America's Future Free and Secure
Proposed by the Committee on Resolutions
Republican National Convention
August 20, 1984
This year, the American people will choose between two diametrically opposed visions of what America should be.
The Republican Party looks at our people and sees a new dawn of the American spirit.
The Democratic Party looks at our nation and sees the twilight of the American soul.
Republicans affirm that now, as throughout history, the spiritual and intellectual genius of the American people will create a better nation and maintain a just peace. To Republicans, creativity and growth are imperatives for a new era of opportunity for all.
The Republican Party's vision of America's future, the heart of our 1984 Platform, begins with a basic premise:
From freedom comes opportunity; from opportunity comes growth; from growth comes progress.
This is not some abstract formula. It is the vibrant, beating heart of the American experience. No matter how complex our problems, no matter how difficult our tasks, it is freedom that inspires and guides the American Dream.
If everything depends on freedom—and it does—then securing freedom, at home and around the world, is one of the most important endeavors a free people can undertake.
Thus, the title of our Platform, "America's Future: Free and Secure," is more than a summary of our Platform's message. It is the essence.
The Democratic Party understands none of this. It thinks our country has passed its peak. It offers Americans redistribution instead of expansion, contraction instead of growth, and despair instead of hope. In foreign policy it asserts the rhetoric of freedom, but in practice it follows a policy of withdrawal and isolation.
The Democratic Party, in its 1984 Platform, has tried to expropriate the optimism and vision that marked the 1980 Republican Platform.
Rhetorical pilfering of Republican ideals cannot disguise one of history's major ironies: the party whose 1932 standard-bearer told the American people, as president, that all we have to fear is fear itself has itself become the party of fear.
Today we declare ourselves the Party of Hope—not for some but for all.
It has been said that mercy must have a human heart and pity a human face. We agree. Democrats measure social programs in terms of government activity alone. But the divine command to help our neighbor is directed to each individual and not to a bureaucratic machine. Not every problem cries out for a federal solution.
We must help the poor escape poverty by building an economy which creates more jobs, the greatest poverty fighter of them all. Not to help the poor is to abandon them and demean our society; but to help the poor without offering them a chance to escape poverty is ultimately to degrade us all.
The great tasks of compassion must be accomplished both by people who care and by policies which foster economic growth to enhance all human development.
In all these areas, at home and abroad, Ronald Reagan has demonstrated the boldness of vision, the optimism for our future, and the confidence in the American people that can transform human lives and the life of a nation. That is what we expect from a President who, wounded by an assassin, walked his way into a hospital and cheerfully assured the world that he and his country would not be deterred from their destiny.
His example has shaped the 1984 Republican Platform, given it meaning and inspired its vision. We stand with President Reagan and with Vice President Bush to make it a reality.
Economic Freedom and Prosperity
Free Enterprise, Democracy, and the Role of Government
Free enterprise is fundamental to the American way of life. It is inseparable from the social, religious, political, and judicial institutions which form the bedrock of a nation dedicated to individual freedom and human rights.
Economic growth enables all citizens to share in the nation's great physical and spiritual wealth, and it is maximized by giving them the fullest opportunity to engage in economic activities and to retain the rewards of their labor.
Our society provides both a ladder of opportunity on which all can climb to success and a safety net of assistance for those who need it. To safeguard both, government must protect property rights, provide a sound currency, and minimize its intrusions into individual decisions to work, save, invest, and take risks.
The role of the federal government should be limited. We reaffirm our conviction that State and local governments closest to the people are the best and most efficient. While President Reagan has done much to alleviate federal regulatory and bureaucratic burdens on individuals and businesses, Congress has failed to act. The size and scope of the federal government remains much too large and must be reduced.
During the Carter-Mondale Administration, no group of Americans was spared from the impact of a failing economy. Family budgets were stretched to the limit to keep pace with increases in taxes and costs of food, energy, and housing. For the first time, owning a home slipped out of reach for millions. Working people saw their wage increases outpaced by inflation. Older Americans saw their savings and retirement incomes consumed by basic living costs. Young people found job opportunities narrowing. Disadvantaged Americans faced an inefficient and wasteful bureaucracy which perpetuated programs of dependency. American business and industry faced recession, unemployment, and upheaval, as high interest rates, inflation, government regulation, and foreign competition combined to smother all enterprise and strike at our basic industries.
When President Reagan took office in 1981, our economy was in a disastrous state. Inflation raged at 12.4 percent. The cost of living had jumped 45 percent in the Carter-Mondale years. The prime rate was 21.5 percent. Federal spending increases of 17 percent per year, massive tax rate increases due to inflation, and a monetary policy debasing the dollar had destroyed our economic stability.
We brought about a new beginning. Americans are better off than they were four years ago, and they're still improving. Almost six and one-half million have found jobs since the recovery began, the largest increase in our history. One and one-half million have come in manufacturing—a part of our economy designated for stagnation and government control by Democrats. More than 107 million Americans, more than ever before, are working. Their industry proves that policies which increase incentives for work, saving, and investment do lead to economic growth, while the redistributionist policies of the past did cause unemployment, declining incomes, and idle industries.
We will therefore continue to return control over the economy to the people. Our policies will maximize the role of the individual and build on the success of the past four years: (a) the most rapid decline in unemployment of any post-World War II recovery; (b) inflation dramatically reduced; (c) interest rates significantly cut; (d) a 25 percent cut in federal tax rates; (e) automatic tax increases eliminated by indexing tax rates; (f) the financial holdings of American families increased by over $1.8 trillion; (g) oil prices down 35 percent in real terms; and (h) 300 million hours once devoted to government paperwork returned to individuals and business.
Our most important economic goal is to expand and continue the economic recovery and move the nation to full employment without inflation. We therefore oppose any attempts to increase taxes, which would harm the recovery and reverse the trend to restoring control of the economy to individual Americans. We favor reducing deficits by continuing and expanding the strong economic recovery brought about by the policies of this Administration and by eliminating wasteful and unnecessary government spending. Mondale-Ferraro, by contrast, boast that they will raise taxes, with ruinous effects on the economy.
To assure workers and entrepreneurs the capital required to provide jobs and growth, we will further expand incentives for personal saving. We will expand coverage of the Individual Retirement Account, especially to homemakers, and increase and index the annual limits on IRA contributions. We will increase the incentives for savings by moving toward the reduction of taxation of interest income. We will work for indexation of capital assets and elimination of the double taxation of dividends to increase the attractiveness of equity investments for small investors.
We oppose withholding on dividend and interest income. It would discourage saving and investment, create needless paperwork, and rob savers of their due benefits. A higher personal saving rate is key to deficit control. We therefore oppose any disincentives to thrift.
History has proven again and again that wage and price controls will not stop inflation. Such controls only cause shortages, inequities, and ultimately high prices. We remain firmly opposed to the imposition of wage and price controls.
We are committed to bringing the benefits of economic growth to all Americans. Therefore, we support policies which will increase opportunities for the poorest in our society to climb the economic ladder. We will work to establish enterprise zones in urban and rural America; we will work to enable those living in government-owned or subsidized housing to purchase their homes. As part of our effort to reform the tax system, we will reduce disincentives to employment which too often result in a poverty trap for poor American families.
Fiscal and Monetary Policy
A major goal of all Republicans in 1980 was to reduce the oppressive tax rates strangling Americans. The tax burden, which had increased steadily during the Carter-Mondale Administration, was at a record high and scheduled to go even higher. Taxes as a percentage of GNP rose from 18.2 percent in 1976 to 21 percent in 1981 and would have reached 24 percent by 1984. The tax bill for the median-income family of four had risen from $1,713 in 1976 to $2,778 in 1980 and would have reached $3,943 in 1984.
Double-digit inflation had pushed individuals into ever higher marginal tax brackets. High marginal tax rates reduced the incentive for work, saving, and investment, and retarded economic growth, productivity, and job creation.
With the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981, we carried out the first phase of tax reduction and reform by cutting marginal tax rates by 25 percent. Tax brackets were indexed to prevent tax hikes through bracket creep. In addition, families received further relief by reducing the marriage penalty and lowering estate and gift taxes.
Businesses and workers benefitted when we replaced outdated depreciation systems with the accelerated cost recovery system, reduced capital gains tax rates, and lowered the pressures which high tax rates place on wage demands. Investment in plants and equipment has increased 16.5 percent since 1982, resulting in 6.3 million new jobs.
In 1980, we promised the American people a tax cut which would be progressive and fair, reducing tax rates across-the-board. Despite Democrat opposition we succeeded in reducing the tax rates of all taxpayers by about 25 percent with low-income taxpayers receiving a slightly larger percentage tax reduction than high-income taxpayers. These sound economic policies have succeeded. We will continue our efforts to further reduce tax rates and now foresee no economic circumstances which would call for increased taxation.
The bulk of the tax cut goes to those who pay most of the taxes: middle-income taxpayers. Nearly three-fourths of its benefits go to taxpayers earning less than $50,000. In fact, these taxpayers now pay a smaller percentage of total income taxes than they did in 1980; and those earning more than $50,000 pay a larger percentage of total income taxes than they did in 1980.
As a result, the income tax system is fairer now than it was under Carter-Mondale. To keep it fair, Republicans indexed the tax code: starting in 1985, individual tax brackets, the zero bracket amount, and the personal exemption will be adjusted annually for inflation. As a result, cost of living raises will no longer push taxpayers into higher brackets.
For years, congressional big spenders used inflation as a silent partner to raise taxes without taking the heat for passing tax increases. With indexing, taxpayers will be protected against that theft. Low- and moderate-income taxpayers benefit the most from indexing and would bear the brunt of the hidden tax increases if it were repealed.
Nearly 80 percent of the tax increase from the repeal of indexing would fall on taxpayers earning less than $50,000. For a family of four earning $10,000, repeal of indexing would result in a staggering 40 percent tax increase over the next five years. We pledge to preserve tax indexing. We will fight any attempt to repeal, modify, or defer it.
The Republican Party pledges to continue our efforts to lower tax rates, change and modernize the tax system, and eliminate the incentive-destroying effects of graduated tax rates. We therefore support tax reform that will lead to a fair and simple tax system and believe a modified flat tax—with specific exemptions for such items as mortgage interest—is a most promising approach.
For families, we will restore the value of personal exemptions, raising it to a minimum of $2,000 and indexing to prevent further erosion. We will preserve the deduction for mortgage interest payments. We will propose an employment income exclusion to assure that tax burdens are not shifted to the poor. Tax reform must not be a guise for tax increases. We believe such an approach will enhance the income and opportunities of families and low- and middle-income Americans.
We oppose taxation of churches, religious schools, or any other religious institutions. However, we do believe that any business income unrelated to the religious function of the institution should be subject to the same taxes paid by competing businesses.
We oppose the setting of artificially high interest rates which would drastically curtail the ability of sellers to finance sales of their own property. Rather, we encourage marketplace transfer of homes, farms, and smaller commercial properties.
Spending and Budget
The Republican Party believes the federal budget must be balanced. We are committed to eliminating deficits and the excessive spending that causes them. In 1980, federal spending was out of control, increasing at a rate of over 17 percent. We have cut that growth rate by almost two-thirds.
But Congress ignored many of the President's budget reforms. It scaled back and delayed the tax cuts. As a result, we began to pay the price for the irresponsible spending and tax policies of the Carter-Mondale Administration. The resulting recession dramatically increased the deficit, and government spending continues at an unacceptable level.
Democrats claim deficits are caused by Americans' paying too little in taxes. Nonsense. We categorically reject proposals to increase taxes in a misguided effort to balance the budget. Tax and spending increases would reduce incentives for economic activity and threaten the recovery.
Even when we achieve full employment and even with robust economic growth, federal spending—including credit programs and other off-budget items—will remain too high. As a percentage of GNP, it must be reduced.
The congressional budget process is bankrupt. Its implementation has not brought spending under control, and it must be thoroughly reformed. We will work for the constitutional amendment requiring a balanced federal budget passed by the Republican Senate but blocked by the Democrat-controlled House and denounced by the Democrat Platform. If Congress fails to act on this issue, a constitutional convention should be convened to address only this issue in order to bring deficit spending under control.
The President is denied proper control over the federal budget. To remedy this, we support enhanced authority to prevent wasteful spending, including a line-item veto.
Our 1980 Platform promised to bring inflation under control. We did it. This cruelest tax—hitting hardest at the poor, the aged, and those on fixed incomes—raged up to 13.3 percent under Carter-Mondale. We have brought it down to about 4 percent and we strive for lower levels. The effects of our program have been dramatic. Real, after-tax incomes are rising. Food prices are stable. Interest rates have fallen dramatically, leading to a resurgence in home building, auto purchases, and capital investment.
Just as our tax policy has only laid the groundwork for a new era of prosperity, reducing inflation is only the first step in restoring a stable currency. A dollar now should be worth a dollar in the future. This allows real economic growth without inflation and is the primary goal of our monetary policy.
The Federal Reserve Board's destabilizing actions must therefore stop. We need coordination between fiscal and monetary policy, timely information about Fed decisions, and an end to the uncertainties people face in obtaining money and credit. The Gold Standard may be a useful mechanism for realizing the Federal Reserve's determination to adopt monetary policies needed to sustain price stability.
Domestically, a stable dollar will mean lower interest rates, rising real wages, guaranteed value for retirement and education savings, growth of assets through productive investment, affordable housing, and greater job security.
Internationally, a stable dollar will mean stable exchange rates, protection for contract prices, commodity prices which change only when real production changes, greater resources devoted to job-creating investment, less protectionist pressure, and increased trade and income for all nations.
Our 1980 Platform declared that "excessive regulation remains a major component of our nation's spiraling inflation and continues to stifle private initiatives, individual freedom, and State and local government autonomy." President Reagan's regulatory reform program contributed significantly to economic recovery by removing bureaucratic roadblocks and encouraging efficiency.
In many fields, government regulation either did not achieve its goals or made limited improvements at exorbitant costs. We have worked with industry and labor to get better results through cooperation rather than coercion.
The flood of regulation has stopped. The number of new regulations has been halved. Unrestrained growth in the size and spending of the regulatory workforce has stopped. Some $150 billion will thereby be saved over the next decade by consumers and businesses. In the past four years alone, 300 million hours of government-mandated paperwork were eliminated. We have reduced the regulatory burden on Americans by making government rules as cost-effective as possible. We must maintain this progress through comprehensive regulatory reform legislation and a constitutional procedure which will enable Congress to properly oversee executive branch rules by reviewing and, if necessary, overturning them.
So consumers can have the widest choice of services at the lowest possible prices, Republicans commit themselves to breaking down artificial barriers to entry created by antiquated regulations. With the explosion of computer technologies just beginning to enhance our way of life, we will encourage rather than hinder innovative competition in telecommunications and financial services.
There are still federal statutes that keep Americans out of the work-force. Arbitrary minimum wage rates, for example, have eliminated hundreds of thousands of jobs and, with them, the opportunity for young people to get productive skills, good work habits, and a weekly paycheck. We encourage the adoption of a youth opportunity wage to encourage employers to hire and train inexperienced workers.
We demand repeal of prohibitions against household manufacturing. Restrictions on work in the home are intolerable intrusions into our private lives and limit economic opportunity, especially for women and the homebound.
Support For Small Business
America's small business entrepreneurs have led the way in fueling economic recovery. Almost all the 11 million non-farm businesses in the United States are small, but they provide over 50 million jobs. We must keep them strong to ensure lasting prosperity. Republicans reaffirm our historic ties with independent business people and pledge continued efforts to help this energetic segment of our economy.
We have created a climate conducive to small business growth. Our tax rate reductions increased incentives for entrepreneurial activity and provided investment capital through incentives to save. Reduced capital gains taxes further stimulated capital formation and increased the return on small business investment. Greater depreciation allowances encouraged modernization. Estate tax changes will allow families to keep the rewards of their labors.
We have insisted on less federal interference with small business. As a result, burdensome regulations were reduced, and runaway agencies like OSHA were reined in. We have ensured that the federal government pays its bills on time or pays interest penalties.
Presidential action has focused needed attention on increased government procurement from small and minority businesses. In FY 1983 the Small Business Administration directed $2.3 billion in federal sole-source contracts to minority firms through its 8(a) program—a 45 percent increase over 1980. This record amount was achieved along with management improvements that eliminated past abuses in that program.
