Jimmy Carter photo

Bedford, New Hampshire Remarks at a State Democratic Party Fundraising Dinner.

April 25, 1979

Governor Hugh Gallen—Governor Hugh Gallen—doesn't that sound great?— [applause] —it just makes all the difference in the world; I thought that Meldrim Thomson was already working full-time for the John Birch Society— [laughter] —Senator Durkin, Senator Tom Mcintyre, Congressman D'Amours, House Leader Spirou, Senate Leader Preston, chairman of our National Democratic Party, John White, Chairman Dorval, Councilor Dudley, friends of mine in New Hampshire, and visitors from adjacent States:

I'm indeed proud to be here. This has been a typical, very busy day in the life of a President. This afternoon, earlier, I gave a speech too, in New York at the Waldorf Astoria, praising America's newspaper publishers for their responsible and objective journalism. [Laughter] Here in Manchester, that speech would not be appropriate— [laughter] —so, I think I'll choose another subject for this evening. [Laughter]

When I first began to come here in 1975, I was not accustomed to your winters, you were not accustomed to the way I talked— [laughter] —and almost nobody was accustomed to the idea that I might someday be President. [Laughter] But we got to know each other, and we also listened to each other. You gave me support when I had very few friends in this country, and I will never forget it. And I thank you for it.

One thing that Georgia and New Hampshire formerly had in common is that we were formerly one-party States. For generations Georgia voted right-always Democratic— [laughter] —but New Hampshire, unfortunately, chose another path. Some would say you went astray, and for a long time you stayed that way.

But then things began to change. Some Georgia voters sadly fell from grace, and here in New Hampshire, a great revival began to take place. [Laughter]

You elected a courageous Democratic Senator, an inspiration to me and to you, Tom Mcintyre.

In 1974, you elected Norm D'Amours to Congress, and you elected another great Democratic Senator, John Durkin, even though it took you two elections to do it. [Laughter]

And last November, you took State government out of the hands of the special interests and brought it back to the people by electing Hugh Gallen as Governor of New Hampshire, and I thank you for it.

The last 2 years for the United States of America have been a time of rebuilding. We've accomplished a great deal, and there is much more to be done.

When they write the history of these years, I hope that they will say four things about what you and I have done together.

I want them to say that we've made America prosperous again and that we believe, as Democrats, in hard work and that we have put our people back to work.

I want them to say that we have never been afraid to tackle tough and controversial problems, and that we placed the long-term good of our beloved country always above the short-term political advantages which we might have gotten.

And I want them to say that we have restored the trust and the confidence of the American people in our own Government.

It's sobering to think back 3 years, 4 years, 5 years, and to remember the interrelationship between the people of this country and our Government in Washington. It's a sobering thought, and great changes have taken place.

But most of all, I want them to say that America has been at peace and that we have helped to lead the world away from war.

If we can continue to build a new foundation of peace, trust, and prosperity, we will have kept the faith with our party and with the American people. We will enter the 1980's as a proud, confident, strong, and a unified nation. We'll bring our Nation and the world closer to a time when war, hunger, and poverty and hatred will be no more. This is what you and I can do, and this is what you and I are doing, and this is what you and I will do together.

In early 1976, I told you here in Manchester that, and I quote, "our country's single most important priority must be a job for every American who wants to work." If you think back 3 years, that was the crucial issue. I said this at a time when in New Hampshire almost 1 out of every 10 people was without a job, when thousands more were working short hours or were threatened every payday with a layoff.

That was Republican economics at work. That was the doctrine of fighting inflation with the jobs and the lives and the living incomes of hard-working Americans. They called it "tightening our belts," but you know whose belt got tightened. That kind of policy might not sound so bad in some Washington bureaucracy or board room, but on the streets of Manchester, I tell you from experience that people were hurting.

I walked these streets, and I saw what kind of economics was doing to you and to your neighbors and to your children. We both knew then, in 1976, that it was time for a change. And we have brought that change.

