Jimmy Carter photo

Buffalo, New York Remarks at the Greater Buffalo International Airport.

October 28, 1978

Governor Carey, Senator Moynihan, Congressman LaFalce, Congressman Nowak, National Democratic Chairman John White, Chairman of Erie County, Joe Crangle, Mayor Griffin, and my good friends who gave me a strong support when I was running for President and have given me a warm welcome this morning in spite of the cold weather:

I'm glad to be back with you. Thank you very much.

I know how difficult it can be to be an incumbent President or Governor in these days. I'm sure New Yorkers will know what I mean when I told the political Democratic rally in Maryland not long ago that just since Camp David, Americans have been waving at me with all five fingers. [Laughter]

And I think it's the same way with Hugh Carey, who came into office facing tremendous problems for New York State. You needed a man with courage, who was not afraid to tell the truth, even though sometimes it was 'not politically popular. You needed a man who was honest even when it hurt. You needed a man who thought taxes were too high. And for the first time in many, many years since I can remember, in New York State taxes are on the way down. Hugh Carey has reduced income taxes $1.3 billion.

I think the most serious problem that I saw in New York State when I campaigned here in 1975, 1976, was the economy, jobs. Everywhere I went, people would tell me, "My father—my uncle-my son—my wife—cannot get a job." Since Hugh Carey has been your Governor, the unemployment rate in New York State and here in Erie County, as well, has dropped 35 percent. It's still on the way down, thanks to this man.

When I was Governor of Georgia, 25 percent of my time was spent with economic development, bringing in new industry, new jobs, strengthening those that were there. Hugh Carey has been very successful in doing this. And the thing I like about his administration is that he's had a well-balanced emphasis between New York City, which was in desperate trouble—and he's gotten it out of trouble-and upstate New York.

The community development program that used to provide Buffalo, for instance, with $8 million, will now provide you $24 million. Hugh Carey knows the Congress. He can work with Hank and John and Pat to make sure that your voice is heard clearly and strongly in Washington.

One of the things that had been dragging out for years and years was social security claims. And since Hugh Carey has been Governor, New York has now been awarded from the Federal Government in back claims $214 million. That's money that was going to come out of your pockets; now it's paid back to you because you deserve it.

Hugh's very generous, too. One of the things that causes him political problems is he's not the kind of politician who runs forward and says, "I did this; I did that; I claim credit for the good works that you have seen." He was very generous in giving me and Midge Costanza and my son Chip credit for moving rapidly to deal with the serious problem of the blizzard in Buffalo. But Hugh Carey was a man who called me on the phone immediately and said, "Mr. President, we need some help." And because I knew him and trusted him, and I knew his good relationship with your congressional delegation, with your mayor, your Erie County chairman, I was sure that he spoke for the people. And so I sent Chip up here, and we dealt with the blizzard problem.

Love Canal was a problem I didn't understand. I was not here living with the contamination problem. But Hugh Carey, with his sensitivity, jumped on it right away. And I have to tell you that he's done a lot more at the State level than I and my people have done at the Federal level. And I want to express my thanks to him for dealing with your problem.

If you can get wet, so can I. 1 [Laughter] I just want to mention a couple of other things, because I want to be brief. I don't want you to get wet any more than you have to.

1 It had begun to rain, and the President declined the use of an umbrella.

We are now trying to deal with inflation. It's my biggest single domestic problem. One of the things that I want to be sure the Congress does next year is to pass a hospital cost containment bill, because hospital costs have been going up in this country. Hospital costs have been going up twice as fast as the inflation rate. But Hugh Carey, with his dynamic leadership, has passed the best hospital cost containment bill in the Nation, and I hope to get just half as good a bill through the Congress next year as Hugh Carey has already gotten for you here in New York State.

The taxpayers of New York State are enjoying the lowest Medicaid cost of all 50 States—the lowest of all 50 States. That's quite an achievement. Hugh, I have admiration and thanks for what you've achieved.

Let me say that he needs your help. He's got a tough, hard race, as was the case with myself when I started running for President. He started out as an underdog, because he was dealing with thankless problems. And as I said before, he's the kind of person—you noticed in his introduction to me, did not claim credit for anything. But he's got a tough race on his hands. And I hope you'll recognize that he's a sound leader knowing local, State, and Federal Government; that can work with Hank, that can work with John, that can work with Pat, that can work with me, and give you a better life in a great State in the years ahead. Help him on November 7. He and I together will help you the next few years. I won't say how many. [Laughter]

Recently, the world was thrilled by the selection of a great new Polish Pope. Maybe you heard about it here in Buffalo. [Laughter] I had very limited authority to appoint a delegation to go to Rome. You can imagine how many thousands of people wanted to go, and there could only be a tiny group. But I looked around the leadership of Congress to try to pick people that I thought were representative of the great Italian Americans and the great Polish Americans of our country. And it didn't take me long to decide that John LaFalce and Henry Nowak ought to be the ones to represent me.

As you know, in the selection of a Pope, when a Pole won, you couldn't also have an Italian at the same time. But you are lucky here in the Niagara frontier to have a good Pole and a good Italian American to serve you in Congress. That makes a great combination that can't be beat. And I might say with Pat and Hugh, you've also got some winning Irishmen to make out a ticket very well. [Laughter]

I don't believe that any new Senator has ever arrived in Washington and made a greater, more beneficial impact for his people back home than Pat Moynihan has done. As you know, he is eloquent. He is courageous. He is dynamic. And when he speaks, people listen. He has analyzed, in the most definitive way, how Federal laws ought to be changed to make the allocation of your tax money back to you more fair. He's been to see me many times about this. And when he speaks, the southern Members of Congress, those from the Sun Belt, say, "Well, I think it's fair to give more public works money, more transportation money, more welfare money, more education money, more highway money to those areas like Buffalo, like New York, which have in the past been deprived."