Three million women business owners are generating $40 billion in annual receipts and creating many new jobs. Yet, their enterprises face barriers in credit, access to capital, and technical assistance. They lag far behind in federal procurement contracts. We are dedicated to helping them become full partners in the economic mainstream of small business.
To them and to all who make America grow, we reaffirm out commitment to reduce marginal tax rates further. We oppose any scheme to roll back the estate tax cuts and will seek further reductions for family businesses. Moreover, we support lower capital gains tax rates and indexation of asset values to protect investors from inflation.
We will create enterprise zones to revitalize economically depressed areas by offering simplified regulation and lower taxes for small businesses that relocate there.
We will make it easier for small businesses to compete for government contracts, not only to assist the private sector but also to provide competition and greater cost control in federal purchases.
In a continuing effort to offset our balance of trade deficit, we reaffirm our strong support for this nation's tourism industry.
Science and Technology
We pledge to continue the Reagan Administration's science and technology policies, which have enhanced economic recovery and our nation's research capability.
We have refocused federal research and development spending on basic research, and it has increased more than 50 percent.
We propose to extend the incremental research and development tax credit to stimulate greater activity in the private sector.
To allow U.S. firms to compete on an equal footing with foreign companies, we will permit U.S. firms to cooperate in joint research and development projects.
In 1980, energy prices were at all-time highs and rising rapidly. The OPEC cartel had an iron grip on free world economies. Oil imports rose, and domestic production fell under Carter-Mondale price controls and allocations. Competition in energy markets declined.
We have all but eliminated those disastrous policies. President Reagan's immediate decontrol of oil prices precipitated a decline in real oil prices and increased competition in all energy markets. Oil price decontrol crippled the OPEC cartel.
The results have been dramatic. Imported oil prices are down 35 percent in real terms. The real price of gasoline is at a five-year low. Energy consumption has declined relative to economic growth. Energy efficiency increased by 12 percent since 1980, with lower costs to businesses and families. The Strategic Petroleum Reserve is now four times larger than in 1980, providing significant protection against any disruption in imports.
We will complete America's energy agenda. Natural gas should be responsibly decontrolled as rapidly as possible so that families and businesses can enjoy the full benefits of lower prices and greater production, as with decontrolled oil. We are committed to the repeal of the confiscatory windfall profits tax, which has forced the American consumer to pay more for less and left us vulnerable to the energy and economic strangle-hold of foreign producers.
While protecting the environment, we should permit abundant American coal to be mined and consumed. Environmentally sound development of oil and natural gas on federal properties (which has brought the taxpayers $20 billion in revenue in the last four years) should continue. We believe that as controls have been lifted from the energy marketplace, conservation and alternative sources of energy, such as solar, wind, and geothermal, have become increasingly cost-effective. We further take pride in the fact that Reagan Administration economic policies have created an environment most favorable to the small businesses that pioneer these alternative technologies.
We now have a sound, long-term program for disposal of nuclear waste. We will work to eliminate unnecessary regulatory procedures so that nuclear plants can be brought on line quickly, efficiently, and safely. We call for an energy policy, the stability and continuity of which will restore and encourage public confidence in the fiscal stability of the nuclear industry.
We are committed to the termination of the Department of Energy. President Reagan has succeeded in abolishing that part which was telling Americans what to buy, where to buy it, and at what price—the regulatory part of DOE. Then he reduced the number of bureaucrats by 25 percent. Now is the time to complete the job.
Securing a Prosperous Rural America
The Republican Party is thankful for, and proud of, the ability of American farmers and ranchers to provide abundant, high quality, and nutritious food and fiber for all our citizens and millions more throughout the world. This unmatched ability to produce is basic to this country's high standard of living. We recognize that a prosperous agriculture is essential to the future of America and to the health and welfare of its people. We have set the stage for securing prosperity in rural America. In 1979, farm and ranch production costs increased 19 percent, in 1983 they actually declined by almost 3 percent. The prime interest rate has been brought down from 21.5 percent to 13 percent. Our reputation as a reliable world food and fiber supplier has been restored. Despite that remarkable beginning, much remains to be done.
We believe well managed, efficient American farm and ranch operations are the most cost-effective and productive food and fiber suppliers in the world, and therefore have the inherent economic capability and right to make a profit from their labor, management, and investments. The primary responsibility of government with respect to agriculture is to create the opportunity for a free and competitive economic and policy environment supportive of the American farmers' and ranchers' industrious and independent spirit and innovative talent. We further believe that, to the extent some well-managed and efficient farms and ranches are temporarily unable to make a profit in the marketplace, it is in the public interest to provide reasonable and targeted assistance.
The Carter-Mondale Administration, and 28 years of a Congress rigidly controlled by the Democrats and out of touch with the people, brought farmers and ranchers to the hardest times since the Great Depression. Farm and ranch incomes fell to disastrous levels. Uncontrolled inflation and the highest interest rates in over a century prevented farmers from operating at a profit, and 300,000 of them went out of business under Carter-Mondale.
In the span of but four devastating years, the Carter-Mondale Administration managed to jeopardize this country's agricultural heritage by putting America's farmers $78 billion further in debt (a 75 percent increase) and inflating farmers' annual food and fiber production costs by $46 billion (55 percent increase). These irresponsible inflationary policies led to spiraling land values and to the illusion of enhanced debt-bearing wealth. This paper wealth was converted into very real and unavoidable debt. Debt payments, combined with record cost of production levels, have presented many farmers and ranchers with severe cash flow problems. On top of all that came the Carter-Mondale grain embargo of 1980. Thus, one begins to understand the origins of the financial stress farmers and ranchers are experiencing today. Adding insult to injury, farmers and ranchers found themselves blamed as Carter-Mondale inflation ballooned consumer food costs by $115 billion, a 50 percent increase in four years.
Republicans support a sound agricultural credit policy, including the Farm Credit System, to meet agriculture's expanded credit needs. We support an extensive examination of agricultural and rural credit and crop insurance programs to assure they are adequately serving our farmers and rural residents.
Interest Rates and Farm and Ranch Indebtedness
The magnitude of indebtedness and the level of interest rates significantly influence farm and ranch profitability. The interrelationship between high interest rates and the high value of the dollar has caused an erosion in our competitive position in export markets. Republicans recognize that lower interest rates are vital to a healthy farm and ranch economy and pledge that an economic priority of the first order will be the further lowering of interest rates by intensifying our efforts to cut federal spending to achieve a balanced budget and by reforming Federal Reserve policy.
Republicans are very much aware of the devastating impact which high interest rates have had, and continue to have, on the viability of America's farmers and ranchers. We also realize that, unless interest rates decline significantly in the near future, the character of American agriculture and rural life will be tragically changed. For these reasons, we pledge to pursue every possible course of action, including the consideration of temporary interest rate reductions, to ensure that the American farmer or rancher is not a patient that dies in the course of a successful economic operation.
Republicans are cognizant that there are many well-managed, efficient, farm and ranch operations which face bankruptcy and foreclosure. The foreclosures and resulting land sales will jeopardize the equity positions of neighboring farms and ranches, compounding financial problems in agriculture. Republicans pledge to implement comprehensive Farmers Home Administration and commercial farm and ranch debt restructuring procedures, including the establishment of local community farm and ranch finance committees, which will advise borrowers, lenders, and government officials regarding debt restructuring alternatives and farmer and rancher eligibility.
Setting the Stage for Farm and Ranch Recovery
Sensitive to the needs of farmers and ranchers, we have made the best of the tools available to deal with the Carter-Mondale failure. Among the many specific accomplishments of the Reagan Administration in agriculture, Republicans are proud to have:
• Lifted the Carter-Mondale grain embargo and demonstrated by word and deed that farm and ranch product embargoes will not be used as a tool of foreign policy, negotiated a long term agreement with the Soviet Union, and strengthened our credibility as a reliable supplier by enacting contract sanctity legislation.
• Increased food assistance and agricultural export financing programs to over $7 billion, a record level.
• Challenged unfair export subsidy practices and aggressively countered them with "blended credit" and other export expansion programs.
• Achieved major breakthroughs in Japan's beef and citrus quotas, allowing our exports to double over four years.
• Resisted protectionist efforts by other industries, such as domestic content legislation, that would cause a backlash against U.S. farm and ranch exports.
• Developed and implemented the PIK program to draw down burdensome reserve stocks of major commodities created by the Carter-Mondale embargo.
• Reformed bankruptcy law to provide for accelerated distribution of farm products in bankrupt elevators, acceptance of warehouse receipts and scale tickets as proof of ownership, and allowing a lien against elevator assets for unpaid farmers.
• Eliminated the marriage tax penalty for a surviving spouse and protected family farms and ranches by exempting, by 1987, up to $600,000 from estate taxes.
• Accelerated depreciation of farm and ranch equipment and buildings and increased the exemption for agricultural vehicles from the heavy vehicle use tax.
• Increased the gasoline tax exemption by 50 percent for alcohol fuels, stimulating demand for domestic grain production and reducing dependency on foreign oil.
• Worked with rural credit and farm and ranch lending institutions to assure adequate capital at the lowest possible interest rates.
• Responded to the emergency financial needs of farmers and ranchers stricken by drought and flood.
We want real profits for farmers and ranchers. We have begun the turnaround on farm and ranch incomes. Sound fiscal, monetary, and growth-oriented tax policies are essential if farmers and ranchers are to realize sufficient and enduring profits. We support legislation to permit farmers, ranchers, and other self-employed individuals to deduct from their gross income up to one-half of the cost of their personal hospitalization insurance premiums.
Government policies should strengthen the ability of farmers and ranchers to provide quality products at reasonable rates of return in an expanding economy. We believe that federal farm programs should be tailored to meet the economic needs and requirements of today's structurally diverse and internationally oriented agriculture. These programs must be sensitive to potential impacts on all agriculture, especially non-program commodities, livestock, agribusiness, and rural communities.
Republicans believe that the future of American agriculture lies in the utilization of our rich farmland, advanced technology, and hard working farm and ranch people, to supply food and fiber to the world. Traditional farm programs have threatened the confidence of America's farmers and ranchers and exhausted the patience of American taxpayers. We reject the policy of more of the same, and we further reject the Democrats' public utility vision of agriculture which views it as a problem to be minimized by further political and bureaucratic management. Our new programs will bring the flexibility to adjust to rapidly changing export market conditions and opportunities, and, in a timely and effective manner, respond to the inherent, uncontrollable risks of farming and ranching.
Rural Americans impart a special strength to our national character, important to us all. Whether farmers or not, all rural citizens should have the same consideration as those who live in towns and cities in economic development, energy, credit, transportation availability, and employment. Opportunities for non-farm jobs have become increasingly important to farm and ranch families, enhancing life and work in rural America.
Toward Fair and Expanded Markets and Responding to Hunger
Agriculture is an international advantage for the United States. But a successful farm and ranch policy demands earnest attention to building on the strength of our domestic production capacity and to developing world markets, for American agriculture cannot be prosperous without exports.
Our farmers and ranchers must have full access to world markets and should not have to face unfair export subsidies and predatory dumping by other producing nations without redress. Republicans believe that unfair trade practices and non-tariff barriers are so serious that a comprehensive renegotiation of multilateral trade arrangements must be undertaken to revitalize the free, fair, and open trade critical to worldwide economic growth.
The Republican Party is unalterably opposed to the use of embargoes of grain or other agricultural products as a tool of foreign policy. The Carter-Mondale grain embargo is—still more than any other factor—the cause of the present difficulties in American agriculture and possibly the irretrievable loss of foreign markets. Republicans say, "Never again." The Democratic Platform says nothing.
America has a long history of helping those in need, and the responsibility for food assistance has been shared by federal and State governments and neighborhood volunteers. Federal expenditures in this area exceeded $19 billion in 1983, the highest amount ever. Numerous private and public efforts assure that adequate food is available. This expresses faith in our future and reflects our people's goodness.
We will provide adequate resources in programs ranging from food stamps to school lunches for the truly needy. We also recognize that fraud and abuse must be eliminated from those programs. We stress maximum local control consistent with national objectives.
Reducing Excessive Regulation in Agriculture
Excessive federal regulations, many imposed by the Carter-Mondale Administration, have been a crushing burden.
In 1980, we pledged to make sensible reductions in regulations that drained the profitability from farming, ranching, and commercial fishing. We did just that. We restored balance to the Interior Department's ineffective predator-control policies, and we moderated the EPA's and the FDA's excessive adherence to "zero risk" standards concerning the use of pesticides, antibiotics, food additives, and preservatives.
Republicans favor modernizing our food-safety laws, providing guidelines for risk-benefit assessment, peer review, and regulatory flexibility consistent with other health and safety policies.
Soil and Water Conservation
Agriculture must be both economically and environmentally sustainable. The soil and water stewardship of our farmers, ranchers, watermen, and rural people is commendable. Republicans believe that long-term soil, water, and other conservation policies, emphasizing environmentally sound agricultural productivity, rangeland protection, fish and wildlife habitat, and balanced forestry management, must be a top priority. Conservation practices must be intensified and integrated with farm programs to safeguard our most valuable resources. Volunteer participation, emphasizing State and local control and adequate incentives, is essential to effective conservation.
In 1980, we pledged a water policy which addressed our national diversity in climate, geography, reclamation needs, and patterns of land ownership. We promised a partnership between the States and federal government which would not destroy traditional State supremacy in water law, and which would avert a water crisis in the coming decades. That partnership is now working to meet these challenges.
The Future of Farming
American agriculture is the world's most successful because of the hard work and creativity of family farmers and ranchers. They have benefitted immensely from agricultural research, extension, and teaching, unequalled in the world. Cooperative extension, operating in every country, brings the results of USDA and Land Grant University research to rural America. We support these programs, with special attention to marketing efficiencies, reduced production costs, and new uses for farm and ranch commodities. We also encourage the establishment of regional international research and export trade centers.
Our agricultural people have developed the ideals of free enterprise and have based their enterprise on our culture's basic element, the family. The family farm and ranch is defined as a unit of agricultural production managed as an enterprise where labor and management have an equity interest in the business and a direct gain or loss from its operation. Family farms and ranches are the heart, soul, and backbone of American agriculture; it is the family farm that makes our system work better than any other.
Our rural and coastal people developed a great diversity of support organizations. They organized farm and ranch cooperatives, and rural electric and telephone cooperatives to provide essential services. They established farm and ranch organizations to work for better farm policies and to improve the quality of rural life. Republicans note with particular pride and enthusiasm the vital impact women have always had in American farming and ranching, and we support efforts to increase their role.
American agriculture has always relied upon the hardworking people who harvest seasonal and perishable crops. Republicans support comprehensive farm-labor legislation, fair to workers and employers, to protect consumers from work stoppages which disrupt the flow of food.
Republicans also recognize the tremendous efforts of commercial fishers to bring nutritious seafood products to market, thus strengthening America's food base.
Our agriculture is both a global resource and a tremendous opportunity. Only America possesses the natural, technological, management, and labor resources to commercially develop agriculture's next frontier.
We are encouraged by innovation in agriculture, and applaud its diversity, creativity, and enterprise. Commercial applications of new technology and marketing and management innovations are creating additional opportunities for farming and ranching. Republicans have set the stage for building a new prosperity into our fundamentally strong agricultural system. We renew our national commitment to American farmers and ranchers.
International Economic Policy
The recent tremendous expansion of international trade has increased the standard of living worldwide. Our strong economy is attracting investment in the United States, which is providing capital needed for new jobs, technology, higher wages, and more competitive products.
We are committed to a free and open international trading system. All Americans benefit from the free flow of goods, services and capital, and the efficiencies of a vigorous international market. We will work with all of our international trading partners to eliminate barriers to trade, both tariff and non-tariff. As a first step, we call on our trading partners to join in a new round of trade negotiations to revise the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade in order to strengthen it. And we further call on our trading partners to join us in reviewing trade with totalitarian regimes.
But free trade must be fair trade. It works only when all trading partners accept open markets for goods, services, and investments. We will review existing trade agreements and vigorously enforce trade laws including assurance of access to all markets for our service industries. We will pursue domestic and international policies that will allow our American manufacturing and agricultural industries to compete in international markets. We will not tolerate the loss of American jobs to nationalized, subsidized, protected foreign industries, particularly in steel, automobiles, mining, footwear, textiles, and other basic industries. This production is sometimes financed with our own tax dollars through international institutions. We will work to stop funding of those projects which are detrimental to our own economy.
