Ronald Reagan picture

Radio Address to the Nation on Administration Policies

August 25, 1984

My fellow Americans:

The campaign of 1984 is underway. This campaign is about what it was like 4 years ago and what it's like today. But even more important, it's about the future. I believe our Republican Party is the true party of the future because our vision, ideas, and proposals seek to bring out the best in America by challenging the best in our people. The Great Opportunity Party believes in challenging people to do better. The Democratic leadership still insists on challenging government to grow bigger.

Our vision of a strong, secure future rests on our confidence that Americans can continue making progress toward four specific goals: strong, steady economic growth; developing the frontiers of science, high technology, and space; strengthening our community of shared values; and building an enduring peace.

As a nation, we've already begun meeting the challenges we set forth 4 years ago. I won't rehash all the problems we faced, but from a collapsing economy to weakening defenses, to rising rates of crime and poor educational performance, it was clear that America was in deep trouble. We were being led by a group of pessimists whose ideas had been threadbare for years and they hadn't even noticed. The realities of a changing world had long since passed them by.

We said if America is to be a successful leader in the world again, we must face up to the problems that have dragged us down. And we must begin doing that by trusting the people again. We said that together, we must meet the challenges of reducing the growth of government, bringing down inflation and interest rates, and cutting tax rates to create jobs and get our economy moving again—and America has. We said we must restore America's ability to defend itself and fulfill its responsibilities as a trustee of freedom and peace in the world—and America has.

We met our challenges before, and we can meet them again.

As for our first goal—economic growth-our position is clear. We've seen from the mistakes of the past and from the recent recovery that our economy grows best when earnings flow not to government, but stay with the people and in the economy. That's why we must meet the challenge of simplifying our tax system, making it more fair, easier to understand, so we can bring personal tax rates further down, not up.

With strong economic growth, we'll continue bringing down deficits. We must also control spending, and one tool is a constitutional amendment mandating that government spend no more than government takes in. Another is a line-item veto, so that a President can veto specific spending requests without vetoing an entire appropriations bill. Until the leadership of the Democratic party supports these two long-overdue reforms, they should close their mouths forever about budget deficits.

Our second goal—developing America's next frontiers in science and high technology and into the far reaches of space—will enable us to surge forward on the crest of progress and peaceful change.

We have it within our power to make astonishing advances in technology and medicine, and that will make us a more competitive, successful, and healthy people. Our greatest resources and hope for the future are the minds and hearts of our people.

That's why our third great goal is to help revive America's traditional values: faith, family, neighborhood, work, and freedom. Government has no business enforcing these values, but neither must it seek, as it did in the recent past, to suppress or replace them. That only robbed us of our tiller and sent us adrift.

Helping restore these values will bring new strength, direction, and dignity to our lives and to the life of our nation. It's on these values that we'll best build a future.

Finally, we must continue meeting the challenge of working for a more peaceful world in which individual liberty can flourish. Today we're at peace, and this is good. I've seen four wars in my lifetime. I remember Pope Paul VI saying to the United Nations: "No more war. War never again."

To continue the peace we enjoy, we must show clear support for our allies and exhibit strength and steadiness to those who wish us ill. Setting goals, meeting challenges, striving for excellence are key to the endless possibilities the future holds in store for America. It's not for the Federal Government to set those goals, but we can help challenge Americans to challenge themselves in all areas of their lives and, like our Olympic athletes, to reach for greatness.

I'll be speaking more to you about this in the days ahead. Until next week, thanks for listening, and God bless you.

Note: The President spoke at 12:06 p.m. from Camp David, MD.

Ronald Reagan, Radio Address to the Nation on Administration Policies Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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