terrible thing to waste." We will give our young people new hope for jobs and a better life in the 1980's.
And fifth, we must use the decade of the 1980's to attack the basic structural weaknesses and problems in our economy through measures to increase productivity, savings, and investment.
With these energy and economic policies, we will make America even stronger at home in this decade—just as our foreign and defense policies will make us stronger and safer throughout the world. We will never abandon our struggle for a just and a decent society here at home. That's the heart of America—and it's the source of our ability to inspire other people to defend their own rights abroad.
Our material resources, great as they are, are limited. Our problems are too complex for simple slogans or for quick solutions. We cannot solve them without effort and sacrifice. Walter Lippmann once reminded us, "You took the good things for granted. Now you must earn them again. For every right that you cherish, you have a duty which you must fulfill. For every good which you wish to preserve, you will have to sacrifice your comfort and your ease. There is nothing for nothing any longer."
Our challenges are formidable. But there's a new spirit of unity and resolve in our country. We move into the 1980's with confidence and hope and a bright vision of the America we want: an America strong and free, an America at peace, an America with equal rights for all citizens—and for women, guaranteed in the United States Constitution—an America with jobs and good health and good education for every citizen, an America with a clean and bountiful life in our cities and on our farms, an America that helps to feed the world, an America secure in filling its own energy needs, an America of justice, tolerance, and compassion. For this vision to come true, we must sacrifice, but this national commitment will be an exciting enterprise that will unify our people.
Together as one people, let us work to build our strength at home, and together as one indivisible union, let us seek peace and security throughout the world.
Together let us make of this time of challenge and danger a decade of national resolve and of brave achievement.
Thank you very much.
State of the Union Address Jimmy Carter January 16, 1981
To the Congress of the United States:
The State of the Union is sound. Our economy is recovering from a recession. A national energy plan is in place and our dependence on foreign oil is decreasing. We have been at peace for four uninterrupted years.
But, our Nation has serious problems. Inflation and unemployment are unacceptably high. The world oil market is increasingly tight. There are trouble spots throughout the world, and 52 American hostages are being held in Iran against international law and against every precept of human affairs.
However, I firmly believe that, as a result of the progress made in so many domestic and international areas over the past four years, our Nation is stronger, wealthier, more compassionate and freer than it was four years ago. I am proud of that fact. And I believe the Congress should be proud as well, for so much of what has been accomplished over the past four years has been due to the hard work, insights and cooperation of Congress. I applaud the Congress for its efforts and its achievements.
In this State of the Union Message I want to recount the achievements and progress of the last four years and to offer recommendations to the Congress for this year. While my term as President will end before the 97th Congress begins its work in earnest, I hope that my recommendations will serve as a guide for the direction this country should take so we build on the record of the past four years.
RECORD OF PROGRESS
When I took office, our Nation faced a number of serious domestic and international problems:
—no national energy policy existed, and our dependence on foreign oil was rapidly increasing;
—public trust in the integrity and openness of the government was low;
—the Federal government was operating inefficiently in administering essential programs and policies;
—major social problems were being ignored or poorly addressed by the Federal government;
—our defense posture was declining as a result of a defense budget which was continuously shrinking in real terms;
—the strength of the NATO Alliance needed to be bolstered;
—tensions between Israel and Egypt threatened another Middle East war; and
—America's resolve to oppose human rights violations was under serious question.
