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Full Employment and Balanced Growth Bill Statement by the President.

November 14, 1977

In recent months, members of my administration have met on a number of occasions with Senator Humphrey, Congressman Hawkins, and their representatives to discuss the full employment and balanced growth act. I am very pleased that these discussions have reached a fruitful conclusion. The care and time devoted to the discussions were justified by the seriousness of the issues and the need to develop legislation that will command broad support across our Nation and help us achieve our goal of full employment.

The amended full employment and balanced growth act that the administration is now endorsing would accomplish a number of important objectives. It will:

• Establish the commitment of the Federal Government to achieve full employment.

• Establish the commitment of the Federal Government, simultaneously, to achieve reasonable price stability.

• Establish a framework for economic policy decisions. The administration would transmit to the Congress its goals for employment, unemployment, production, and income over a 5-year period. The Congress would have the responsibility to consider these goals and to establish its own goals.

• Establish as the goal for 1983 an overall unemployment rate of 4 percent, with flexibility to modify that goal if necessity requires. This is an ambitious objective and one that may prove very difficult to achieve, but setting our sights high challenges us to do our best.

• Recognize that high unemployment must be fought with a variety of weapons, including special government efforts, but that primary emphasis should be placed on expanding job opportunities in the private sector.

• Recognize that the achievement of full employment and price stability must be sought through the use of monetary and fiscal policies, together with structural measures designed to improve the functioning of the Nation's labor and capital markets--not through government planning or control of private production, wages, and prices.

Title II of the bill sets out considerations to guide the President and the Congress in the event that new programs and appropriations are needed to fight unemployment. This feature of the bill does not authorize such programs, but commends them for use, if necessary, to implement the goals of the legislation.

Title III of the bill sets forth procedures for congressional consideration of the President's goals and policy recommendations. While the specific procedures are for the Congress to determine, it is important, in my judgment, that the Congress in its deliberations on Title III of the bill, establish procedures to integrate its decisions on economic goals with its decisions on the budget.

I would like to thank Senator Humphrey, Congressman Hawkins, and their representatives who have worked diligently and in a spirit of cooperation with me and representatives of my administration to reach agreement on this important legislation. I look forward to working with the Congress to enact this legislation.

Jimmy Carter, Full Employment and Balanced Growth Bill Statement by the President. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/242759

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