I like Democratic economics much better. I'm proud that we have been able, working together, to put the people of New Hampshire and the entire country back to work. In 2 years, we have created more than 7 1/2 million net new jobs—50,000 or more of those new jobs right here in New Hampshire.

Your State, which bore the brunt of a planned Republican recession, now has one of the lowest unemployment rates in our country. Today, the jobless rate in New Hampshire is less than half what it was when I took office. In fact, in January of this year, the unemployment rate in New Hampshire was only 3.2 percent. Just seeing a Democratic Governor on the way did wonders for your State.

That's why I like Democratic economics better. Not that we've solved all our problems in economics—for 10 years now, rising prices have been casting a long shadow over our economy and over our very lives. We all know what inflation can do to our paychecks. We know what it does to the poor, the elderly, to those who worked and saved and now watch the value of their savings disappear as each day passes. I am fighting with the best of my ability to bring inflation under control, and I am determined to win this fight. But I will not do it through a planned recession that will take jobs away from millions of Americans who want to work.

And I also will not tie our economy in knots by trying to impose mandatory Federal Government controls which may sound like a solution, but which only treat the symptoms and not the disease. The historical record is clear on this. Such controls do not solve the problem; they just create another cumbersome, meddlesome Federal bureaucracy and often make the problem worse.

Everyone must help to control inflation. I know that Government cannot control inflation by itself, but there are important things that Government can do. For instance, I believe in a balanced Federal budget. And I am proud that the 1980 budget will have reduced the Republican deficit by more than 55 percent since I ran for office. We've done that by cutting wasteful, inefficient, and unnecessary programs and—listen to this—while increasing substantially our commitment to the elderly, the poor, to education, to housing, to transportation, and to the unemployed.

Down through history, we've learned the hard way that there is no easy or painless cure for inflation. Six months ago, I announced a program of wage and price standards to slow the rate of inflation. This program is voluntary. But it also has teeth, and we are already having some very important successes. Most businesses, most working people, and most consumers are cooperating. But their efforts have been obscured by inflationary forces beyond our control, such as OPEC oil prices, which have risen much higher than anybody could have anticipated or influenced, and by severe winter weather 2 years in a row.

In the past few months though, the rate of inflation in the parts of the economy that we can control has slowed significantly. The producer price index, a very good indicator, shows these changes. It has dropped by more than 40 percent already this year—from 13 percent in January to 7 1/2 percent in March. This is an important sign that we are beginning to get a grip on inflation.

Other evidence which we can already detect very clearly suggests that food prices will stop going through the roof as well. But I'm not going to kid you about this: Our number one domestic problem, inflation, is bad, and it will be months, at the very least, before it gets substantially better. Frankly, we will continue to see discouraging price figures coming out for some time to come.

Too often in the past, Presidents have tried to improve their political fortunes by coming up with sudden gimmicks that produce misleading, temporary paper gains in the inflation figures. The trouble is that this just led to bigger spurts of inflation down the road, and it ended up doing long-term economic damage to our country. It's a temptation, but I refuse to play politics with the economic health of the United States of America.

That's why I am calling on every one of you and on all Americans throughout our country to cooperate with a steady, solid anti-inflation effort. Only a tenacious, long-term approach can solve the tenacious, long-term problem of inflation.

But I will persevere. And I ask for your understanding about the deep-rooted nature of the problem, and I ask for your patience to give our efforts time to succeed. And most of all, I ask for your determination and your dedication to the common good in sticking to this fight until it is won.

Again, in New Hampshire, in Concord, more than 4 years ago, as a candidate during one of my first visits to New Hampshire, I told you the truth about our energy problems. I said then, and ! repeat today, and I quote, "There is no workable plan that does not require sacrifice and self-restraint from the American people."

New Hampshire, like the rest of New England, knows that it is not a good situation to be dependent on a long, thin line of oil tankers stretched all the way from the Middle East to these shores. Foreign oil is expensive and getting more so. And we cannot control it. In an uncertain world, our growing appetite for foreign oil makes us dependent on the whims of foreign powers.