Over the past 48 months, clear progress has been made in solving the challenges we found in January of 1977:
—almost all of our comprehensive energy program have been enacted, and the Department of Energy has been established to administer the program; confidence in the government's integrity has been restored, and respect for the government's openness and fairness has been renewed;
—the government has been made more effective and efficient: the Civil Service system was completely reformed for the first time this century;
—14 reorganization initiatives have been proposed to the Congress, approved, and implemented;
—two new Cabinet departments have been created to consolidate and streamline the government's handling of energy and education problems;
—inspectors general have been placed in each Cabinet department to combat fraud, waste and other abuses;
—the regulatory process has been reformed through creation of the Regulatory Council, implementation of Executive Order 12044 and its requirement for cost-impact analyses, elimination of unnecessary regulation, and passage of the Regulatory Flexibility Act;
—procedures have been established to assure citizen participation in government;
—and the airline, trucking, rail and communications industries are being deregulated;
—critical social problems, many long ignored by the Federal government, have been addressed directly;
—an urban policy was developed and implemented to reverse the decline in our urban areas;
—the Social Security System was refinanced to put it on a sound financial basis;
—the Humphrey-Hawkins Full Employment Act was enacted;
—Federal assistance for education was expanded by more than 75 percent;
—the minimum wage was increased to levels needed to ease the effects of inflation;
—affirmative action has been pursued aggressively; more blacks, Hispanics and women have been appointed to senior government positions and to judgeships than at any other time in our history;
—the ERA ratification deadline was extended to aid the ratification effort;
—and minority business procurement by the Federal government has more than doubled;
—the Nation's first sectoral policies were put in place, for the auto and steel industries, with my Administration demonstrating the value of cooperation between the government, business and labor;
—reversing previous trends, real defense spending has increased every year since 1977;
—the real increase in FY 1980 defense spending is well above 3 percent and I expect FY 1981 defense spending to be even higher;
—looking ahead, the defense program I am proposing is premised on a real increase in defense spending over the next five years of 20 percent or more;
—the NATO Alliance has proven its unity in responding to the situations in Eastern Europe and Southwest Asia and in agreeing on the issues to be addressed in the review of the Helsinki Final Act currently underway in Madrid;
—the peace process in the Middle East established at Camp David and by the Peace Treaty between Egypt and Israel is being buttressed on two fronts: steady progress in the normalization of Egyptian-Israeli relations in many fields, and the commitment of both Egypt and Israel, with United States' assistance, to see through to successful conclusion the autonomy negotiations for the West Bank and Gaza;
—the Panama Canal Treaties have been put into effect, which has helped to improve relations with Latin America;
—we have continued this Nation's strong commitment to the pursuit of human rights throughout the world, evenhandedly and objectively;
—our commitment to a worldwide human rights policy has remained firm;
—and many other countries have given high priority to it;
—our resolve to oppose aggression, such as the illegal invasion of the Soviet Union into Afghanistan, has been supported by tough action.
I. ENSURING ECONOMIC STRENGTH ECONOMY
During the last decade our Nation has withstood a series of economic shocks unprecedented in peacetime. The most dramatic of these has been the explosive increases of OPEC oil prices. But we have also faced world commodity shortages, natural disasters, agricultural shortages and major challenges to world peace and security. Our ability to deal with these shocks has been impaired because of a decrease in the growth of productivity and the persistence of underlying inflationary forces built up over the past 15 years.
Nevertheless, the economy has proved to be remarkably resilient. Real output has grown at an average rate of 3 percent per year since I took office, and employment has grown by 10 percent. We have added about 8 million productive private sector jobs to the economy. However, unacceptably high inflation—the most difficult economic problem I have faced—persists.
This inflation—which threatens the growth, productivity, and stability of our economy—requires that we restrain the growth of the budget to the maximum extent consistent with national security and human compassion. I have done so in my earlier budgets, and in my FY '82 budget. However, while restraint is essential to any appropriate economic policy, high inflation cannot be attributed solely to government spending. The growth in budget outlays has been more the result of economic factors than the cause of them.
We are now in the early stages of economic recovery following a short recession. Typically, a post-recessionary period has been marked by vigorous economic growth aided by anti-recessionary policy measures such as large tax cuts or big, stimulation spending programs. I have declined to recommend such actions to stimulate economic activity, because the persistent inflationary pressures that beset our economy today dictate a restrained fiscal policy.
Accordingly, I am asking the Congress to postpone until January 1, 1982, the personal tax reductions I had earlier proposed to take effect on January 1 of this year.
However, my 1982 budget proposes significant tax changes to increase the sources of financing for business investment. While emphasizing the need for continued fiscal restraint, this budget takes the first major step in a long-term tax reduction program designed to increase capital formation. The failure of our Nation's capital stock to grow at a rate that keeps pace with its labor force has clearly been one cause of our productivity slowdown. Higher investment rates are also critically needed to meet our Nation's energy needs, and to replace energy-inefficient plants and equipment with new energy-saving physical plants. The level of investment that is called for will not occur in the absence of policies to encourage it.
Therefore, my budget proposes a major liberalization of tax allowances for depreciation, as well as simplified depreciation accounting, increasing the allowable rates by about 40 percent. I am also proposing improvements in the investment tax credit, making it refundable, to meet the investment needs of firms with no current earnings.
These two proposals, along with carefully-phased tax reductions for individuals, will improve both economic efficiency and tax equity. I urge the Congress to enact legislation along the lines and timetable I have proposed.
THE 1982 BUDGET
The FY 1982 budget I have sent to the Congress continues our four-year policy of prudence and restraint. While the budget deficits during my term are higher than I would have liked, their size is determined for the most part by economic conditions. And in spite of these conditions, the relative size of the deficit continues to decline. In 1976, before I took office, the budget deficit equalled 4 percent of gross national product. It had been cut to 2.3 percent in the 1980 fiscal year just ended. My 1982 budget contains a deficit estimated to be less than 1 percent of our gross national product.
