Good morning. Five months ago in my State of the Union Address to Congress, I pledged to the American people that I would do my best to fulfill the campaign commitment of 1992 to change the way Washington works. That means reviving our economy by reducing our deficit; cutting spending; reversing trickle-down economics by asking the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share of taxes; increasing incentives to business to create new jobs; helping the working poor; and renewing the skills and productivity of our workers, our students, and our children.
Now the Members of both Houses of Congress are preparing to decide on a final version of my economic growth plan that meets the objectives I discussed when I presented it 5 months ago. This plan will contain the largest reduction in our deficit in the Nation's history. With nearly one quarter of a trillion dollars in real, enforceable spending cuts, every new dollar of taxes will be matched by a dollar of spending cuts. And 80 percent of the new taxes now will be raised from individuals earning over $200,000 a year. No working family earning less than $180,000 will pay more in income taxes. That will be a real change from the trickle-down economics of the past dozen years. The average family will pay only one tax, less than a dime a day in an energy tax devoted entirely to deficit reduction. That's about $33 a year for a family of four with an income of $40,000 or $50,000 a year. I think that's a modest and fair price to pay for the change we seek and the progress we're making. We pledged to have the lightest possible burden on the middle class; and I think that, we have done.
Because we need the private sector to grow, the plan provides investments in job-creating capacities of American business and in the education and skills of our people. For example, the plan supports small business by dramatically increasing the tax incentive they get to invest in their own operations. Under this plan, more than 90 percent of the small businesses in America will actually be eligible for a reduction in their taxes. The plan also gives other incentives to business for new plant and equipment, to invest in research and development for high-tech firms, to invest in new fast-growing firms that create so many of our jobs. And perhaps most important to many middle class families, this plan opens the doors of college for millions of families by reforming the student loan program and making college affordable again to all Americans.
We do all this without imposing harmful cuts on programs that benefit older Americans, and building a better future for our children without asking unreasonable sacrifice from their grandparents. It's time for Congress to pass this plan. It's time for Washington to show the courage to change, just as people all across America are showing that kind of courage.
This week I had the honor of meeting with many Americans who are taking personal responsibility for making their lives and our country even better. On Monday, I attended a conference in Chicago where workers and managers talked about how they can work together to improve the quality of their goods and services, increase the strength and security of their own jobs and incomes. I met an executive from Missouri who turned around a failing plant by sharing information with employees about the company's performance. When the employees understood the big picture, they did even better at their jobs. And I met a woman from Detroit who got a job as a machinist after enrolling in a 6-year advanced training program. When she completes the program, she'll have the equivalent of a master's degree in engineering.
On Wednesday, I met with more than 60 corporate executives who support my economic growth plan. Many of them are Republicans who will have to pay higher taxes under the plan. But they made the hard-headed economic decision that their companies, their shareholders, and their country will be better off with this economic plan because it means lower deficits, lower interest rates, and a more stable environment to grow. As the chief executive officer of one of these corporations said, it's time to quit fooling around and pass the plan.
And I want to tell you about one more group of people who are quiet heroes in our economy. On Thursday, I met with three families who work hard for low wages. Thanks to the earned-income tax credit, which under this plan reduces the tax burden on low income workers, they can support their children without going on welfare. This plan increases that earned-income tax credit so that we can finally tell every working parent in America: If you work full time and you have children at home, we will lift you out of poverty. This will have more to do with encouraging people to get off welfare and go to work than anything else we've done.
I'm proud that so many people have the courage to learn new skills, to choose work over welfare, to look beyond the old divisions between labor and management, between Democrats and Republicans, to the things that unite us as Americans. These people are ready to change.
As your Senators and Representatives conclude work on our budget, I'd like to say a special word to each of you listening to me today. There's been a lot of misinformation about this economic plan. Now you know the truth: $500 billion in deficit reduction, equally divided between cuts and revenues; 80 percent of the new revenue is going to the top 1.2 percent of our people; a trust fund so that all the money goes to reduce the deficit; real investments to help the working poor, to help middle class families sending their children to college, without undue cuts on the elderly.
This is a new economic direction for our country. If you want it, if you want the jobs it will provide and the growth for our economy, you must make your voices heard. Tell your Senators and Representatives that this plan, with its deficit reduction, with its lower interest rates, with its investment in private sector jobs, means more jobs and a better future for America, and it is time to pass it.
Thank you for listening.