The days of cheap energy are over. Only demagogs deny the unpleasant truth: We must pay more and we must use less.

In order to increase production of American oil, we will soon begin to decontrol slowly, predictably, in a phased way, domestic oil prices. It's a step that has to be taken if we are ever going to conserve energy and have a rational energy policy.

The choice is not between cheap or expensive domestic oil. It's between some inconvenience now that's controllable, and some far greater hardship later on, which we may not be able to control.

The great difference between the price of energy in New England and the rest of the Nation will be reduced, helping to keep industry and jobs here at home where they belong.

I know better than many Americans what a New Hampshire winter is like. I spent two winters outside in the street. I know that families in New Hampshire, in their homes, living on less than $5,000 a year, have to pay 24 percent of their inadequate income for fuel.

That's why the oil companies must not be allowed to keep the excess and unearned profits from the rising price of oil. This is very important. There is no excuse for permitting any such massive ripoff. We must, and we will, have a good windfall profits tax.

Now, you know, as Tom and John and others have already said, that the oil lobby is one of the most powerful special interests in Washington. They feel about the windfall profits tax about the same way that Daniel Webster felt about the devil. The oil lobby already is and will be all over the tax bill like—as we say in Georgia-like a chicken on a june bug.

But I refuse to believe that the Congress of the United States will permit these oil companies, already reaping huge profits, to become billions of dollars richer at the expense of the American people.

The money from higher oil prices must go to solve our serious energy problems. That is what the fight over windfall profits is all about.

The oil companies want all the money for themselves. I want it to go for exploration for new oil, yes, but also to create the energy security fund.

With this fund, we will give direct financial aid to families who are least able to afford the growing energy costs, and we will harness American know-how to do what we should have done years ago—to develop economical alternatives to oil.

This will finally let us develop power from the Sun, from the wind, from geothermal energy. Here in New Hampshire, this means that we will be looking at the State's oldest sources of power, your streams and your forests, for energy.

We can develop the energy potential of New England. New Hampshire will no longer have to mortgage its future in exchange for foreign oil. Small streams and forests will again help to power New Hampshire. We'll have a pilot project in Berlin very soon, using small hydroelectric powerplants to provide power for the community. We have three more projects that we are presently considering just within New Hampshire.

These are some of the benefits of a rational, Democratic energy policy. But I need you to help me with it.

On that night, on that great night in 1976 when I won the New Hampshire primary, I told you then that as President, if I was elected, I would repair the damage that has been done to the relationship between our people and our Government.

I have been proud to keep that pact with the people of New Hampshire. There are no more government lies, there are no more enemies lists, there are no more sellouts to the special interests. Working together, we have restored integrity and trust to the American Government.

I used to hear how sick and tired the people of New Hampshire were of bureaucracy, redtape, and government inefficiency. These complaints had been building up for a long time, and it took Democrats to do something about them. With the help of Senator John Durkin and Congressman Norm D'Amours, we have passed a landmark civil service reform bill. Now the Government will encourage and reward good performance—which is what the Federal employees want, almost to a person—not mediocrity and laziness. We can make government work better and we can make it work for you.

We've put Inspectors General in every major Federal agency to root out fraud and dishonesty. We are cleaning up the GSA scandals, which have festered for years. We will stop those who dare to steal the taxpayers' money.

We've shut off the regulatory assembly line. Government regulations will be fewer, more sensible, fair, and written in plain English, so even a peanut farmer can understand them.

Just one quick example. By lifting the heavy hand of Government regulation from the airline industry, we have saved American consumers $2 1/2 billion in reduced airfares. We have made some progress, but we still have a lot of improvement still waiting to be done.

And finally, I recall in Antrim, New Hampshire, I stated that the Soviet Union, and I quote, "is just as frightened of nuclear proliferation as we are." And I promised "never to get this country into a position that would make us subject to nuclear blackmail."