The rate of growth in Federal spending has been held to a minimum. Nevertheless, outlays are still rising more rapidly than many had anticipated, the result of many powerful forces in our society:
We face a threat to our security, as events in Afghanistan, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe make clear. We have a steadily aging population and, as a result, the biggest single increase in the Federal budget is the rising cost of retirement programs, particularly social security. We face other important domestic needs: to continue responsibility for the disadvantaged; to provide the capital needed by our cities and our transportation systems; to protect our environment; to revitalize American industry; and to increase the export of American goods and services so essential to the creation of jobs and a trade surplus.
Yet the Federal Government itself may not always be the proper source of such assistance. For example, it must not usurp functions if they can be more appropriately decided upon, managed, and financed by the private sector or by State and local governments. My Administration has always sought to consider the proper focus of responsibility for the most efficient resolution of problems.
We have also recognized the need to simplify the system of grants to State and local governments. I have again proposed several grant consolidations in the 1982 budget, including a new proposal that would consolidate several highway programs.
The pressures for growth in Federal use of national resources are great. My Administration has initiated many new approaches to cope with these pressures. We started a multi-year budget system, and we began a system for controlling Federal credit programs. Yet in spite of increasing needs to limit spending growth, we have consistently adhered to these strong budget principles:
Our Nation's armed forces must always stand sufficiently strong to deter aggression and to assure our security. An effective national energy plan is essential to increase domestic production of oil and gas, to encourage conservation of our scarce energy resources, to stimulate conversion to more abundant fuels, and to reduce our trade deficit. The essential human needs for our citizens must be given the highest priority. The Federal Government must lead the way in investment in the Nation's technological future. The Federal Government has an obligation to nurture and protect our environment—the common resource, birthright, and sustenance of the American people.
My 1982 budget continues to support these principles. It also proposes responsible tax reductions to encourage a more productive economy, and adequate funding of our highest priority programs within an overall policy of constraint.
Fiscal restraint must be continued in the years ahead. Budgets must be tight enough to convince those who set wages and prices that the Federal Government is serious about fighting inflation but not so tight as to choke off all growth.
Careful budget policy should be supplemented by other measures designed to reduce inflation at lower cost in lost output and employment. These other steps include measures to increase investment—such as the tax proposals included in my 1982 budget—and measures to increase competition and productivity in our economy. Voluntary incomes policies can also directly influence wages and prices in the direction of moderation and thereby bring inflation down faster and at lower cost to the economy. Through a tax-based incomes policy (TIP) we could provide tax incentives for firms and workers to moderate their wage and price increases. In the coming years, control of Federal expenditures can make possible periodic tax reductions. The Congress should therefore begin now to evaluate the potentialities of a TIP program so that when the next round of tax reductions is appropriate a TIP program will be seriously considered.
During the last four years we have given top priority to meeting the needs of workers and providing additional job opportunities to those who seek work. Since the end of 1976:
Almost 9 million new jobs have been added to the nation's economy total employment has reached 97 million. More jobs than ever before are held by women, minorities and young people. Employment over the past four years has increased by: 17% for adult women 11% for blacks, and 30% for Hispanics employment of black teenagers increased by more than 5%, reversing the decline that occurred in the previous eight years.
Major initiatives launched by this Administration helped bring about these accomplishments and have provided a solid foundation for employment and training policy in the 1980's. In 1977, as part of the comprehensive economic stimulus program:
425,000 public service jobs were created A $1 billion youth employment initiative funded 200,000 jobs the doubling of the Job Corps to 44,000 slots began and 1 million summer youth jobs were approved—a 25 percent increase.
The Humphrey-Hawkins Full Employment Act became law the $400 million Private Sector Initiatives Program was begun a targeted jobs tax credit for disadvantaged youth and others with special employment barriers was enacted the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act was reauthorized for four years.
A $6 billion welfare reform proposal was introduced with funding for 400,000 public service jobs welfare reform demonstration projects were launched in communities around the country the Vice President initiated a nationwide review of youth unemployment in this country.
The findings of the Vice President's Task Force revealed the major education and employment deficits that exist for poor and minority youngsters. As a result a $2 billion youth education and jobs initiative was introduced to provide unemployed youth with the basic education and work experience they need to compete in the labor market of the 1980's. As part of the economic revitalization program several steps were proposed to aid workers in high unemployment communities:
An additional 13 weeks of unemployment benefits for the long term unemployed. $600 million to train the disadvantaged and unemployed for new private sector jobs. Positive adjustment demonstrations to aid workers in declining industries. The important Title VII Private Sector Initiatives Program was reauthorized for an additional two years.