The greatest danger today to our international trade is a growing protectionist sentiment. Tremendous fluctuations in exchange rates have rendered long-term international contracts virtually useless. We therefore urge our trading partners to join us in evaluating and correcting the structural problems of the international monetary system, to base it on more stable exchange rates and free capital markets.
Further, we support reorganization of trade responsibilities in order to reduce overlap, duplication, and waste in the conduct of international trade and industry.
Revisions in that system will stabilize trade relations so that debtor nations can repay their debts. These debts are the direct result of their domestic policies, often mandated by multilateral institutions, combined with the breakdown of the international monetary system. Slower economic growth, reduced imports, and higher taxes will not relieve debt burdens, but worsen them. The only way to repay the debts is to create productive capacity to generate new wealth through economic expansion, as America has done.
Austerity should be imposed not on people, but on governments. Debtor nations seeking our assistance must increase incentives for growth by encouraging private investment, reducing taxes, and eliminating subsidies, price controls, and politically motivated development projects.
Security for the Individual
America was built on the institutions of home, family, religion, and neighborhood. From these basic building blocks came self-reliant individuals, prepared to exercise both rights and responsibilities.
In the community of individuals and families, every generation has relearned the art of self-government. In our neighborhoods, Americans have traditionally taken care of their needs and aided the less fortunate. In the process we developed, independent of government, the remarkable network of "mediating institutions"—religious groups, unions, community and professional associations. Prominent among them have been innumerable volunteer groups, from fire departments and neighborhood-watch patrols to meals-on-wheels and the little leagues.
Public policy long ignored these foundations of American life. Especially during the two decades preceding Ronald Reagan's election, the federal government eroded their authority, ignored their rights, and attempted to supplant their functions with programs at once intrusive and ineffectual. It thereby disrupted our traditional patterns of caring, sharing, and helping. It elbowed out the voluntary providers of services and aid instead of working through them.
By centralizing responsibility for social programs in Washington, liberal experimenters destroyed the sense of community that sustains local institutions. In many cases, they literally broke up neighborhoods and devastated rural communities.
Washington's governing elite thought they knew better than the people how to spend the people's money. They played fast and loose with our schools, with law enforcement, with welfare, with housing. The results were declining literacy and learning, an epidemic of crime, a massive increase in dependency, and the slumming of our cities.
Worst of all, they tried to build their brave new world by assaulting our basic values. They mocked the work ethic. They scorned frugality. They attacked the integrity of the family and parental rights. They ignored traditional morality. And they still do.
Our 1980 Republican Platform offered a renewed vision. We based it upon home, family, and community as the surest guarantees of both individual rights and national greatness. We asserted, as we do now, the ethical dimension of public policy: the need to return to enduring principles of conduct and firm standards of judgment.
The American people responded with enthusiasm. They knew that our roots, in family, home, and neighborhood, do not tie us down. They give us strength. Once more we call upon our people to assert their supervision over government, to affirm their rights against government, to uphold their interests within government.
Housing and Homeownership
Homeownership is part of the American Dream. For the last two decades, that dream has been endangered by bad public policy. Government unleashed a dreadful inflation upon homebuyers, driving mortgage rates beyond the reach of average families, as the prime rate rose more than 300 percent (from 6.5 percent to 21.5 percent). The American worker's purchasing power fell every year from 1977 through 1980.
No wonder the housing industry was crippled. Its workers faced recurrent recessions. The boom-and-bust cycle made saving foolish, investment risky, and housing scarce.
Federal housing blighted stable low-income neighborhoods, disrupting communities which people had held together for generations. Only government could have wasted billions of dollars to create the instant slums which disgrace our cities.
In our 1980 Platform, we pledged to reverse this situation. We have begun to do so, despite obstructionism from those who believe that the taxpayer's home is government's castle.
We attacked the basic problem, not the symptoms. We cut tax rates and reduced inflation to a fraction of the Carter-Mondale years. The median price house that would cost $94,800 if Carter-Mondale inflation had continued now costs $74,200. The average monthly mortgage payment, which rose by $342 during the Carter-Mondale years, has increased just $24 since January 1981. The American Dream has made a comeback.
To sustain it, we must finish the people's agenda.
We reaffirm our commitment to the federal-tax deductibility of mortgage interest payments. In the States, we stand with those working to lower property taxes that strike hardest at the poor, the elderly, and large families. We stand, as well, with Americans earning possession of their homes through "sweat-equity" programs.
We will, over time, replace subsidies and welfare projects with a voucher system, returning public housing to the free market.
Despite billions of dollars poured into public housing developments, conditions remain deplorable for many low-income Americans who live in them. These projects have become breeding grounds for the very problems they were meant to eliminate. Their dilapidated and crumbling structures testify to decades of corrupt or incompetent management by poverty bureaucrats.
Some residents of public housing developments have reversed these conditions by successfully managing their own housing units through creative self-help efforts. It is abundantly clear that their pride of ownership has been the most important factor contributing to the efficiency of operation, enhancing the quality of housing, improving community morale, and providing incentives for their self-improvement. The Republican Party therefore supports the development of programs which will lead to homeownership of public housing developments by current residents.
We strongly believe in open housing. We will vigorously enforce all fair housing laws and will not tolerate their distortion into quotas and controls.
Rent controls promise housing below its market cost but inevitably result in a shortage of decent homes. Our people should not have to underwrite any community which erodes its own housing supply by rent control.
Sound economic policy is good housing policy. In our expanding economy, where people are free to work and save, they will shelter their families without government intrusion.
Helping the less fortunate is one of America's noblest endeavors, made possible by the abundance of our free and competitive economy. Aid should be swift and adequate to ensure the necessities of a decent life.
Over the past two decades, welfare became a nightmare for the taxpayer and the poor alike. Fraud and abuse were rampant. The costs of public assistance are astronomical, in large part because resources often benefit the welfare industry rather than the poor.
During the 1970s, the number of people receiving federal assistance increased by almost 300 percent, from 9 million to 35 million, while our population increased by only 11.4 percent. This was a fantastic and unsustainable universalization of welfare.
Welfare's indirect effects were equally as bad. It became a substitute for urgently needed economic reforms to create more entry-level jobs. Government created a hellish cycle of dependency. Family cohesion was shattered, both by providing economic incentives to set up maternal households and by usurping the breadwinner's economic role in intact families.
The cruelest result was the maternalization of poverty, worsened by the breakdown of the family and accelerated by destructive patterns of conduct too long tolerated by permissive liberals. We endorse programs to assist female-headed households to build self-sufficiency, such as efforts by localities to enable participants to achieve permanent employment.
We have begun to clean up the welfare mess. We have dramatically reduced the poor's worst enemy—inflation—thereby protecting their purchasing power. Our resurgent economy has created over six million new jobs and reduced unemployment by 30 percent.
We have launched real welfare reforms. We have targeted benefits to the needy through tighter eligibility standards, enforced child-support laws, and encouraged "workfare" in the States. We gave States more leeway in managing welfare programs, more assistance with fraud control, and more incentives to hold down costs.
Only sustained economic growth, continuing our vigorous recovery, can give credible hope to those at the bottom of the opportunity ladder.
The working poor deserve special consideration, as do low-income families struggling to provide for their children. As part of a comprehensive simplification of the federal tax code, we will restore the real value of their personal tax exemptions so that families, particularly young families, can establish their economic independence.
Federal administration of welfare is the worst possible, detached from community needs and careless with the public's money. Our long tradition of State and local administration of aid programs must be restored. Programs and resources must be returned to State and local governments and not merely exchanged with them. We will support block grants to combine duplicative programs under State administration.
We must also recognize and stimulate the talents and energy of low-income neighborhoods. We must provide new incentives for self-help activities that flow naturally when people realize they can make a difference. This is especially critical in foster care and adoption.
Because there are different reasons for poverty, our programs address different needs and must never be replaced with a unitary income guarantee. That would betray the interests of the poor and the taxpayers alike.
We will employ the latest technology to combat welfare fraud in order to protect the needy from the greedy.
Whenever possible, public assistance must be a transition to the world of work, except in cases, particularly with the aged and disabled, where that is not appropriate. In other cases, it is long overdue.
Remedying poverty requires that we sustain and broaden economic recovery, hold families together, get government's hand out of their pocketbooks, and restore the work ethic.
Our tremendous investment in health care has brought us almost miraculous advances. Although costs are still too high, we have dramatically enhanced the length and quality of life for all.
Faced with Medicare and Medicaid mismanagement, government tried to ration health care through arbitrary cuts in eligibility and benefits. Meanwhile, inflation drove up medical bills for us all. Economic incentives were backwards, with little awareness of costs by individual patients. Reimbursement mechanisms were based on expenses incurred, rather than set prospectively. Conspicuously absent were free-market incentives to respond to consumer wishes. Instead, government's heavy hand was everywhere.
We narrowly averted disaster. We moved creatively and carefully to restructure incentives, to free competition, to encourage flexible new approaches in the States, and to identify better means of health-care delivery. Applying these principles, we will preserve Medicare and Medicaid. We will eliminate the excesses and inefficiencies which drove costs unacceptably high in those programs. In order to assure their solvency and to avoid placing undue burdens on beneficiaries, reform must be a priority. The Republican Party reaffirms its commitment to assure a basic level of high quality health care for all Americans. We reaffirm as well our opposition to any proposals for compulsory national health insurance.
While Republicans held the line against government takeover of health care, the American people found private ways to meet new challenges. There has been a laudable surge in preventive health care and an emphasis on personal responsibility for maintaining one's health. Compassionate innovation has developed insurance against catastrophic illness, and capitated "at risk" plans are encouraging innovation and creativity.
We will maintain our commitment to health excellence by fostering research into yet-unconquered diseases. There is no better investment we as a nation can make than in programs which hold the promise of sounder health and longer life. For every dollar we spend on health research, we save many more in health care costs. Thus, what we invest in medical research today will yield billions of dollars in individual productivity as well as in savings in Medicare and Medicaid. The federal government has been the major source of support for biomedical research since 1945. That research effort holds great promise for combatting cancer, heart disease, brain disorders, mental illness, diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, sickle cell anemia, and numerous other illnesses which threaten our nation's welfare. We commit to its continuance.
Many health problems arise within the family and should be dealt with there. We affirm the right and responsibility of parents to participate in decisions about the treatment of children. We will not tolerate the use of federal funds, taxed away from parents, to abrogate their role in family health care.
Republicans have secured for the hospice movement an important role in federal health programs. We must do more to enable persons to remain within the unbroken family circle. For those elderly confined to nursing homes or hospitals, we insist that they be treated with dignity and full medical assistance.
Discrimination in health care is unacceptable; we guarantee, especially for the handicapped, non-discrimination in the compassionate healing that marks American medicine.
Government must not impose cumbersome health planning that causes major delays, increases construction costs, and stifles competition. It should not unduly delay the approval of new medicines, nor adhere to outdated safety standards hindering rapidly advancing technology.
We must address ailments not symptoms, in health-care policy. Drug and alcohol abuse costs thousands of lives and billions of dollars every year. We reaffirm our vigorous commitment to alcohol and drug abuse prevention and education efforts. We salute the citizens' campaign, launched from America's grass roots, against drunk driving. We applaud those States which raised the legal drinking age.
Much illness, especially among the elderly, is related to poor nutrition. The reasons are more often social than economic: isolation, separation from family, and often a mismatch between nutritional needs and available assistance. This reinforces our efforts to protect federal nutrition programs from fraud and abuse, so that their benefits can be concentrated upon the truly needy.
A supportive environment linking family, home, neighborhood, and workplace is essential to a sound health policy. The other essential step is to encourage the individual responsibility and group assistance that are uniquely American.
It is part of the Republican philosophy to preserve the best of our heritage, including our natural resources. The environment is not just a scientific or technological issue; it is a human one. Republicans put the needs of people at the center of environmental concerns. We assert the people's stewardship of our God-given natural resources. We pledge to meet the challenges of environmental protection, economic growth, regulatory reform, enhancement of our scenic and recreational areas, conservation of our non-renewable resources, and preservation of our irreplaceable natural heritage.
Americans were environmentalists long before it became fashionable. Our farmers cared for the earth and made it the world's most bountiful. Our families cared for their neighborhoods as an investment in our children's future. We pioneered the conservation that replenished our forests, preserved our wildlife, and created our national park system.
The American people have joined together in a great national effort to protect the promise of our future by conserving the rich beauty and bounty of our heritage. As a result, by almost any measure, the air is cleaner than it was 10 years ago, and fish are returning to rivers where they had not been seen for generations.
Within the last four years, dramatic progress has been made in protecting coastal barrier islands, and we began the Park Preservation and Restoration Program to restore the most celebrated symbols of our heritage. We support programs to restore and protect the nation's estuaries, wetland resources, and beaches.
The Republican Party endorses a strong effort to control and clean up toxic wastes. We have already tripled funding to clean up hazardous waste dumps, quadrupled funding for acid rain research, and launched the rebirth of the Chesapeake Bay.
The environmental policy of our nation originated with the Republican Party under the inspiration of Theodore Roosevelt. We hold it a privilege to build upon the foundation we have laid. The Republican Party supports the continued commitment to clean air and clean water. This support includes the implementation of meaningful clean air and clean water acts. We will continue to offer leadership to reduce the threat to our environment and our economy from acid rain, while at the same time preventing economic dislocation.
Even as many environmental problems have been brought under control, new ones have been detected. And all the while, the growth and shifts of population and economic expansion, as well as the development of new industries, will further intensify the competing demands on our national resources.
Continued progress will be much more difficult. The environmental challenges of the 1980s are much more complex than the ones we tried to address in the 1970s, and they will not yield quickly to our efforts. As the science and administration of environmental protection have become more sophisticated, we have learned of many subtle and potentially more dangerous threats to public health and the environment.
In setting out to find solutions to the environmental issues of the 1980s and 1990s, we start with a healthy appreciation of the difficulties involved. Detecting contamination, assessing the threat, correcting the damage, and setting up preventive measures, all raise questions of science, technology, and public policy that are as difficult as they are important. However, the health and well being of our citizens must be a high priority.
The number of people served by waste water treatment systems has nearly doubled just since 1970. The federal government should offer assistance to State and local governments in planning for the disposal of solid and liquid wastes. A top priority nationwide should be to eliminate the dumping of raw sewage.
We encourage recycling of materials and support programs which will allow our economic system to reward resource conservation.
We also commit ourselves to the development of renewable and efficient energy sources and to the protection of endangered or threatened species of plants and wildlife.
We will be responsible to future generations, but at the same time, we must remember that quality of life means more than protection and preservation. As Teddy Roosevelt put it, "Conservation means development as much as it does protection." Quality of life also means a good job, a decent place to live, accommodation for a growing population, and the continued economic and technological development essential to our standard of living, which is the envy of the whole world.
America's overall transportation system is unequalled. Generating over 20 percent of our GNP and employing one of every nine people in the work force, it promotes the unity amid diversity that uniquely characterizes our country. We travel widely, and we move the products of field and factory more efficiently and economically than any other people on earth.
And yet, four years ago, the future of American transportation was threatened. Over several decades, its vigor and creativity had been stunted by the intrusion of government regulation. The results were terribly expensive, and consumers paid the price. Our skies and highways were becoming dangerous and congested. With the same vision that marked President Eisenhower's beginning of the Interstate Highway System, the Reagan Administration launched a massive modernization of America's transport systems.
An expanded highway program is rebuilding the nation's roads and bridges and creating several hundred thousand jobs in construction and related fields. Driving mileage has increased by 8 percent, but greater attention to safety has led to a 17 percent reduction in fatalities, saving more than 8,000 lives yearly.
In public transit, we have redefined the federal role to emphasize support for capital investment, while restoring day-to-day responsibility to local authorities.
Our National Airspace Plan is revolutionizing air traffic control. It will improve flight safety and double the nation's flight capacity, providing better air service and stimulating economic growth.
Regulatory reform is revitalizing American transportation. Federal agencies had protected monopolies by erecting regulatory barriers that hindered the entry of new competitors. Small businesses and minority enterprises were virtually excluded. Prices were set, not by the public through free exchange, but by Washington clerks through green eye-shades.