For more than 30 years, we have lived with the horror of nuclear weapons. We live with a nightmare that we and the Soviet Union have the capacity to destroy all life on this bountiful planet.

Peace will never be fully secure as long as the shadow of nuclear war hangs over the world. A SALT treaty will lessen the danger of nuclear destruction, while safeguarding our military strength.

For more than 6 years, under three Presidents, we have been very carefully negotiating the SALT II treaty. As President, I assure you that it will enhance our Nation's security, and we can make certain that the Soviet Union is living up to every single one of the treaty's provisions.

Neither our Nation nor the Soviet Union would benefit from an uncontrolled race to build ever more deadly, more devastating nuclear weapons. A SALT treaty will give us more military security in a more stable and predictable and peaceful world. Failure to ratify this treaty will cause us all to pay a horrible price, both in terms of unnecessary military spending and also in terms of increased global instability and the threat of a devastating war.

I am confident that when the American people and the American Congress weigh the merits of the SALT II treaty, they will conclude that it is an important step both toward peace and toward military security. I need you, as individual Americans, to help me take this important step in our eventual goal, the goal that I set for you and for me in my speech the day of inauguration—to eliminate nuclear weapons from the face of the Earth once and for all.

In 1818, the founder of our party, Thomas Jefferson, looked back on his long years of service to the Nation, and he noted with pride—I quote from him, "During the period of my administration, not a drop of the blood of a single fellow citizen was shed by the sword of war."

I am also proud that not a single drop of American blood has been shed in war during my own administration. And I pray to God every day that when my years as President are over that I can still share Thomas Jefferson's achievement.

The purpose of America's military forces is not to wage war, but to preserve peace. That's why I believe in military strength as strongly as I believe in peace.

Tom Mcintyre shares these beliefs. For 16 years in the Senate, he worked to make sure this country had the most modern weapons systems in the world. We miss his leadership in Washington. But John Durkin and Norm D'Amours carry on this same great Democratic, New Hampshire tradition.

Our military strength and our national will are clear, and they are well known to all nations. We do not need to prove our strength or our will through rash or reckless military adventures; rather, our military capacity gives us a rare opportunity to lead the world toward peace.

Here in New Hampshire, I promised you a government as good as the people. Some critics dismissed that statement as meaningless campaign rhetoric: How could a government try to be as good as the people? But you understood what I was talking about. Our foreign policy is as good as our people when we speak out for human rights around the world. We have and we will continue to protect human rights as long as I am President.

Our foreign policy is as good as the American people when we fight for freedom and for justice, and we have and we will continue to preserve these ancient American principles.

Our foreign policy is as good as the American people when we work to bring peace not only to ourselves but to ancient enemies. We have and we will continue to work for peace around the world.

We won a victory of this kind when a peace treaty was signed last month between Egypt and Israel. The United States was able to play a crucial role at the critical time to make that possible.

That treaty was not a personal accomplishment, though I was proud and grateful to be part of it. That treaty was a tribute to two courageous leaders, President Sadat and Prime Minister Begin. But it was also a triumph for the moral strength and the leadership of our Nation.

If we can help the nations of the Middle East eventually to work out a lasting peace, it will not be because they trust any particular American President; it will be because they recognize that the American people will always support those who seek freedom and justice and peace.

This is not just for one administration, but from the moment of our birth as a nation, through all times, as long as we call ourselves a free people.

Freedom, peace, and justice are the sources of our true power on which all else must rest. This is what makes America so great.
Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 9:05 p.m. in the Sheraton Wayfarer Hotel Convention Center. In his opening remarks, he referred to former New Hampshire Governor Meldrim Thomson, Christos C. Spirou, house minority leader, Robert F. Preston, senate Democratic leader, Romeo Dorval, New Hampshire Democratic Party chairman, and Dudley Dudley, member of the Governor's Council.

Jimmy Carter, Bedford, New Hampshire Remarks at a State Democratic Party Fundraising Dinner. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/250142

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