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Exchange With Reporters on the Economic Program

May 20, 1993

Q. Mr. President, can you talk to us?

Q. Can you accept Senator Boren's entitlement cuts?

Q. What's your reaction to Senator Boren's compromise with Danforth?

The President. Well, my first reaction was that it was a huge shift in lowering taxes on people with incomes above $100,000 and hurting people, both elderly people and working people just barely above the poverty line. It's basically a $40 billion shift away from wealthy Americans right onto people just above the poverty line, the elderly and the working poor. So I don't support that. I think that's a mistake.

Q. Would you rule out that kind of compromise to get rid of the energy tax?

The President. I think that that is not a good thing to do if you read the details of it. Obviously, the main purpose of some of them is to do away with the Btu tax, but the mechanics shift over $40 billion away from people with incomes above $135,000 down to elderly and working people just barely above the poverty line. I don't think that's good. There is also another provision which, if it's implemented in the way they propose, would continue to shift health care costs onto private citizens and private employers, which would hurt the economy and hurt jobs. So those are the two things which concern me.

Otherwise, I'm glad to have people talking and coming up with new ideas. But those are bad things.

Q. [Inaudible]—have you essentially heard enough—

The President. I can just tell you what—I've given you my answer. Look, we had 12 years where we made this economy more unequal and unfair. And to move $40 billion off of upper income people to people barely above the poverty line, it seems to me, is not a good way to go.

NOTE: The exchange began at 12:50 p.m. on the South Lawn at the White House. A tape was not available for verification of the content of this exchange.

William J. Clinton, Exchange With Reporters on the Economic Program Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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