Republicans led the successful fight to break government's strangle-hold. The deregulation of airline economics (not their safety!) will be completed on December 30, 1984, when the Civil Aeronautics Board closes its doors forever. Through our regulatory reform efforts, the rail and trucking industries are now allowed to compete in both price and service. We also led the fight to deregulate interstate bus operations by enacting the Bus Regulatory Reform Act of 1982. While returning to a more free and competitive marketplace, we have ensured that small communities in rural America will retain necessary services through transitional assistance like the Essential Air Service Program, which will continue for four more years.
The Shipping Act of 1984 secured the first major reform of maritime law, as it applies to the U.S. liner trade, since 1916. This major step introduces genuine competition to the maritime industry, while enhancing our ability to compete against international cartels. Important in peacetime, critical in times of conflict, one of our proudest industries had long been neglected. We have expanded employment and brought hope of a future worthy of its past. The Reagan defense program now provides more work for our shipyards than at any time since World War II. We seek to halt the decline of our commercial fleet and restore it to economic strength and strategic capacity to fulfill its national obligations. We also seek to maximize the use of our nation's existing port facilities and shipbuilding and repair capability as a vital transportation resource that should be preserved in the best long-term interest of this country.
The American people benefit from regulatory reform. Air travellers now have a remarkable range of options, and flight is within reach of the average family budget. In the trucking business, increased competition has lowered prices and improved service.
The future of America's freight rail system is again bright. As a result of our reforms, the major private railroads have climbed back to profitability. Government red tape caused their red ink; by cutting the former, we are wiping out the latter. In addition, we transformed Conrail from a multi-billion dollar drain on the taxpayers into an efficient, competitive freight railroad. Returning Conrail as a financially sound single entity to private ownership, with service and jobs secure, will provide the nation with an improved rail freight system to promote economic growth. It will also return to the Treasury a significant portion of the taxpayers' investment, virtually unheard of for a federal project. We support improved passenger rail service where economically justified. We have made substantial progress in reducing the taxpayers' subsidy to Amtrak while maintaining services for which there is genuine demand. The Reagan Administration is selling the Alaska Railroad to the State of Alaska and transferring Conrail's commuter lines to the jurisdictions they serve.
The Republican Party believes that the nation's long-term economic growth will depend heavily on the adequacy of its public works infrastructure. We will continue to work to reverse the long-term decline that has occurred. We should foster development of better information on the magnitude and effectiveness of current federal, State, and local government capital expenditures and innovative financing mechanisms which would improve our capacity to leverage limited federal funds more effectively.
America's leadership in space depends upon the vitality of free enterprise. That is why we encourage a commercial space-transportation industry. We share President Reagan's vision of a permanent manned space station within a decade, viewing it as the first stepping stone toward creating a multi-billion dollar private economy in space. The permanent presence of man in space is crucial both to developing a visionary program of space commercialization and to creating an opportunity society on Earth of benefit to all mankind. We are, after all, the people who hewed roads out of the wilderness. Our families crossed ocean, prairie, and desert no less dangerous than today's space frontier to reach a new world of opportunity. And every route they took became a highway of liberty.
Like them, we know where we are going: forward, toward a future in our hands. Because of them, and because of us, our children's children will use space transportation to build both prosperity and peace on earth.
Education and Youth
Our children are our hope and our future. For their sake, President Reagan has led a national renewal to get back to the "basics" and excellence in education. Young people have turned away from the rebellion of the 1960s and the pessimism of the 1970s. Their hopeful enthusiasm speaks better for a bright future than any government program.
During the Reagan Administration, we restored education to prominence in public policy. This change will clearly benefit our youth and our country. By using the spotlight of the Oval office, the Reagan Administration turned the nation's attention to the quality of education and gave its support to local and State improvement efforts. Parents and all segments of American society responded overwhelmingly to the findings of the National Commission on Excellence in Education, appointed by President Reagan. Its report, along with others from prominent experts and foundations, provided the impetus for educational reform.
Ronald Reagan's significant and innovative leadership has encouraged and sustained the reform movement. He catapulted education to the forefront of the national agenda and will be remembered as a president who improved education.
Unlike the Carter-Mondale Democrats, Republicans have levelled with parents and students about the problems we face together. We find remedies to these problems in the common sense of those most concerned: parents and local leaders. We support the decentralization necessary to put education back on the right track. We urge local school communities, including parents, teachers, students, administrators, and business and civic leaders, to evaluate school curricula—including extra-curricular activities and the time spent in them—and their ultimate effect upon students and the learning process. We recognize the need to get "back to basics" and applaud the dramatic improvements that this approach has already made in some jurisdictions.
In schools, school districts, and States throughout our land, the past year and one-half has been marked by unprecedented response to identified education deficiencies. The Nation Responds, a recent report by the Reagan Administration, referred to a "tidalwave of school reform which promises to renew American education." According to that report:
• Forty-eight States are considering new high school graduation requirements and 35 have approved changes.
• Twenty-one States report initiatives to improve textbooks and instructional material.
• Eight States have approved lengthening the school day, seven are lengthening the school year, and 18 have mandates affecting the amount of time for instruction.
• Twenty-four States are examining master teacher or career ladder programs, and six have begun statewide or pilot programs.
• Thirteen States are considering changes in academic requirements for extra-curricular and athletic programs, and five have already adopted more rigorous standards.
Education is a matter of choice, and choice in education is inevitably political. All of education is a passing on of ideas from one generation to another. Since the storehouse of knowledge is vast, a selection must be made of what to pass on. Those doing the selecting bring with them their own politics. Therefore, the more centralized the selection process, the greater the threat of tyranny. The more diversified the selection process, the greater the chance for a thriving free marketplace of ideas as the best insurance for excellence in education.
We believe that education is a local function, a State responsibility, and a federal concern. The federal role in education should be limited. It includes helping parents and local authorities ensure high standards, protecting civil rights, and ensuring family rights. Ignoring that principle, from 1965 to 1980, the United States indulged in a disastrous experiment with centralized direction of our schools. During the Carter-Mondale Administration, spending continued to increase, but test scores steadily declined.
This decline was not limited to academic matters. Many schools lost sight of their traditional task of developing good character and moral discernment. The result for many was a decline in personal responsibility.
The key to the success of educational reform lies in accountability: for students, parents, educators, school boards, and all governmental units. All must be held accountable in order to achieve excellence in education. Restoring local control of education will allow parents to resume the exercise of their responsibility for the basic education, discipline, and moral guidance of their children.
Parents have the primary right and responsibility for the education of their children; and States, localities, and private institutions have the primary responsibility for supporting that parental role. America has been a land of opportunity because America has been a land of learning. It has given us the most prosperous and dynamic society in the world.
The Republican Party recognizes the importance of good teachers, and we acknowledge the great effort many put forth to achieve excellence in the classroom. We applaud their numerous contributions and achievements in education. Unfortunately, many teachers are exhausted by their efforts to support excellence and elect to leave the classroom setting. Our best teachers have been frustrated by lowered standards, widespread indifference, and compensation below the true value of their contribution to society. In 1980-81 alone, 4 percent of the nation's math and science teachers quit the classroom. To keep the best possible teachers for our children, we support those education reforms which will result in increased student learning, including appropriate class sizes, appropriate and adequate learning and teaching materials, appropriate and consistent grading practices, and proper teacher compensation, including rewarding exceptional efforts and results in the classroom.
Classroom materials should be developed and produced by the private sector in the public marketplace, and then selections should be made at the State, local, and school levels.
We commend those States and local governments that have initiated challenging and rigorous high school programs, and we encourage all States to take initiatives that address the special educational needs of the gifted and talented.
We have enacted legislation to guarantee equal access to school facilities by student religious groups. Mindful of our religious diversity, we reaffirm our commitment to the freedoms of religion and speech guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States and firmly support the rights of students to openly practice the same, including the right to engage in voluntary prayer in schools.
While much has been accomplished, the agenda is only begun. We must complete the block-grant process begun in 1981. We will return revenue sources to State and local governments to make them independent of federal funds and of the control that inevitably follows.
The Republican Party believes that developing the individual dignity and potential of disabled Americans is an urgent responsibility. To this end, the Republican Party commits itself to prompt and vigorous enforcement of the rights of disabled citizens, particularly those rights established under the Education for All Handicapped Children Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act. We insist on the highest standards of quality for services supported with federal funds.
In addition, government should seek out disabled persons and their parents to make them knowledgeable of their rights.
We will work toward providing federal funds to State and local governments sufficient to meet the degree of fiscal participation already promised in law.
We are committed to excellence in education for all our children within their own communities and neighborhoods. No child should be assigned to, or barred from, a school because of race.
In education, as in other activities, competition fosters excellence. We therefore support the President's proposal for tuition tax credits. We will convert the Chapter One grants to vouchers, thereby giving poor parents the ability to choose the best schooling available. Discrimination cannot be condoned, nor may public policies encourage its practice. Civil rights enforcement must not be twisted into excessive interference in the education process.
Teachers cannot teach and students cannot learn in an undisciplined environment. We applaud the President's promise to provide protection to teachers and administrators against suits from the unruly few who seek to disrupt the education of the overwhelming majority of students.
We urge the aggressive enforcement of the Protection of Pupil Rights amendment (also known as the Hatch Amendment, 20 U.S.C. 1232h) in order to protect pupils' and parents' rights. The amendment prohibits requiring any pupil to reveal personal or family information as part of any federally supported program, test, treatment, or psychological examination unless the school first obtains written consent of the pupil's parents.
The recent Grove City and Hillsdale College cases have raised questions about the extension of federal interference with private colleges, universities, and schools. Since federal aid, no matter how indirect, is now being linked to nearly every aspect of American life, great care must be taken in defining such terms as "federal financial assistance," "indirect" assistance, and "recipient" of assistance. We are deeply concerned that this kind of federal involvement in the affairs of some of the nation's fine private universities, colleges, and schools, many of which have remained stubbornly free of federal entanglements, can only bring with it unintended results. As the historical party of Lincoln and individual rights, we support enactment of legislation which would ensure protection of those covered under Title IX.
We urge States to establish partnerships with the scientific and business worlds to increase the number of teachers in these critical areas of learning. We also recognize a vast reservoir of talent and experience among retirees and other Americans competent to teach in these areas and ready to be tapped.
We endorse experiments with education such as enterprise zones and Cities-in-Schools. We reaffirm our commitment to wipe out illiteracy in our society. Further, we encourage the Congress and the States to reassess the process for aiding education, awarding funds on the basis of academic improvement rather than on daily attendance.
We are aware that good intentions do not always produce the desired results. We therefore urge our schools to evaluate their sex education programs to determine their impact on escalating teenage pregnancy rates. We urge that school officials take appropriate action to ensure parent involvement and responsibility in finding solutions to this national dilemma.
We support and encourage volunteerism in the schools. President Reagan's Adopt-a-School program is an example of how private initiative can revitalize our schools, particularly inner-city schools, and we commend him for his example.
Our emphasis on excellence includes the nation's colleges and universities. Although their achievements are unequalled in the world—in research, in proportion of citizens enrolled, in their contribution to our democratic society—we call upon them for accountability in good teaching and quality curricula that will ensure competent graduates in the world of work.
We pledge to keep our colleges and universities strong. They have been far too dependent on federal assistance and thus have been tied up in federal red tape. Their independence is an essential part of our liberty. Through regulatory reform, we are holding down the costs of higher education and reestablishing academic freedom from government. This is especially important for small schools, religious institutions, and the historically black colleges, for which President Reagan's Executive Order 12320 has meant new hope and vigor. We further reaffirm and support a regular Black College Day which honors a vital part of our educational community.
Republicans applaud the information explosion. This literacy-based knowledge revolution, made possible by computers, tapes, television, satellites, and other high technology innovations, buttressed by training programs through the business sector and foundations, is a tribute to American ingenuity. We urge our schools to educate for the ever-changing demands of our society and to resist using these innovations as substitutes for reasoning, logic, and mastery of basic skills.
We encourage excellence in the vocational and technical education that has contributed to the self-esteem and productivity of millions. We believe the best vocational and technical education programs are rooted in strong academic fundamentals. Business and industry stand ready to establish training partnerships with our schools. Their leadership is essential to keep America competitive in the future.
In an age when individuals may have four or five different jobs in their working career, vocational education and opportunities for adult learning will be more important than ever. The challenge of learning for citizenship and for work in an age of change will require new adaptations and innovations in the process of education. We urge the teaching profession and educational institutions at all levels to develop the maximum use of new learning opportunities available through learning-focused high technology. This technology in education and in the workplace is making possible, and necessary, the continuing education of our adult population. The participation by adults in educational offerings within their communities will strengthen the linkages among the places where Americans live, work, and study.
Important as technology is, by itself it is inadequate for a free society. The arts and humanities flourish in the private sector, where a free market in ideas is the best guarantee of vigorous creativity. Private support for the arts and humanities has increased over the last four years, and we encourage its growth.
We support the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities in their efforts to correct past abuses and focus on developing the cultural values that are the foundation of our free society. We must ensure that these programs bring the arts and humanities to people in rural areas, the inner city poor, and other underserved populations.
One of the major responsibilities of government is to ensure the safety of its citizens. Their security is vital to their health and to the well-being of their neighborhoods and communities. The Reagan Administration is committed to making America safe for families and individuals. And Republican programs are paying dividends.
For the first time in the history of recorded federal crime statistics, rates of serious crime have dropped for two consecutive years. In 1983, the overall crime rate dropped 7 percent; and in 1982, the overall crime rate dropped 3 percent. In 1982 (the latest year for which figures are available), the murder rate dropped 5 percent, the robbery rate was down 6 percent, and forcible rape dropped 5 percent. Property crimes also declined: burglary decreased 9 percent, auto theft declined 2 percent, and theft dropped 1 percent.
Republicans believe that individuals are responsible for their actions. Those who commit crimes should be held strictly accountable by our system of justice. The primary objective of the criminal law is public safety; and those convicted of serious offenses must be jailed swiftly, surely, and long enough to assure public safety.
Republicans respect the authority of State and local law enforcement officials. The proper federal role is to provide strong support and coordination for their efforts and to vigorously enforce federal criminal laws. By concentrating on repeat offenders, we are determined to take career criminals off the street.
Additionally, the federal law enforcement budget has been increased by nearly 50 percent. We added 1,900 new investigators and prosecutors to the federal fight against crime. We arrested more offenders and sent more of them to prison. Convictions in organized crime cases have tripled under the Reagan Administration. We set up task forces to strike at organized crime and narcotics. In the year since, 3,000 major drug traffickers have been indicted, and nearly 1,000 have already been convicted. We are helping local authorities search for missing children. We have a tough new law against child pornography. Republicans initiated a system for pooling information from local, State and federal law enforcement agencies: the Violent Criminal Apprehension Program (VI-CAP). Under this program, State and local agencies have the primary law enforcement responsibility, but cross-jurisdictional information is shared rapidly so that serial murderers and other violent criminals can be identified quickly and then apprehended.
Under the outstanding leadership of President Reagan and Vice President Bush's Task Force on Organized Crime, the Administration established the National Narcotics Border Interdiction System. We set up an aggressive Marijuana Eradication and Suppression Program, gave the FBI authority to investigate drugs, and coordinated FBI and DEA efforts. We reaffirm that the eradication of illegal drug traffic is a top national priority.
We have levelled with the American people about the involvement of foreign governments, especially Communist dictators, in narcotics traffic: Cuba, the Soviet Union, Bulgaria—and now the Sandinistas in Nicaragua are international "pushers," selling slow death to young Americans in an effort to undermine our free society.
The Republican Party has deep concern about gratuitous sex and violence in the entertainment media, both of which contribute to the problem of crime against children and women. To the victims of such crimes who need protection, we gladly offer it.
We have begun to restore confidence in the criminal justice system. The Carter-Mondale legal policy had more concern for abstract criminal rights than for the victims of crime. It hurt those least able to defend themselves: the poor, the elderly, school children, and minorities. Republican leadership has redressed that imbalance. We have advanced such reforms as restitution by convicted criminals to their victims; providing victims with full explanations of what will occur before, during, and after trial; and assuring that they may testify at both trial and sentencing.
