THE WHITE HOUSE AT WORK
Thursday, February 4, 1999
PRESIDENT CLINTON AND VICE PRESIDENT GORE:
A STRONG AND STABLE ECONOMY, FISCAL DISCIPLINE FOR CONTINUED PROSPERITY
We can strengthen Social Security and Medicare -- while paying down our debt and freeing up trillions of dollars for private-sector investment. We can see to it that our workforce is the most highly trained, highly skilled in the world. We can create a freer, fairer trading system for 21st Century America.
President Bill Clinton
February 4, 1999
Today, President Clinton addresses the annual Baldrige Awards Ceremony where he will announce the release of a report by the Council on Economic Advisers reaffirming that our economy is the strongest it has been in a generation. The President will renew his call to use this time of prosperity to ensure our long-term economic strength through fiscal discipline, strategic investment in our people, and expanded free and fair trade.
The Strongest Economy In A Generation. Today, the President's Council of Economic Advisers is releasing its annual report on the state of the American economy. The report shows that:
- The American economy has grown for 94 consecutive months -- the longest peacetime expansion in history;
- Nearly 18 million new jobs have been created since the President and Vice President came into office;
- Unemployment is at its lowest peacetime rate since 1957, and unemployment for African-Americans and Hispanics have reached record lows;
- Inflation is at a generational low, and wages are rising at twice the rate of inflation.
Retaining Fiscal Discipline To Ensure Continued Prosperity. Our economic expansion is due in large part to the fiscal discipline installed by the Clinton Administration in 1993. To ensure that our economy remains strong, and that we meet the obligations of the future, the President proposes to:
- Reserve 62 percent of budget surpluses over the next 15 years to help ensure the solvency of Social Security for the next 55 year;
- Reserve 15 percent of budget surpluses over the next 15 years to extend the life of Medicare until 2020;
By following the President's plan, we will not only stabilize and extend these important programs, we will pay down our national debt by two-thirds, allowing us to achieve the lowest level of publicly held debt as a share of our economy since 1917. This debt reduction will raise national savings, lower interest rates, and release private sector capital to foster continued job growth and opportunity.
Providing Americans With 21st Century Skills For 21st Century Jobs. If Americans are to compete for the high-wage, high-skill jobs of tomorrow, we must ensure that they are equipped to meet that challenge. Even as we have balanced our budget, the President and Vice President have nearly doubled funding for education and training for our current and future workforce. The President's fiscal year 2000 budget will help us take the next critical steps. The President is calling for:
- A five -year commitment to ensure training and re-employment services for all Americans who lose their jobs;
- A national campaign for adult education and literacy to help the millions of adults who struggle with basic reading or math or English;
- Strengthening our commitment to helping disadvantaged youth secure new jobs and a more stable future.
Expanding Free And Fair Trade. America must maintain its leadership in the global economy. To do that, we must work to ensure that the financial crisis of 1998 does not turn into the trade crisis of 1999. The President has led the world in efforts to contain the crisis abroad -- and he will continue to do so. At the same time, the President will work with leading Western economies to build the right kind of financial architecture to prevent and contain future crises. To build greater momentum on trade, the President has called for a new round of global trade negotiations to expand trade in services, manufacturing, and farm products. Last week, the Vice President announced a plan to call for broad and deep reductions in agricultural tariffs, which now average a steep 40%. The President is committed to open trade that is fair, so he will fight to ensure that ordinary citizens in all countries actually benefit from trade -- a trade that promotes the dignity of work and the rights of workers, and protects the environment.