I have a great admiration for Pat Moynihan. He's a sound man, a good man, an inspirational man. And not only is he superb in domestic affairs, but he has that rare combination of being very knowledgeable in international affairs as well. And I hope you'll keep him in the Senate as long as he wants to stay, because he makes a good partner for us to serve you better.

Pat, I want to express my thanks to you.

Just a word about my own administration. And I can be much briefer about this. [Laughter]

When I came into the White House about 21 months ago, we had 10 million Americans who couldn't find a full-time job. Seven million had no jobs at all. We've cut the unemployment rate already 25 percent. We've added 6 1/2 million net new jobs. We've cut the unemployment rate, the unemployment numbers, 1 1/2 million.

We've given better services to our people, stronger defense, better highways, better education. We've tried to give what people need, because I spent 2 years learning what our Nation hungered for. At the same time, we've cut taxes. Last year we cut your income taxes $8 billion. And with Pat's help this year, we've evolved a tax bill that will cut your income taxes about $20 billion more.

It's not been easy. It's not been easy to give better services, a stronger defense, revise our programs to benefit you and cut taxes at the same time.

There's one other thing that bothers me, though, and that's the Federal deficit. When I was running for President in 1976, the Federal Government deficit was more than $66 billion. We've already cut it down over $25 billion. And by the end of next year, we will have cut the Federal budget deficit more than half.

We are working on it some more. And my goal is still to balance the Federal budget. If you'll help me, I believe we'll be able to do it.

We've reorganized the Government. This week I signed an ethics bill, passed by the Congress, that requires all major public officials—Presidents, Vice Presidents, Cabinet members, all the Members of Congress, the Federal judges—to reveal to you every year what their net worth is, what their income is, where it comes from, just to make sure we remove all temptation for Federal Government officials to perform illegally or to betray your trust in them.

We have reorganized the Federal Government. We've tried to bring some order into the civil service system. In over 95 years, 'nobody had tackled the civil service system. We've got fine, decent, even self-sacrificial public servants. They want to do a good job. But they couldn't do it, because the bureaucracy had them constrained. You'd have two people sitting side by side at adjacent desks, one of them competent, eager, hard-working, conscientious; the other one either incompetent or lazy. They got the same recognition, the same salary, the same promotions. And you could imagine how this affects civil servants.

So, we passed a reform bill, first time, as I said, in 95 years. Now that good employee will be rewarded, and the other employee will either be inspired to do better or be transferred or fired. And we also are going to make managers manage.

The most serious problem that I have other than the security of our Nation is inflation. I'm determined to keep Federal spending down. I'm determined to keep the bureaucracy efficient. I'm determined to encourage State and local governments to join in with me to get the Congress to pass legislation like the hospital cost containment bill that didn't pass this year.

I'm determined to inspire employers to hold their prices down and workers, knowing that prices are going to be held down, to restrain their wage demands. I need your help in doing this. It's not going to be easy. It's not going to be quick. But it's vitally important that we succeed.

One thing we are trying to do is to get the Government's nose out of the people's business. I believe in the free enterprise system. I believe in the free enterprise system, but too long, the regulatory agencies, that were designed originally to protect consumers, have been cheating consumers and protecting the very corporations that are so powerful that they were supposed to regulate.

We've tried a good experiment this year. With the Congress help, we've worked on the airline industry. We have deregulated the airline industry. Rates went down. Passengers and goods hauled went way up. Profits went up as well. And that's just the kind of thing we're going to do in the future to other industries.

So, if you will help me, we'll control inflation together, and that'll solve the last major domestic issue we have. It'll also provide more jobs in the process. Will you help me with that? [Applause] Right on. I thank you.

And now I'd like to close by saying this: On international affairs, of course, this is a unique responsibility of a President, to keep our Nation strong. Militarily, we're the strongest nation on Earth. We're going to stay there. We are going to stay there, because, through strength, we can use our influence, which is tremendous, around the world, not only to keep peace for our own people but to give peace to others.

We're negotiating now a SALT agreement with the Soviet Union to cut down the threat of nuclear weapons destroying us all. The Congress passed a very good bill this year, nonproliferation, it's called, to prevent nations that don't have atomic explosives from ever having them.

We're working in Africa to try to bring peace there instead of bloodshed. And I'm very thankful that since I've been President, not a single American has shed blood in any foreign conflict, and I hope to keep that record until I go out of office.

We have become the champions of human rights. We are not scorned and despised as we formerly were. The United States has become an object of admiration. And we had some success, as you know, at Camp David recently.

We are moving toward peace in the Middle East. It's slow, it's tedious, it's not sure. We still need your encouragement. We still need your prayers.

We've had trouble in recent hours with the Israeli settlements issue on the West Bank. The Egyptians had decided to withdraw their negotiators. I contacted President Sadat last night and said, "Leave your negotiators in Washington." He sent me word this morning, "I'11 do what my friend Jimmy Carter asked me." They're going to stay there and negotiate.

But we've still got a lot of problems in our country. But I'd like to ask you, in closing, not to forget about the strength of our country. Every day there are some things about which you can complain, a little aberration in the normal progress of our great Nation. But God's really blessed us. He's given us the strongest nation on Earth, the most freedom that anybody can have, a chance to use our talents as we see fit, economic blessings of all kinds, rich land, and great influence around the world.

And if you will help me and keep a Democratic team together that's strong and forceful, depending on you for our authority and our incumbency, we'll make the greatest nation on Earth in the future even greater.

Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 10:45 a.m.

Jimmy Carter, Buffalo, New York Remarks at the Greater Buffalo International Airport. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/243665

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