The Republican Senate has twice passed, with one dissenting vote, a comprehensive federal anti-crime package which would:
• Establish uniform, predictable and fair sentencing procedures, while abolishing the inconsistencies and anomalies of the current parole system;
• Strengthen the current bail procedures to allow the detention of dangerous criminals, who under current law are allowed to roam the streets pending trial;
• Increase dramatically the penalties for narcotic traffickers and enhance the ability of society to recoup ill-gotten gains from drug trafficking;
• Narrow the overly broad insanity defense; and
• Provide limited assistance to states and localities for the implementation of anti-crime programs of proven effectiveness.
In addition, the Republican Senate has overwhelmingly passed Administration-backed legislation which would:
• Restore a constitutionally valid federal death penalty;
• Modify the exclusionary rule in a way recently approved by the Supreme Court; and
• Curtail abuses by prisoners of federal habeas corpus procedures.
The Democrat bosses of the House of Representatives have refused to allow a vote on our initiatives by the House Judiciary Committee, perennial graveyard for effective anti-crime legislation, or by the full House despite our pressure and the public's demand.
The best way to deter crime is to increase the probability of detection and to make punishment certain and swift. As a matter of basic philosophy, we advocate preventive rather than merely corrective measures. Republicans advocate sentencing reform and secure, adequate prison construction. We concur with the American people's approval of capital punishment where appropriate and will ensure that it is carried out humanely.
Republicans will continue to defend the constitutional right to keep and bear arms. When this right is abused and armed felonies are committed, we believe in stiff, mandatory sentencing. Law-abiding citizens exercising their constitutional rights must not be blamed for crime. Republicans will continue to seek repeal of legislation that restrains innocent citizens more than violent criminals.
We reaffirm our commitment to the financial security, physical well-being, and quality of life of older Americans. Valuing them as a treasure of wisdom and experience, we pledge to utilize their unique talents to the fullest.
During the Carter-Mondale years, the silent thief of inflation ruthlessly preyed on the elderly's savings and benefits, robbing them of their retirement dollars and making many dependent on government handouts.
No more. Due to the success of Reaganomics, a retiree's private pension benefits are worth almost $1,000 more than if the 1980 inflation rate had continued. Average monthly Social Security benefits have increased by about $180 for a couple and by $100 a month for an individual. Because President Reagan forged a hard-won solution to the Social Security crisis, our elderly will not be repeatedly threatened with the program's impending bankruptcy as they were under the irresponsible policies of the Carter-Mondale Administration. We will work to repeal the Democrats' Social Security earnings-limitation, which penalizes the elderly by taking one dollar of their income for every two dollars earned.
Older Americans are vital contributors to society. We will continue to remove artificial barriers which discourage their participation in community life. We reaffirm our traditional opposition to mandatory retirement.
For those who are unable to care for themselves, we favor incentives to encourage home-based care.
We are combatting insidious crime against the elderly, many of whom are virtual prisoners in their own homes for fear of violence. We demand passage of the President's Comprehensive Crime Control package, stalled by the Democrat-controlled House Judiciary Committee. We support local initiatives to fight crime against the elderly.
Older Americans want to contribute, to live with the dignity and respect they have earned, and to have their special needs recognized. The Republican Party must never turn its back on our elderly, and we ensure that we will adequately provide for them during their golden years so they can continue to enjoy our country's high standard of living, which their labors have helped provide.
Throughout this Platform are initiatives to provide an opportunity ladder for the poor, particularly among minorities, in both urban and rural areas. Unlike the Carter-Mondale Administration that locked them into the welfare trap, Republicans believe compassion dictates our offering real opportunities to minorities and the urban poor to achieve the American Dream.
We have begun that effort; and as a pledge of its continuance, this Platform commits us, not to a war of class against class, but to a crusade for prosperity for all.
For far too long, the poor have been trapped by the policies of the Democratic Party which treat those in the ghetto as if their interests were somehow different from our own. That is unfair to us all and an insult to the needy. Their goals are ours; their aspirations we share.
To emphasize our common bond, we have addressed their needs in virtually every section of this Platform, rather than segregating them in a token plank. To those who would see the Republican future for urban America, and for those who deserve a better break, we offer the commitments that make up the sinew of this Platform.
Congress must pass enterprise zones, to draw a green line of prosperity around the red-lined areas of our cities and to help create jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities.
We offer the boldest breakthrough in housing policy since VA mortgages: we offer opportunities for private ownership of housing projects by the poor themselves.
We pledge comprehensive tax reform that will give America back what was its post-war glory: a pro-family tax code with a dramatic work incentive for low-income and welfare families.
We offer hope, not despair; more opportunities for education through vouchers and tuition tax relief; and increased participation in the private enterprise system through the reform of counterproductive taxes and regulations.
Together with our emphatic commitment to civil rights, Republican programs will achieve, for those who feel left out of our society's progress, what President Reagan has already secured for our country: a new beginning to move America to full employment and honest money for all.
A Free and Just Society
In 1980, the Republican Party offered a vision of America's future that applied our traditions to today's problems. It is the vision of a society more free and more just than any in history. It required a break with the worn-out past, to redefine the role of government and its relationship with individuals and their institutions. Under President Reagan's leadership, the American people are making that vision a reality.
The American people want an opportunity society, not a welfare state. They want government to foster an environment in which individuals can develop their potential without hindrance.
The Constitution is the ultimate safeguard of individual rights. As we approach the Constitutional Bicentennial in 1987, Republicans are restoring its vitality, which had been transgressed by Democrats in Congress, the executive, and in the courts.
We are renewing the federal system, strengthening the States, and returning power to the people. That is the surest course to our common goal: a free and just society.
The Republican Party is the party of equal rights. From its founding in 1854, we have promoted equality of opportunity.
The Republican Party reaffirms its support of the pluralism and freedom that have been part and parcel of this great country. In so doing, it repudiates and completely disassociates itself from people, organizations, publications, and entities which promulgate the practice of any form of bigotry, racism, anti-semitism, or religious intolerance.
Americans demand a civil rights policy premised on the letter of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. That law requires equal rights; and it is our policy to end discrimination on account of sex, race, color, creed, or national origin. We have vigorously enforced civil rights statutes. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has recovered record amounts of back pay and other compensation for victims of employment discrimination.
Just as we must guarantee opportunity, we oppose attempts to dictate results. We will resist efforts to replace equal rights with discriminatory quota systems and preferential treatment. Quotas are the most insidious form of discrimination: reverse discrimination against the innocent. We must always remember that, in a free society, different individual goals will yield different results.
The Republican Party has an historic commitment to equal rights for women. Republicans pioneered the right of women to vote, and our party was the first major party to advocate equal pay for equal work, regardless of sex.
President Reagan believes, as do we, that all members of our party are free to work individually for women's progress. As a party, we demand that there be no detriment to that progress or inhibition of women's rights to full opportunity and advancement within this society.
Participation by women in policy-making is a strong commitment by the Republican Party and by President Reagan. He pledged to appoint a woman to the United States Supreme Court. His promise was not made lightly; and when a vacancy occurred, he quickly filled it with the eminently qualified Sandra Day O'Connor of Arizona.
His Administration has also sought the largest number of women in history to serve in appointive positions within the executive branch of government. Three women serve at Cabinet level, the most ever in history. Jeane Kirkpatrick, the U.S. Representative to the United Nations, Elizabeth Dole, Secretary of Transportation, and Margaret Heckler, Secretary of Health and Human Services, head a list of over 1,600 women who direct policy and operations of the federal government.
The Republican Party continues to search for interested and qualified women for all government positions. We will continue to increase the number of first-time appointments for women serving in government at all levels.
Our record of economic recovery and growth is an additional important accomplishment for women. It provides a stark contrast to the Carter-Mondale legacy to women: a shrinking economy, limited job opportunities, and a declining standard of living.
Whether working in or outside the home, women have benefitted enormously from the economic progress of the past four years. The Republican economic expansion added over six million new jobs to the economy. It increased labor force participation by women to historic highs. Women's employment has risen by almost four and one-half million since the last Carter-Mondale year. They obtained almost one million more new jobs than men did. Economic growth due to Republican economic policies has produced a record number of jobs so that women who want to work outside the home now have unmatched opportunity. In fact, more than 50 percent of all women now have jobs outside the home.
The spectacular decline in inflation has immeasurably benefitted women working both in and outside the home. Under President Reagan, the cost increase in everyday essentials-food, clothing, housing, utilities-has been cut from the Carter-Mondale highs of over 10 percent a year to just over 4 percent today. We have ushered in an era of price stability that is stretching take-home pay hundreds of dollars farther. In 1982, for the first time in 10 years, women experienced a real increase in wages over inflation.
Lower interest rates have made it possible for more women, single and married, to own their homes and to buy their own automobiles and other consumer goods.
Our 25 percent reduction in marginal tax rates provided important benefits to women, as did the virtual elimination of the "widow's tax" which had jeopardized retirement savings of senior women. At the same time, we raised the maximum child care tax credit from $400 to $720 per family. We will continue to actively seek the elimination of discrimination against homemakers with regard to Individual Retirement Accounts so that single-income couples can invest the same amount in IRAs as two-income couples.
In addition, President Reagan has won enactment of the Retirement Equity Act of 1984. That legislation, strongly supported by congressional Republicans, makes a comprehensive reform of private pension plans to recognize the special needs of women.
Our record of accomplishment during the last four years is clear, but we intend to do even better over the next four.
We will further reduce the "marriage penalty," a burden upon two-income, working families. We will work to remove artificial impediments in business and industry, such as occupational licensing laws, that limit job opportunities for women, minorities, and youth or prevent them from entering the labor force in the first place.
For low-income women, the Reagan Administration has already given States and localities the authority, through the Job Training Partnership Act, to train more recipients of Aid to Families with Dependent Children for permanent, not make-work, jobs. We have increased child support collections from $1.5 billion to $2.4 billion and enacted a strong child support enforcement law. We will continue to stress welfare reforms which promote individual initiative, the real solution to breaking the cycle of welfare dependency.
With women comprising an increasing share of the work force, it is essential that the employment opportunities created by our free market system be open to individuals without regard to their sex, race, religion, or ethnic origin. We firmly support an equal opportunity approach which gives women and minorities equal access to all jobs—including the traditionally higher-paying technical, managerial, and professional positions—and which guarantees that workers in those jobs will be compensated in accord with the laws requiring equal pay for equal work under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
We are creating an environment in which individual talents and creativity can be tapped to the fullest, while assuring that women have equal opportunity, security, and real choices for the promising future. For all Americans, we demand equal pay for equal work. With equal emphasis, we oppose the concept of "comparable worth." We believe that the free market system can determine the value of jobs better than any government authority.
The Department of Justice has identified 140 federal statutes with gender-based distinctions. Proposed legislation will correct all but 18; six are still under study; the rest, which actually favor women, will remain as is. President Reagan's Fifty States Project, designed to identify State laws discriminating against women, has encouraged 42 States to start searches, and 26 have begun amending their laws. The Department has filed more cases dealing with sex discrimination in employment than were filed during a comparable period in the Carter-Mondale Administration.
Working with Republicans in Congress, President Reagan has declared 1983-1992 the Decade of Disabled Persons. All Americans stand to gain when disabled citizens are assured equal opportunity.
The Reagan Administration has an outstanding record in achieving accessibility for the handicapped. During the past two years, minimum guidelines have at last been adopted, and the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standard has become fact.
The Republican Party realizes the great potential of members of the disabled community in this country. We support all efforts being made at the federal level to remove artificial barriers from our society so that disabled individuals may reach their potential and participate at the maximum level of their abilities in education, employment, and recreation. This includes the removal, insofar as practicable, of architectural, transportation, communication and attitudinal barriers. We also support efforts to provide disabled Americans full access to voting facilities.
We deplore discrimination because of handicap. The Reagan Administration was the first to combat the insidious practice of denying medical care or even food and water to disabled infants. This issue has vast implications for medical ethics, family autonomy, and civil rights. But we find no basis, whether in law or medicine or ethics, for denying necessities to an infant because of the child's handicap.
We are committed to enforcing statutory prohibitions barring discrimination against any otherwise qualified handicapped individuals, in any program receiving federal financial assistance, solely by reason of their handicap.
We recognize the need for watchful care regarding the procedural due process rights of persons with handicaps both to prevent their placement into inappropriate programs or settings and to ensure that their rights are represented by guardians or other advocates, if necessary.
For handicapped persons who need care, we favor family-based care where possible, supported by appropriate and adequate incentives. We increased the tax credit for caring for dependents or spouses physically or mentally unable to care for themselves. We also provided a deduction of up to $1,500 per year for adopting a child with special needs that may otherwise make adoption difficult.
We are committed to seeking out gifted children and their parents to make them knowledgeable of their educational rights.
We reaffirm the right of all individuals freely to form, join, or assist labor organizations to bargain collectively, consistent with State laws and free from unnecessary government involvement. We support the fundamental principle of fairness in labor relations. We will continue the Reagan Administration's "open door" policy toward organized labor and its leaders. We reaffirm our long-standing support for the right of States to enact "Right-to-Work" laws under section 14(b) of the Taft-Hartley Act.
The political freedom of every worker must be protected. Therefore, we strongly oppose the practice of using compulsory dues and fees for partisan political purposes. Also, the protection of all workers must be secured. Therefore, no worker should be coerced by violence or intimidation by any party to a labor dispute.
The healthy mix of America's ethnic, cultural, and social heritage has always been the backbone of our nation and its progress throughout our history. Without the contributions of innumerable ethnic and cultural groups, our country would not be where it is today.
For millions of black Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans, and members of other minority groups, the past four years have seen a dramatic improvement in their ability to secure for themselves and for their children a better tomorrow.
That is the American Dream. The policies of the Reagan Administration have opened literally millions of doors of opportunity for these Americans, doors which either did not exist or were rapidly being slammed shut by the no-growth policies of the Carter-Mondale Administration.
We Republicans are proud of our efforts on behalf of all minority groups, and we pledge to do even more during the next four years.
We will continue to press for enactment of economic and social policies that promote growth and stress individual initiative of minority Americans. Our tax system will continue to be overhauled and reformed by making it fairer and simpler, enabling the families of minorities to work and save for their future. We will continue to push for passage of enterprise zone legislation, now bottled up in the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives. That bill, discussed elsewhere in this platform, will help minority Americans living in cities and urban areas to get jobs, to start their own businesses, and to reap the fruits of entrepreneurship by tapping their individual initiative, energy, and creativity.
We honor and respect the contributions of minority Americans and will do all we can to see that our diversity is enhanced during the next four years. Active contributions by minorities are the threads that weave the fabric that is America and make us stronger as a nation. We recognize these individuals and their contributions and will continue to promote the kinds of policies that will make their dreams for a better America a reality. The party of Lincoln will remain the party of equal rights for all.
We continue to favor whatever legislation may be necessary to permit American citizens residing in the Virgin Islands, Guam, and Puerto Rico to vote for president and vice president in national elections.
We support the right of Indian Tribes to manage their own affairs and resources. Recognizing the government-to-government trust responsibility, we are equally committed to working towards the elimination of the conditions of dependency produced by federal control. The social and economic advancement of Native Americans depends upon changes they will chart for themselves. Recognizing their diversity, we support the President's policy of responsibly removing impediments to their self-sufficiency. We urge the nations of the Americas to learn from our past mistake's and to protect native populations from exploitation and abuse.
Native Hawaiians are the only indigenous people of our country who are not officially designated as Native Americans. They should share that honored title. We endorse efforts to preserve their culture as a unique element in the human tapestry that is America.
Republicans affirm the family as the natural and indispensable institution for human development. A society is only as strong as its families, for they nurture those qualities necessary to maintain and advance civilization.
Healthy families inculcate values—integrity, responsibility, concern for others—in our youth and build social cohesion. We give high priority to their well-being. During the 1970s, America's families were ravaged by worsening economic conditions and a Washington elite unconcerned with them.
We support the concept of creating Family Education Accounts which would allow tax-deferred savings for investment in America's most crucial asset, our children, to assist low- and middle-income families in becoming self-reliant in meeting the costs of higher education.
In addition, to further assist the young families of America in securing the dream of homeownership, we would like to review the concept of Family Housing Accounts which would allow tax-exempt savings for a family's first home.
Preventing family dissolution, a leading cause of poverty, is vital. It has had a particularly tragic impact on the elderly, women, and minorities. Welfare programs have devastated low-income families and induced single parenthood among teens. We will review legislation and regulations to examine their impact on families and on parental rights and responsibilities. We seek to eliminate incentives for family break-up and to reverse the alarming rate of pregnancy outside marriage. Meanwhile, the Republican Party believes that society must do all that is possible to guarantee those young parents the opportunity to achieve their full educational and parental potential.