In addition to making significant progress in helping the disadvantaged and unemployed, important gains were realized for all workers:
An historic national accord with organized labor made it possible for the views of working men and women to be heard as the nation's economic and domestic policies were formulated; the Mine Safety and Health Act brought about improved working conditions for the nation's 500,000 miners. substantial reforms of Occupational Safety and Health Administration were accomplished to help reduce unnecessary burdens on business and to focus on major health and safety problems; the minimum wage was increased over a four year period from $2.30 to $3.35 an hour; the Black Lung Benefit Reform Act was signed into law; attempts to weaken Davis-Bacon Act were defeated.
While substantial gains have been made in the last four years, continued efforts are required to ensure that this progress is continued:
Government must continue to make labor a full partner in the policy decisions that affect the interests of working men and women; a broad, bipartisan effort to combat youth unemployment must be sustained compassionate reform of the nation's welfare system should be continued with employment opportunities provided for those able to work; workers in declining industries should be provided new skills and help in finding employment.
Over the past year, the U.S. trade picture improved as a result of solid export gains in both manufactured and agricultural products. Agricultural exports reached a new record of over $40 billion, while manufactured exports have grown by 24 percent to a record $144 billion. In these areas the United States recorded significant surpluses of $24 billion and $19 billion respectively. While our oil imports remained a major drain on our foreign exchange earnings, that drain was somewhat moderated by a 19 percent decline in the volume of oil imports.
U.S. trade negotiators made significant progress over the past year in assuring effective implementation of the agreements negotiated during the Tokyo Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations. Agreements reached with the Japanese government, for example, will assure that the United States will be able to expand its exports to the Japanese market in such key areas as telecommunications equipment, tobacco, and lumber. Efforts by U.S. trade negotiators also helped to persuade a number of key developing countries to accept many of the non-tariff codes negotiated during the Multilateral Trade Negotiations. This will assure that these countries will increasingly assume obligations under the international trading system.
A difficult world economic environment posed a challenge for the management of trade relations. U.S. trade negotiators were called upon to manage serious sectoral problems in such areas as steel, and helped to assure that U.S. chemical exports will have continued access to the European market.
Close consultations with the private sector in the United States have enabled U.S. trade negotiators to pinpoint obstacles to U.S. trade in services, and to build a basis for future negotiations. Services have been an increasingly important source of export earnings for the United States, and the United States must assure continued and increased access to foreign markets.
The trade position of the United States has improved. But vigorous efforts are needed in a number of areas to assure continued market access for U.S. exports, particularly agricultural and high technology products, in which the United States continues to have a strong competitive edge. Continued efforts are also needed to remove many domestic disincentives, which now hamper U.S. export growth. And we must ensure that countries do not manipulate investment, or impose investment performance requirements which distort trade and cost us jobs in this country.
In short, we must continue to seek free—but fair—trade. That is the policy my Administration has pursued from the beginning, even in areas where foreign competition has clearly affected our domestic industry. In the steel industry, for instance, we have put Trigger Price Mechanism into place to help prevent the dumping of steel. That action has strengthened the domestic steel industry. In the automobile industry, we have worked— without resort to import quotas—to strengthen the industry's ability to modernize and compete effectively.
I have often said that there is nothing small about small business in America. These firms account for nearly one-half our gross national product; over half of new technology; and much more than half of the jobs created by industry.
Because this sector of the economy is the very lifeblood of our National economy, we have done much together to improve the competitive climate for smaller firms. These concerted efforts have been an integral part of my program to revitalize the economy.
They include my campaign to shrink substantially the cash and time consuming red tape burden imposed on business. They include my personally-directed policy of ambitiously increasing the Federal contracting dollars going to small firms, especially those owned by women and minorities. And they include my proposals to reinvigorate existing small businesses and assist the creation of new ones through tax reform; financing assistance; market expansion; and support of product innovation.
Many of my initiatives to facilitate the creation and growth of small businesses were made in response to the White House Conference on Small Business, which I convened. My Administration began the implementation of most of the ideas produced last year by that citizen's advisory body; others need to be addressed. I have proposed the reconvening of the Conference next year to review progress; reassess priorities; and set new goals. In the interim I hope that the incoming Administration and the new Congress will work with the committee I have established to keep these business development ideas alive and help implement Conference recommendations.
One of the most successful developments of my Administration has been the growth and strengthening of minority business. This is the first Administration to put the issue on the policy agenda as a matter of major importance. To implement the results of our early efforts in this field I submitted legislation to Congress designed to further the development of minority business.
We have reorganized the Office of Minority Business into the Minority Business Development Administration in the Department of Commerce. MBDA has already proven to be a major factor in assisting minority businesses to achieve equitable competitive positions in the marketplace.