Because of Republican tax cuts, single people and married people without dependents will have in 1984 basically the same average tax rates they had in 1960. The marriage penalty has been reduced. However, a couple with dependents still pays a greater portion of their income in taxes than in 1960. We reaffirm that the personal exemption for children be no less than for adults, and we will at least double its current level. The President's tax program also increased tax credits for child care expenses. We will encourage private sector initiatives to expand on-site child care facilities and options for working parents.
The problem of physical and sexual abuse of children and spouses requires careful consideration of its causes. In particular, gratuitous sex and violence in entertainment media contribute to this sad development.
We and the vast majority of Americans are repulsed by pornography. We will vigorously enforce constitutional laws to control obscene materials which degrade everyone, particularly women, and depict the exploitation of children. We commend the Reagan Administration for creating a commission on pornography and the President for signing the new law to eliminate child pornography. We stand with our President in his determination to solve the problem.
We call upon the Federal Communications Commission, and all other federal, State, and local agencies with proper authority, to strictly enforce the law regarding cable pornography and to implement rules and regulations to clean up cable pornography and the abuse of telephone service for obscene purposes.
Our history is a story about immigrants. We are proud that America still symbolizes hope and promise to the world. We have shown unparalleled generosity to the persecuted and to those seeking a better life. In return, they have helped to make a great land greater still.
We affirm our country's absolute fight to control its borders. Those desiring to enter must comply with our immigration laws. Failure to do so not only is an offense to the American people but is fundamentally unjust to those in foreign lands patiently waiting for legal entry. We will preserve the principle of family reunification.
With the estimates of the number of illegal aliens in the United States ranging as high as 12 million and better than one million more entering each year, we believe it is critical that responsible reforms of our immigration laws be made to enable us to regain control of our borders.
The flight of oppressed people in search of freedom has created pressures beyond the capacity of any one nation. The refugee problem is global and requires the cooperation of all democratic nations. We commend the President for encouraging other countries to assume greater refugee responsibilities.
Our Constitutional System
Our Constitution, now almost 200 years old, provides for a federal system, with a separation of powers among the three branches of the national government. In that system, judicial power must be exercised with deference towards State and local officials; it must not expand at the expense of our representative institutions. It is not a judicial function to reorder the economic, political, and social priorities of our nation. The intrusion of the courts into such areas undermines the stature of the judiciary and erodes respect for the rule of law. Where appropriate, we support congressional efforts to restrict the jurisdiction of federal courts.
We commend the President for appointing federal judges committed to the rights of law-abiding citizens and traditional family values. We share the public's dissatisfaction with an elitist and unresponsive federal judiciary. If our legal institutions are to regain respect, they must respect the people's legitimate interests in a stable, orderly society. In his second term, President Reagan will continue to appoint Supreme Court and other federal judges who share our commitment to judicial restraint.
The Republican Party firmly believes that the best governments are those most accountable to the people. We heed Thomas Jefferson's warning: "When all government, in little as in great things, shall be drawn to Washington as the center of all power, it will render powerless the checks provided of one government on another."
For more responsible government, non-essential federal functions should be returned to the States and localities wherever prudent. They have the capability, knowledge, and sensitivity to local needs required to better administer and deliver public services. Their diverse problems require local understanding. The transfer of rights, responsibilities, and revenues to the "home front" will recognize the abilities of local government and the limitations of a distant federal government.
We commend the President for the bold initiatives of his "New Federalism." The enacted block grants discussed elsewhere in this Platform are a positive step. But the job of making government more accountable to the people has just begun. We strongly favor the expansion of block-grant funding and other means to restore our nation's federal foundation.
More than 40 years ago, a grave injustice was done to many Americans of Japanese ancestry. Uprooted from their homes in a time of crisis, loyal citizens and residents were treated in a way which contravened the fundamental principles of our people. We join them and their descendants in assuring that the deprivation of rights they suffered shall never again be permitted in this land of liberty.
To benefit all Americans, we support the privatization of government services whenever possible. This maximizes consumer freedom and choice. It reduces the size and cost of government, thus lessening the burden on taxpayers. It stimulates the private sector, increases prosperity, and creates jobs. It demonstrates the primacy of individual action which, within a free market economy, can address human needs most effectively.
Within the executive branch, the Reagan Administration has made government work more efficiently. Under the direction of the Office of Personnel Management, non-defense government employment was reduced by over 100,000. The overwhelming majority of federal employees are dedicated and hard-working. Indeed, we have proposed to base their pay and retention upon performance so that outstanding federal employees may be properly rewarded.
The federal government owns almost a third of our nation's land. With due recognition of the needs of the federal government and mindful of environmental, recreational, and national defense needs, we believe the sale of some surplus land will increase productivity and increase State and local tax bases. It will also unleash the creative talents of free enterprise in defense of resource and environmental protection.
The expression of individual political views is guaranteed by the First Amendment; government should protect, not impinge upon First Amendment rights. Free individuals must have unrestricted access to the process of self-government. We deplore the growing labyrinth of bewildering regulations and obstacles which have increased the power of political professionals and discouraged the participation of average Americans. Even well-intentioned restrictions on campaign activity stifle free speech and have a chilling effect on spontaneous political involvement by our citizens.
The holding of public office in our country demands the highest degree of commitment to integrity, openness, and honesty by candidates running for all elective offices. Without such a commitment, public confidence rapidly erodes. Republicans therefore reaffirm our commitment to the fair and consistent application of financial disclosure laws. We will continue our support for full disclosure by all high officials of the government and candidates in positions of public trust. This extends to the financial holdings of spouses or dependents, of which the official has knowledge, financial interest, or benefit. We will continue to hold all public officials to the highest ethical standards and will oppose the inconsistent application of those standards on the basis of gender.
Republicans want to encourage, not restrict, free discourse and association. The interplay of concerned individuals, sometimes acting collectively to pursue their goals, has led to healthy and vigorous debate and better understanding of complex issues. We will remove obstacles to grass-roots participation in federal elections and will reduce, not increase, the federal role.
Republicans believe that strong, competitive political parties contribute mightily to coherent national policies, effective representation, and responsive government. Forced taxpayer financing of campaign activities is political tyranny. We oppose it.
In light of the inhibiting role federal election laws and regulations have had, Congress should consider abolishing the Federal Election Commission.
We are the party of limited government. We are deeply suspicious of the amount of information which governments collect. Governments limited in size and scope best ensure our people's privacy. Particularly in the computer age, we must ensure that no unnecessary information is demanded and that no disclosure is made which is not approved. We oppose national identification cards.
We support reasonable methods to fight those who undermine national security, prevent crosschecks of government benefit records to conceal welfare fraud, or misuse financial secrecy laws to hide their narcotics profits under the guise of a right to privacy.
Private property is the cornerstone of our liberty and the free enterprise system. The right of property safeguards for citizens all things of value: their land, merchandise and money, their religious convictions, their safety and liberty, and their right of contract to produce and sell goods and services. Republicans reaffirm this God-given and inalienable right.
The unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We therefore reaffirm our support for a human life amendment to the Constitution, and we endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment's protections apply to unborn children. We oppose the use of public revenues for abortion and will eliminate funding for organizations which advocate or support abortion. We commend the efforts of those individuals and religious and private organizations that are providing positive alternatives to abortion by meeting the physical, emotional, and financial needs of pregnant women and offering adoption services where needed.
We applaud President Reagan's fine record of judicial appointments, and we reaffirm our support for the appointment of judges at all levels of the judiciary who respect traditional family values and the sanctity of innocent human life.
America Secure and the World at Peace
The Future of Our Foreign Policy
President Reagan has restored the American people's faith in the principles of liberal democracy. Today, we have more confidence in the self-evident truths of democracy than at any time since World War II.
The first principle of that faith is that all human beings are created equal in the natural human right to govern themselves.
Just as we assert the right of self-government, it follows that all people throughout the world should enjoy that same human right. This moral principle must be the ideal by which our policy toward other nations is directed.
We Republicans emphasize that there is a profound moral difference between the actions and ideals of Marxist-Leninist regimes and those of democratic governments, and we reject the notions of guilt and apology which animate so much of the foreign policy of the Democratic Party. We believe American foreign policy can only succeed when it is based on unquestioned faith in a single idea: the idea that all human beings are created equal, the founding idea of democracy.
The supreme purpose of our foreign policy must be to maintain our freedom in a peaceful international environment in which the United States and our allies and friends are secure against military threats, and democratic governments are flourishing in a world of increasing prosperity.
This we pledge to our people and to future generations: we shall keep the peace by keeping our country stronger than any potential adversary.
Our future is intimately tied to the future of the Americas. Family, language, culture, and trade link us closely with both Canada, our largest trading partner, and our southern neighbors.
The people of both Mexico and Canada are of fundamental importance to the people of the United States of America, not just because we share a common border, but because we are neighbors who share both history and a common interest for the present and future. Under President Reagan, our relations with both countries are being carried out in a serious, straight-forward manner in a climate of mutual respect. As our countries seek solutions to common problems on the basis of our mutual interests, we recognize that each country has a unique contribution to make in working together to resolve mutual problems.
The security and freedom of Central America are indispensable to our own. In addition to our concern for the freedom and overall welfare of our neighbors to the south, two-thirds of our foreign trade passes through the Caribbean and the Panama Canal. The entire region, however, is gravely threatened by Communist expansion, inspired and supported by the Soviet Union and Cuba. We endorse the principles of the Monroe Doctrine as the strongest foundation for United States policy throughout the hemisphere.
We encourage even closer ties with the countries of South America and consider the strengthening of representative governments there as a contribution to the peace and security of us all. We applaud the Organization of American States for its efforts to bring peace and freedom to the entire hemisphere.
Republicans have no illusions about Castro's brutal dictatorship in Cuba. Only our firmness will thwart his attempts to export terrorism and subversion, to destroy democracy, and to smuggle narcotics into the United States. But we also extend a constructive, hopeful policy toward the Cuban people. Castro resents and resists their desire for freedom. He fears Radio Marti, President Reagan's initiative to bring truth to our Cuban neighbors. He is humiliated by the example of Cuban-born Americans, whose spiritual and material accomplishments contrast starkly with Communist failures in their birthplace. We believe in friendship between the Cuban and the American peoples, and we envision a genuine democracy in Cuba's future.
We support the President in following the unanimous findings of the Bipartisan Commission on Central America, first proposed by the late Senator Henry "Scoop" Jackson of Washington.
Today, democracy is under assault throughout the hemisphere. Marxist Nicaragua threatens not only Costa Rica and Honduras, but also El Salvador and Guatemala. The Sandinista regime is building the largest military force in Central America, importing Soviet equipment, Eastern bloc and PLO advisors, and thousands of Cuban mercenaries. The Sandinista government has been increasingly brazen in its embrace of Marxism-Leninism. The Sandinistas have systematically persecuted free institutions, including synagogue and church, schools, the private sector, the free press, minorities, and families and tribes throughout Nicaragua. We support continued assistance to the democratic freedom fighters in Nicaragua. Nicaragua cannot be allowed to remain a Communist sanctuary, exporting terror and arms throughout the region. We condemn the Sandinista government's smuggling of illegal drugs into the United States as a crime against American society and international law.
The heroic effort to build democracy in El Salvador has been brutally attacked by Communist guerrillas supported by Cuba and the Sandinistas. Their violence jeopardizes improvements in human rights, delays economic growth, and impedes the consolidation of democracy. El Salvador is nearer to Texas than Texas is to New England, and we cannot be indifferent to its fate. In the tradition of President Truman's postwar aid to Europe, President Reagan has helped the people of El Salvador defend themselves. Our opponents object to that assistance, citing concern for human rights. We share that concern, and more than that, we have taken steps to help curb abuses. We have firmly and actively encouraged human rights reform, and results have been achieved. In judicial reform, the murderers of the American nuns in 1980 have been convicted and sentenced; and in political reform, the right to vote has been exercised by 80 percent of the voters in the fair, open elections of 1982 and 1984. Most important, if the Communists seize power there, human rights will be extinguished, and tens of thousands will be driven from their homes. We therefore support the President in his determination that the Salvadoran people will shape their own future.
We affirm President Reagan's declaration at Normandy: there is a profound moral difference between the use of force for liberation and the use of force for conquest and territorial expansion. We applaud the liberation of man and mind from oppression everywhere.
We applaud the liberation of Grenada, and we honor those who took part in it. Grenada is small, and its people few; but we believe the principle established there, that freedom is worth defending, is of monumental importance. It challenges the Brezhnev doctrine. It is an example to the world.
The Caribbean Basin Initiative is a sound program for the strengthening of democratic institutions through economic development based on free people and free market principles. The Republican Party strongly supports this program of integrated, mutually reinforcing measures in the fields of trade, investment, and financial assistance.
We recognize our special-valued relationship with Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands; and we will support special measures to ensure that they will benefit and prosper from the Caribbean Basin Initiative, thereby reinforcing a stronghold of democracy and free enterprise in the Caribbean. The Republican Party reaffirms its support of the right of Puerto Rico to be admitted into the Union after it freely so determines, through the passage of an admission bill which will provide for a smooth fiscal transition, recognize the concept of a multicultural society for its citizens, and secure the opportunity to retain their Spanish language and traditions.
The Soviet Union
Stable and peaceful relations with the Soviet Union are possible and desirable, but they depend upon the credibility of American strength and determination. As our power waned in the 1970s, our very weakness was provocative. The Soviets exploited it in Afghanistan, the Middle East, Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Western Hemisphere. Our policy of peace through strength encourages freedom-loving people everywhere and provides hope for those who look forward one day to enjoying the fruits of self-government.
We hold a sober view of the Soviet Union. Its globalist ideology and its leadership obsessed with military power make it a threat to freedom and peace on every continent. The Carter-Mondale Administration ignored that threat, and the Democratic candidates underestimate it today. The Carter-Mondale illusion that the Soviet leaders share our ideals and aspirations is not only false but a profound danger to world peace.
Republicans reaffirm our belief that Soviet behavior at the negotiating table cannot be divorced from Soviet behavior elsewhere. Over-eagerness to sign agreements with the Soviets at any price, fashionable in the Carter-Mondale Administration, should never blind us to this reality. Any future agreement with the Soviets must require full compliance, be fully verifiable, and contain suitable sanctions for non-compliance. Carter-Mondale efforts to cover up Soviet violations of the 1972 Strategic Arms Limitations agreement and Anti-ballistic Missile Treaty emboldened the Soviets to strengthen their military posture. We condemn these violations, as well as recent violations of chemical and toxic weapons treaties in Afghanistan, Southeast Asia, and the Iran-Iraq war. We insist on full Soviet compliance with all treaties and executive agreements.
We seek to deflect Soviet policy away from aggression and toward peaceful international conduct. To that end, we will seek substantial reductions in nuclear weapons, rather than merely freezing nuclear weapons at their present dangerous level. We will continue multilateral efforts to deny advanced Western technology to the Soviet war machine.
We will press for Soviet compliance with all international agreements, including the 1975 Helsinki Final Act and the U. N. Declaration on Human Rights. We will continue to protest Soviet anti-semitism and human rights violations. We admire the courage of such people as Andrei Sakharov, his wife Yelena Bonnet, Anatole Shcharansky, Ida Nudel and Josef Begun, whose defiance of Soviet repression stands as a testament to the greatness of the human spirit. We will press the Soviet Union to permit free emigration of Jews, Christians, and oppressed national minorities. Finally, because the peoples of the Soviet empire share our hope for the future, we will strengthen our information channels to encourage them in their struggle for individual freedom, national self-determination, and peace.
Forty years after D-Day, our troops remain in Europe. It has been a long watch, but a successful one. For four decades, we have kept the peace where, twice before, our valiant fought and died. We learned from their sacrifice.
We would be in mortal danger were Western Europe to come under Soviet domination. Fragmenting NATO is the immediate objective of the Soviet military buildup and Soviet subversion. During the Carter-Mondale years, the Soviets gained a substantial military and diplomatic advantage in Europe. They now have three times as many tanks as we do and almost a monopoly on long-range theater nuclear forces. To keep the peace, the Reagan-Bush Administration is offsetting the Soviet military threat with the defensive power of the Alliance. We are deploying Pershing II and Cruise missiles. Remembering the Nazi Reich, informed voters on both sides of the Atlantic know they cannot accept Soviet military superiority in Europe. That is why the British, Italian, and West German parliaments have approved Euromissile deployments, and why new NATO base agreements were concluded successfully in Portugal, Spain, Turkey, and Greece. This is a victory for the Reagan-Bush Administration and our European friends.
The United States again leads the Alliance by offering hope of a safer future. As America's strength is restored, so is our allies' confidence in the future of freedom. We will encourage them to increase their contributions to our common defense.
To strengthen NATO's Southern Flank, we place the highest priority on resolving the Cyprus dispute and maintaining our support for both Greece and Turkey, with non-recognition of regimes imposed in occupied territory.
We share a deep concern for peace and justice in Northern Ireland and condemn all violence and terrorism in that strife-torn land.
We stand in solidarity with the peoples of Eastern Europe: the Poles, Hungarians, East Germans, Czechs, Rumanians, Yugoslavs, Bulgarians, Ukrainians, Baltic peoples, Armenians, and all captive nations who struggle daily against their Soviet masters. The heroic efforts of Lech Walesa and the Solidarity movement in Poland are an inspiration to all people yearning to be free. We are not neutral in their struggle, wherever the flame of liberty brightens the black night of Soviet oppression.
The tragic repression of the Polish people by the Soviet-inspired military dictatorship in Poland has touched the American people. We support policies to provide relief for Polish nationals seeking asylum and refuge in the United States.
The Middle East
President Reagan's Middle East policy has been flexible enough to adapt to rapidly changing circumstances, yet consistent and credible so that all nations recognize our determination to protect our vital interests. The President's skillful crisis management throughout the Iran-Iraq war has kept that conflict from damaging our vital interests. His peace efforts have won strong bipartisan support and international applause. And his willingness to stand up to Libya has made peace-loving states in the region feel more secure.
The 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, which surprised the Carter-Mondale Administration, brought Soviet forces less than 400 miles from the strategic Straits of Hormuz. The seizure of American hostages in Iran that year caught the United States unprepared and unable to respond. Lebanon is still in turmoil, despite our best efforts to foster stability in that unhappy country. With the Syrian leadership increasingly subject to Soviet influence, and the Palestine Liberation Organization and its homicidal subsidiaries taking up residence in Syria, U.S. policy toward the region must remain vigilant and strong. Republicans reaffirm that the United States should not recognize or negotiate with the PLO so long as that organization continues to promote terrorism, rejects Israel's right to exist, and refuses to accept U.N. Resolutions 242 and 338.
The bedrock of that protection remains, as it has for over three decades, our moral and strategic relationship with Israel. We are allies in the defense of freedom. Israel's strength, coupled with United States assistance, is the main obstacle to Soviet domination of the region. The sovereignty, security, and integrity of the state of Israel are moral imperatives. We pledge to help maintain Israel's qualitative military edge over its adversaries.
Today, relations between the United States and Israel are closer than ever before. Under President Reagan, we have moved beyond mere words to extensive political, military, and diplomatic cooperation. U.S.-Israeli strategic planning groups are coordinating our joint defense efforts, and we are directly supporting projects to augment Israel's defense industrial base. We support the legislation pending for an Israel-U.S. free trade area.
We recognize that attacks in the U.N. against Israel are but thinly disguised attacks against the United States, for it is our shared ideals and democratic way of life that are their true target. Thus, when a U.N. agency denied Israel's right to participate, we withheld our financial support until that action was corrected. And we have worked behind the scenes and in public in other international organizations to defeat discriminatory attacks against our ally.
Our determination to participate actively in the peace process begun at Camp David has won us support over the past four years from moderate Arab states. Israel's partner in the Camp David Accords, Egypt, with American support, has been a constructive force for stability. We pledge continued support to Egypt and other moderate regimes against Soviet and Libyan subversion, and we look to them to contribute to our efforts for a long-term settlement of the region's destructive disputes.
We believe that Jerusalem should remain an undivided city with free and unimpeded access to all holy places by people of all faiths.
Asia and the Pacific
Free Asia is a tremendous success. Emulating the United States economically and politically, our friends in East Asia have had the world's highest economic growth rates. Their economies represent the dynamism of free markets and free people, in stark contrast to the dreary rigidity and economic failures of centrally planned socialism. U.S. investments in Asia now exceed $30 billion, and our annual trade surpasses that with any other region.
Unable to match this progress, the Soviet Union, North Korea, and Vietnam threaten the region with military aggression and political intimidation. The Soviet rape of Afghanistan, the criminal destruction of the KAL airliner, the genocide in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, the steady growth of Soviet SS-20 forces in East Asia, the rapid increase of the Soviet Pacific Fleet, the continuing build-up of North Korean forces and the brutal bombing of South Korean leaders in Rangoon, the recent deployment of Soviet forces at Cam Ranh Bay, the continued occupation of Cambodia by the Vietnamese, and chemical and biological weapons attacks against defenseless civilian populations in Afghanistan and Southeast Asia are some of the more obvious threats to the peace of Asia and to America's friends there.
Republicans salute the brave people of Afghanistan, struggling to regain their freedom and independence. We will continue to support the freedom fighters and pledge our continuing humanitarian aid to the thousands of Afghan refugees who have sought sanctuary in Pakistan and elsewhere.
To preserve free Asia's economic gains and enhance our security, we will continue economic and security assistance programs with the front-line states of Korea, Thailand, and Pakistan. We will maintain defense facilities in Korea, Japan, the Philippines, and the Indian Ocean to protect vital sea lanes.
We will promote economic growth while we strengthen human rights and the commitment to both democracy and free markets. We will help friendly nations deal with refugees and secure their help against drug cultivation and trafficking.
Our relations with Japan are central to America's role in the Far East, and they have never been better. The world's second-largest industrial power can make an increasingly important contribution to peace and economic development over much of Asia. We applaud Japan's commitment to defend its territory, air space, and sea lanes. We are heartened by its increases in defense spending and urge Japan to further expand its contribution to the region's defense. We have made progress in our trade relations and affirm that, with good will on both sides, broader agreement is likely.
In keeping with the pledge of the 1980 Platform, President Reagan has continued the process of developing our relationship with the People's Republic of China. We commend the President's initiatives to build a solid foundation for the long-term relations between the United States and the People's Republic, emphasizing peaceful trade and other policies to promote regional peace. Despite fundamental differences in many areas, both nations share an important common objective: opposition to Soviet expansionism.
At the same time, we specifically reaffirm our concern for, and our moral commitment to, the safety and security of the 18 million people on Taiwan. We pledge that this concern will be constant, and we will continue to regard any attempt to alter Taiwan's status by force as a threat to regional peace. We endorse, with enthusiasm, President Reagan's affirmation that it is the policy of the United States to support and fully implement the provisions of the Taiwan Relations Act. In addition, we fully support self determination for the people of Hong Kong.
The Republic of Korea is a stalwart ally. To deter aggression, we will maintain our forces there which contribute to our common defense. Our growing economic relations are good for both countries and enhance our influence to foster a democratic evolution there.
We prize our special relationship with the Philippines. We will make every effort to promote economic development and democratic principles they seek. Because the Clark and Subic Bay bases are vital to American interests in the Western Pacific, we are committed to their continued security.
We recognize the close and special ties we have maintained with Thailand since the days of Abraham Lincoln. Thailand stands tall against the imperialist aggression of Vietnam and the Soviet Union in Southeast Asia.
We hail the economic achievements of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. We will strengthen economic and political ties to them and support their opposition to the Vietnamese occupation of Cambodia.
Almost a decade after our withdrawal from Vietnam, thousands of Americans still do not know the fate of their fathers, brothers, and sons missing in action. Our united people call upon Vietnam and Laos with one voice: return our men, end the grief of the innocent, and give a full accounting of our POW-MIAs. We will press for access to investigate crash sites throughout Indochina. We support the efforts of our private citizens who have worked tirelessly for many years on this issue.
Africa faces a new colonialism. The tripartite axis of the Soviet Union, Cuba, and Libya has unleashed war and privation upon the continent. We are committed to democracy in Africa and to the economic development that will help it flourish. That is why we will foster free-market, growth-oriented, and liberalized trading policies.
As part of reforming the policies of the International Development Association, we have assisted in directing a larger proportion of its resources to sub-Saharan Africa. To nurture the spirit of individual initiative in Africa, our newly created African Development Foundation will work with African entrepreneurs at the village level. In addition, through our rejection of the austerity programs of international organizations, we are bringing new hope to the people of Africa that they will join in the benefits of the growing, dynamic world economy.
We will continue to provide necessary security and economic assistance to African nations with which we maintain good relations to help them develop the infrastructure of democratic capitalism so essential to economic growth and individual accomplishment. We will encourage our allies in Europe and east Asia to coordinate their assistance efforts so that the industrialized countries will be able to contribute effectively to the economic development of the continent. We believe that, if given the choice, the nations of Africa will reject the model of Marxist state-controlled economies in favor of the prosperity and quality of life that free economies and free people can achieve.
We will continue to assist threatened African governments to protect themselves and will work with them to protect their continent from subversion and to safeguard their strategic minerals. The Reagan-Bush Administration will continue its vigorous efforts to achieve Namibian independence and the expulsion of Cubans from occupied Angola.
We reaffirm our commitment to the rights of all South Africans. Apartheid is repugnant. In South Africa, as elsewhere on the continent, we support well-conceived efforts to foster peace, prosperity, and stability.
Foreign Assistance and Regional Security
Developing nations look to the United States for counsel and guidance in achieving economic opportunity, prosperity, and political freedom. Democratic capitalism has demonstrated, in the United States and elsewhere, an unparalleled ability to achieve political and civil rights and long-term prosperity for ever-growing numbers of people. We are confident that democracy and free enterprise can succeed everywhere. A central element in our programs of economic assistance should be to share with others the beneficial ideas of democratic capitalism, which have led the United States to economic prosperity and political freedom.
Our bilateral economic assistance program should be directed at promoting economic growth and prosperity in developing nations. Therefore, we support recently enacted legislation untying our programs from the policies of austerity of international organizations such as the International Monetary Fund.
We have changed the Carter-Mondale policy of channeling increasing proportions of U.S. assistance through multinational institutions beyond our control. We strongly support President Reagan's decision not to increase funding for the International Development Association because of its predilection for nations with state-dominated economic systems. Our contribution to the International Fund for Agricultural Development will be eliminated due to its consistent bias toward non-market economies. And the anti-American bureaucracy of the U.N.'s Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) will no longer be supported by U.S. taxpayers. We will not support international organizations inconsistent with our interests. In particular, we will work to eliminate their funding of Communist states.
Prominent among American ideals is the sanctity of the family. Decisions on family size should be made freely by each family. We support efforts to enhance the freedom of such family decisions. We will endeavor to assure that those who are responsible for our programs are more sensitive to the cultural needs of the countries to which we give assistance.
As part of our commitment to the family and our opposition to abortion, we will eliminate all U.S. funding for organizations which in any way support abortion or research on abortion methods.
To strengthen bilateral foreign assistance, we will reduce or eliminate assistance to nations with foreign policies contrary to our interests and strengthen the Secretary of State's hand by ensuring his direct control over assistance programs.
Foreign military assistance strengthens our security by enabling friendly nations to provide for their own defense, including defense against terrorism.
Terrorism is a new form of warfare against the democracies. Supported by the Soviet Union and others, it ranges from PLO murder to the attempted assassination of the Pope. Combatting it requires an integrated effort of our diplomacy, armed forces, intelligence services, and law-enforcement organizations. Legislative obstacles to international cooperation against terrorism must be repealed, followed by a vigorous program to enhance friendly nations' counter-terrorist forces. In particular, we seek the cooperation of our hemispheric neighbors to deal comprehensively with the Soviet and Cuban terrorism now afflicting us.
Americans cannot count on the international organizations to guarantee our security or adequately protect our interests. The United States hosts the headquarters of the United Nations, pays a fourth of its budget, and is proportionally the largest contributor to most international organizations; but many members consistently vote against us. As Soviet influence in these organizations has grown, cynicism and the double standard have become their way of life.
This is why President Reagan announced that we will leave the worst of these organizations, UNESCO. He has put the U.N. on notice that the U.S. will strongly oppose the use of the U.N. to foster anti-semitism, Soviet espionage, and hostility to the United States. The President decisively rejected the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea and embarked instead on a dynamic national oceans policy, animated by our traditional commitment to freedom of the seas. That pattern will be followed with regard to U.N. meddling in Antarctica and outer space. Enthusiastically endorsing those steps, we will apply the same standards to all international organizations. We will monitor their votes and activities, and particularly the votes of member states which receive U.S. aid. Americans will no longer silently suffer the hypocrisy of many of these organizations.
The American people believe that United States foreign policy should be animated by the cause of human rights for all the world's peoples.
A well-rounded human rights policy is concerned with specific individuals whose rights are denied by governments of the right or left, and with entire peoples whose Communist governments deny their claim to human rights as individuals and acknowledge only the "rights" derived from membership in an economic class. Republicans support a human rights policy which includes both these concerns.
Republican concern for human rights also extends to the institutions of free societies—political parties, the free press, business and labor organizations—which embody and protect the exercise of individual rights. The National Endowment for Democracy and other instruments of U.S. diplomacy foster the growth of these vital institutions.
By focusing solely on the shortcomings of non-Communist governments, Democrats have missed the forest for the trees, failing to recognize that the greatest threat to human rights is the Communist system itself.
Republicans understand that the East-West struggle has profound human rights implications. We know that Communist nations, which profess dedication to human rights, actually use their totalitarian systems to violate human rights in an organized, systematic fashion.
The Reagan-Bush Administration has worked for positive human rights changes worldwide. Our efforts have ranged from support for the Helsinki Accords to our support of judicial and political reform in El Salvador.
The Republican Party commends President Reagan for accepting the Honorary Chairmanship of the campaign to erect a U.S. Holocaust Memorial in Washington, D.C. and supports the efforts of the U.S. Holocaust Council in erecting such a museum and educational center. The museum will bear witness to the victims and survivors of the Holocaust.
For Republicans, the struggle for human freedom is more than an end in itself. It is part of a policy that builds a foundation for peace. When people are free to express themselves and choose democratic governments, their free private institutions and electoral power constitute a constraint against the excesses of autocratic rulers. We agree with President Truman, who said: "In the long run our security and the world's hopes for peace lie not in measures of defense or in the control of weapons, but in the growth and expansion of freedom and self-government."
To this end, we pledge our continued effort to secure for all people the inherent, God-given rights that Americans have been privileged to enjoy for two centuries.
Advocacy for Democracy
To promote and sustain the cause of democracy, America must be an active participant in the political competition between the principles of Communism and of democracy.
To do this, America needs a strong voice and active instruments of public diplomacy to counter the Communist bloc's massive effort to disinform and deceive world public opinion. Republicans believe that truth is America's most powerful weapon.
The Reagan-Bush Administration has elevated the stature of public diplomacy in the councils of government and increased the United States Information Agency budget by 44 percent in four years. New programs have been launched in television, citizen exchanges, and dissemination of written information. The National Endowment for Democracy has enlisted the talent of private American institutions, including the AFL-CIO and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, to educate our friends overseas in the ways of democratic institutions. A sustained billion-dollar effort is modernizing and expanding the Voice of America, strengthening the Voice's signal, lengthening its broadcasts, improving its content, adding new language services and replacing antiquated equipment. Radio Marti, the new broadcast service to Cuba, will begin to broadcast the truth about Cuba to the Cuban people.
Initial steps have been taken to improve the capabilities of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty, which serve the captive nations of the Soviet bloc. We pledge to carry out a thorough improvement program for these radios, including new transmitters and other means of penetrating the jamming which denies the RFE/RL signal to millions of captive people, including the increasingly discontented Soviet minorities, behind the Iron Curtain.
Because of the importance we place on people-to-people exchange programs, Republicans support the dedicated work of Peace Corps volunteers. America must nurture good relations not only with foreign governments but with other peoples as well. By encouraging the free flow of ideas and information, America is helping to build the infrastructure of democracy and demonstrating the strength of our belief in the democratic example. The United States Peace Corps, reflecting traditional American values, will follow the White House initiative promoting free enterprise development overseas in third world countries.
The tradition of addressing the world's peoples, advocating the principles and goals of democracy and freedom, is as old as our Republic. Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence "with a decent respect to the opinions of mankind." This popular advocacy is even more important today in the global struggle between totalitarianism and freedom.
The Future of Our National Security
Republicans look to the future with confidence that we have the will, the weapons, and the technology to preserve America as the land of the free and the home of the brave. We stand united with President Reagan in his hope that American scientists and engineers can produce the technology and the hardware to make nuclear war obsolete.
The prospect for peace is excellent because America is strong again. America's defenses have only one purpose: to assure that our people and free institutions survive and flourish.
Our security requires both the capability to defend against aggression and the will to do so. Together, will and capability deter aggression. That is why the danger of war has grown more remote under President Reagan.
When he took office, defense policy was in disarray. The Carter-Mondale Administration had diminished our military capability and had confused the pursuit of peace with accommodating totalitarianism. It could not respond to the determined growth of Soviet military power and a more aggressive Soviet foreign policy.
We are proud of a strong America. Our military strength exists for the high moral purpose of deterring conflict, not initiating war. The deterrence of aggression is ethically imperative. That is why we have restored America's defense capability and renewed our country's will. Americans are again proud to serve in the Armed Forces and proud of those who serve.
We reaffirm the principle that the national security policy of the United States should be based upon a strategy of peace through strength, a goal of the 1980 Republican Platform.
Maintaining a technological superiority, the historical foundation of our policy of deterrence, remains essential. In other areas, such as our maritime forces, we should continue to strive for qualitative superiority.
President Reagan committed our nation to a modernized strategic and theater nuclear force sufficient to deter attack against the United States and our allies, while pursuing negotiations for balanced, verifiable reductions of nuclear weapons under arms control agreements.
In order to deter, we must be sufficiently strong to convince a potential adversary that under no circumstances would it be to its advantage to initiate conflict at any level.
We pledge to do everything necessary so that, in case of conflict, the United States would clearly prevail.
We will continue to modernize our deterrent capability, while negotiating for verifiable arms control. We will continue the policies that have given fresh confidence and new hope to freedom-loving people everywhere.
Arms Control for the Future
Americans, while caring deeply about arms control, realize that it is not an end in itself, but can be a major component of a foreign and defense policy which keeps America free, strong, and independent.
Sharing the American people's realistic view of the Soviet Union, the Reagan Administration has pursued arms control agreements that would reduce the level of nuclear weaponry possessed by the superpowers. President Reagan has negotiated with flexibility, and always from a position of strength.
In the European theater, President Reagan proposed the complete elimination of intermediate-range nuclear missiles. In the START talks with the Soviet Union, he proposed the "build-down" which would eliminate from the U.S. and Soviet arsenals two existing nuclear warheads for each new warhead.
The Soviet Union has rejected every invitation by President Reagan to resume talks, refusing to return unless we remove the Pershing II and Cruise missiles which we have placed in Europe at the request of our NATO allies. Soviet intransigence is designed to force concessions from the United States even before negotiations begin. We will not succumb to this strategy. The Soviet Union will return to the bargaining table only when it recognizes that the United States will not make unilateral concessions or allow the Soviet Union to achieve nuclear superiority.
The Soviet Union, by engaging in a sustained pattern of violations of arms control agreements, has cast severe doubt on its own willingness to negotiate and comply with new agreements in a spirit of good faith. Agreements violated by the Soviet Union include SALT, the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty of 1972, the Helsinki Accords, and the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention of 1972. This pattern of Soviet behavior is clearly designed to obtain a Soviet strategic advantage.
To deter Soviet violations of arms control agreements, the United States must maintain the capability to verify, display a willingness to respond to Soviet violations which have military significance, and adopt a policy whereby the defense of the United States is not constrained by arms control agreements violated by the Soviet Union.
We support the President's efforts to curb the spread of nuclear weapons and to improve international controls and safeguards over sensitive nuclear technologies. The President's non-proliferation policy has emphasized results, rather than rhetoric, as symbolized by the successful meeting of nuclear supplier states in Luxembourg in July of this year. We endorse the President's initiative on comprehensive safeguards and his efforts to encourage other supplier states to support such measures.
The first duty of government is to provide for the common defense. That solemn responsibility was neglected during the Carter-Mondale years. At the end of the Eisenhower era, nearly 48 percent of the federal budget was devoted to defense programs, representing 9.1 percent of our gross national product. By 1980, under Carter-Mondale, defense spending had fallen to only 5 percent of gross national product and represented only 24 percent of the federal budget. The Reagan Administration has begun to correct the weaknesses caused by that situation by prudently increasing defense resources. We must continue to devote the resources essential to deter a Soviet threat—a threat which has grown and should be met by an improved and modernized U.S. defense capability. Even so, the percentage of the Reagan Administration budget spent on defense is only about half that of the Eisenhower-Kennedy era.
In 1980, our military forces were not ready to perform their missions in the event of emergency. Many planes could not fly for lack of spare parts; ships could not sail for lack of skilled personnel; supplies were insufficient for essential training or sustained combat. Today, readiness and sustainability have improved dramatically. We not only have more equipment, but it is in operating condition. Our military personnel have better training, pride, and confidence. We have improved their pay and benefits. Recruiting and retaining competent personnel is no longer a problem.
Under the Democrats, the All-Volunteer Force was headed for disastrous failure. Because of the Carter-Mondale intransigence on military pay and benefits, we saw the shameful spectacle of patriotic service families being forced below the poverty level, relying on food stamps and other welfare programs. The quality of life for our military has been substantially improved under the Reagan Administration. We wholeheartedly support the all-volunteer armed force and are proud of our historic initiative to bring it to pass.
From the worst levels of retention and recruiting in post-war history in 1979, we have moved to the highest ever recorded. We are meeting 100 percent of our recruiting needs, and 92 percent of our recruits are high school graduates capable of mastering the skills needed in the modern armed services. In 1980, 13 percent of our ships and 25 percent of our aircraft squadrons reported themselves not combat ready because of personnel shortages. Today, those figures have dropped to less than 1 percent and 4 percent respectively.
Today, the United States leads the world in integrating women into the military. They serve in a variety of non-combat assignments. We have made significant strides in numbers of women and their level of responsibility. Female officer strength has grown by 24 percent under the Reagan Administration and is projected to increase, with even greater increases for non-commissioned officers.
Conventional and Strategic Modernization
In 1980, we had a "hollow Army," a Navy half its numbers of a decade earlier, and an Air Force badly in need of upgrading. The Army is now receiving the most modern tanks, fighting vehicles, and artillery. The Navy has grown to 513 ships with 79 more under construction this year, well on its way toward the 600-ship, 15-carrier force necessary for our maritime strategy. The Air Force has procured advanced tactical aircraft. By decade's end, our intertheater lift capacity will have increased by 75 percent. We pledge to rescue a shipbuilding industry consigned to extinction by the Carter-Mondale team.
Since the end of World War II, America's nuclear arsenal has caused the Soviet Union to exercise caution to avoid direct military confrontation with us and our close allies.
Our nuclear arms are a vital element of the Free World's security system.
Throughout the 1970s and up to the present, the Soviet Union has engaged in a vast buildup of nuclear arms. In the naive hope that unilateral restraint by the United States would cause the Soviet Union to reverse course, the Carter-Mondale Administration delayed significant major features of the strategic modernization our country needed. There was no arms race because only the Soviet Union was racing, determined to to achieve an intimidating advantage over the Free World. As a result, in 1980, America was moving toward a position of clear nuclear inferiority to the Soviets.
President Reagan moved swiftly to reverse this alarming situation and to reestablish an effective margin of safety before 1990. Despite obstruction from many congressional Democrats, we have restored the credibility of our deterrent.
Reserve and Guard Forces
We salute the men and women of the National Guard and the Reserves. The Carter-Mondale team completely neglected our vital Reserve and Guard forces, leaving them with obsolete equipment, frozen pay, and thousands of vacancies.
The Reagan Administration has transformed our Reserve and National Guard. The Naval Reserve will ultimately operate 40 of the fleet's 600 ships. Navy and Marine Air Reserve units now receive the most modern aircraft, as do the Air Force Reserve and Guard. Army Reserve and Guard units now receive the latest tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, and artillery. Reserve pay has increased 30 percent, and reserve components are having record success in filling their positions. Our country counts on the Reserves and the Guard, and they can count on us.
The Republican Party advocates a strong defense and fiscal responsibility at the same time. This Administration has already made major advances in eliminating the deep-rooted procurement problems we inherited. Republicans have changed the way the Pentagon does business, encouraging greater economy and efficiency, stretching the taxpayer's dollar.
Learning nothing from past mistakes, the Carter-Mondale Administration returned to centralized defense management. The predictable result: competition fell to only 15 percent of Pentagon procurement; programs were mired in disastrous cost overruns and disputes; outrageous and exorbitant prices were paid for spare parts; and the taxpayers' money was wasted on a grand scale.
We have tackled this problem head-on. We returned management to the Services and began far-reaching reforms. To hold down costs, we more than doubled competition in Pentagon procurement. We appointed Competition Advocate Generals in each Service and an overall Inspector General for the Pentagon. We increased incentives for excellent performance by contractors, and we have applied immediate penalty for poor performance. Our innovative approaches have already saved the taxpayers billions of dollars.
Spare parts acquisition has undergone thorough reform. Improving spare parts management, involving a Department of Defense inventory of almost four million items, is a complex and massive management challenge. The Pentagon's new 10-point program is already working. Old contracts are being revamped to allow competition, high prices are being challenged, and rigorous audits are continuing. As an example, a stool cap for a navigator's chair, once priced at $1,100, was challenged by an alert Air Force Sergeant. It now costs us 31 cents. The Pentagon obtained a full refund and gave the Sergeant a cash reward.
Our men and women in uniform deserve the best and most reliable weapons that this country can offer. We must improve the reliability and performance of our weapons systems, and warranties can be a very positive contribution to defense procurement practices, as can be the independent office of operational testing and evaluation, which was another positive Republican initiative.
The acquisition improvement program now includes program stability, multi-year procurement, economic production rates, realistic budgeting, and increased competition. The B-1B bomber, replacing our aging B-52 force, is ahead of schedule and under cost. We support our anti-submarine warfare effort and urge its funding at its current level. For the last two years, the Navy has received nearly 50 ships more than three years ahead of schedule and nearly $1 billion under budget. The U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt, our newest aircraft carrier, is 17 months ahead of schedule and almost $74 million under cost.
We have reformed inefficient procurement practices established decades ago, and we will continue to ensure the most gain from each defense dollar.
The Tasks Ahead
The damage to our defenses through unilateral disarmament cannot be repaired quickly. The hollow Army of the Carter-Mondale Administration is hollow no more, and our Navy is moving toward a 600-ship force.
We share President Reagan's determination to restore credible security for our country. Our choice is not between a strong defense or a strong economy; we must succeed in both, or we will succeed in neither.
Our forces must be second to none, and we condemn the notion that one-sided military reduction will induce the Soviets to seek peace. Our military strength not only provides the deterrent necessary for a more peaceful world, but is also the best incentive for the Soviets to agree to arms reduction.
America is free because of its veterans. We owe them more than thanks. After answering the call to arms, they brought leadership and patriotism back to their communities. They are a continuing resource for America. Through their membership in veterans' service activities, they have strongly supported President Reagan's defense policy. Knowing first-hand the sacrifices of war, they have spoken out frequently for a strong national defense.
Veterans have earned their benefits; these must not be taken away. The help we give them is an investment which pays our nation unlimited dividends.
We have accomplished a great deal. We are meeting the needs of women veterans and ensuring them equal treatment. We must prepare to meet the needs of aging veterans.
We are addressing the unique readjustment problems of Vietnam veterans by expanding the store-front readjustment counseling program, extending vocational training and job placement assistance, and targeting research toward understanding delayed stress reaction in combat veterans. We have moved to alleviate the uncertainty of veterans exposed to Agent Orange by providing nearly 129,000 medical exams and by launching an all-out, government-wide research effort.
We are making major strides in improving health care for veterans. VA hospital construction has expanded to meet community needs, and benefits for disabled veterans have been improved.
We will maintain the veterans' preference for federal hiring and will improve health, education, and other benefits. We support the Reagan Administration's actions to make home ownership attainable by more veterans, as well as our program to help veterans in small business compete for government contracts. We will extend to all veterans of recent conflicts, such as Lebanon and Grenada, the same assistance.
In recognition of the unique commitment and personal sacrifices of military spouses, President Reagan has called upon the nation to honor them and proclaimed a day of tribute. We will remember them and advance their interests.
Knowing our adversaries' capabilities and intentions is our first line of defense. A strong intelligence community focuses our diplomacy and saves billions of defense dollars. This critical asset was gravely weakened during the Carter-Mondale years.
We will continue to strengthen our intelligence services. We will remove statutory obstacles to the effective management, performance, and security of intelligence sources and methods. We will further improve our ability to influence international events in support of our foreign policy objectives, and we will strengthen our counterintelligence facilities.
By encouraging commerce in militarily significant technology, the Carter-Mondale Administration actually improved Soviet military power. Because of that terrible error, we are now exposed to significant risk and must spend billions of defense dollars that would otherwise have been unnecessary.
The Reagan Administration halted the Carter-Mondale folly. We have strengthened cooperative efforts with our allies to restrict diversion of militarily critical technologies. We will increase law-enforcement and counterintelligence efforts to halt Soviet commercial espionage and illegal exploitation of our technology.
International terrorism is not a random phenomenon but a new form of warfare waged by the forces of totalitarianism against the democracies.
In recent years, certain states have sponsored terrorist actions in pursuit of their strategic goals. The international links among terrorist groups are now clearly understood; and the Soviet link, direct and indirect, is also clearly understood. The Soviets use terrorist groups to weaken democracy and undermine world stability.
Purely passive measures do not deter terrorists. It is time to think about appropriate preventive or pre-emptive actions against terrorist groups before they strike.
Terrorism is an international problem. No one country can successfully combat it. We must lead the free nations in a concerted effort to pressure members of the League of Terror to cease their sponsorship and support of terrorism.
A Secure Future
During the Carter-Mondale Administration, the Soviets built more weapons, and more modern ones, than the United States. President Reagan has begun to reverse this dangerous trend. More important, he has begun a process that, over time, will gradually but dramatically reduce the Soviet Union's ability to threaten our lives with nuclear arms.
His leadership came none too soon. The combined damage of a decade of neglect and of relentless Soviet buildup, despite treaties and our restraint, will not be undone easily.
Today, the Soviet Union possesses over 5,000 intercontinental nuclear warheads powerful and accurate enough to destroy hard military targets, and it is flight-testing a whole new generation of missiles. The Carter-Mondale Administration left this country at a decided disadvantage, without a credible deterrent. That is why President Reagan embarked on a modernization program covering all three legs of the strategic triad.
Republicans understand that our nuclear deterrent forces are the ultimate military guarantor of America's security and that of our allies. That is why we will continue to support the programs necessary to modernize our strategic forces and reduce the vulnerabilities. This includes the earliest possible deployment of a new small mobile ICBM.
While the Carter-Mondale team hid beneath an umbrella of wishful thinking, the Soviet Union made every effort to protect itself in case of conflict. It has an operational anti-satellite system; the United States does not. A network of huge ultra-modern radars, new anti-missile interceptors, new surface-to-air missiles, all evidence the Soviet commitment to self-protection.
President Reagan has launched a bold new Strategic Defense Initiative to defend against nuclear attack. We enthusiastically support President Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative. We enthusiastically support the development of non-nuclear, space-based defensive systems to protect the United States by destroying incoming missiles. Recognizing the need for close consultation with our allies, we support a comprehensive and intensive effort to render obsolete the doctrine of Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD). The Democratic Party embraces Mutual Assured Destruction. The Republican Party rejects the strategy of despair and supports instead the strategy of hope and survival.
We will begin to eliminate the threat posed by strategic nuclear missiles as soon as possible. Our only purpose (one all people share) is to reduce the danger of nuclear war. To that end, we will use superior American technology to achieve space-based and ground-based defensive systems as soon as possible to protect the lives of the American people and our allies.
President Reagan has asked, "Would it not be better to save lives than to avenge them?" The Republican Party answers, "Yes!"