Ronald Reagan picture

Radio Address to the Nation on the Presidential Campaign

October 13, 1984

My fellow Americans:

The 1984 campaign is in full swing. And no matter who you are—student, construction worker, farmer, nurse, or high-tech entrepreneur-this election offers you the clearest choice for your future in many years.

The central economic issue in this campaign is growth. Will we have policies that give each of you opportunities to climb higher and push America to challenge the limits of growth, policies like those that in the 22 months have given this nation the strongest economic expansion in 30 years, or will we go back to those failed policies of the Carter-Mondale administration that inflicted unprecedented hardship on our people?

Our vision of strong economic growth is not a pipe dream; it's a living accomplishment. And it can continue to get better, offering new hope for everyone, including all of you who have not yet recovered from the Carter-Mondale past.

We came to Washington with a pledge to make a new beginning by putting more power, earnings, and decisions back in your hands. That's why we passed the first tax rate reduction for everyone since President John Kennedy's program 20 years ago. And it's no coincidence that once those tax cuts took hold, the American economy woke up with a roar from years of economic slumber.

Think about this success, because you're the ones who made it happen and who can and must keep it going. Twenty-two straight months of economic expansion and yet inflation is only one-third what it was when my opponent was in office. Six hundred thousand new business incorporations last year—an all-time record. Over 6 million new jobs created; in fact, more jobs created on average each month than were created in all the Common Market countries combined during the last 10 years.

But we can't and won't be satisfied until every American who wants a job can find a job, until inflation is down to 0.0 and interest rates have been brought down more, until the farm community has fully recovered from the legacy of record interest rates, inflation, and the grain embargo—and until we modernize and make our older industries more competitive with new technologies. In other words, all of us have made great progress, but even greater challenges lie ahead.

We want to go forward with exciting new opportunities to help America challenge the limits of growth—for example, an historic simplification of our tax system, making the entire system more fair and easier to understand so we can bring yours and everybody's personal tax rates further down, not up.

My opponent has a very different vision-a gloomy vision of weakness that doesn't look to you with confidence or challenge you to dream great dreams and make America grow, but that places its trust in bigger government. We must ask ourselves one question: What has he ever done or said to suggest, let alone convince us, that his vision can do anything but fail?

The record is clear. In his administration, the only things that went up were inflation, interest rates, and taxes, while everything else—investment, productivity, earnings, savings, confidence, optimism, and growth—all fell apart.

Then, when we came along, he predicted our tax reduction would be, murderously inflationary. That was just before inflation dropped dramatically. He said there was no hope of recovery. Then economic recovery began. He said recovery would be anemic at best. That was before the strongest economic expansion in 30 years. Now he says the deficit cannot be brought down without new tax increases. And at this very moment, the deficit is coming down without new tax increases.

My opponent puts government first, which is why his policies fail and his predictions are wrong. We trust in you, and that spells success through economic growth. Nor has he learned from his mistakes. He has proposed to raise taxes by $85 billion. In fact, he would have to raise taxes the equivalent of $1,890 per household to pay for his promises.

And just this past week he began to reveal the rest of his plan. He said he would repeal indexing, the reform we passed to keep you from being taxed when inflation pushes you into higher and higher tax brackets. Now he says he goofed. Well-whatever. We do know he has a basic two part plan: raise you taxes, and then raise them again.

Asking you to buy his failed policies is a little like someone expecting you to go to a used-car lot to buy back the lemon you got rid of 4 years ago. But you don't have to. You can stick with leadership that's working; leadership that trusts in you and offers growth and opportunity so all of us can go forward together to build a better American future.

Until next week, thanks for listening. God bless you.

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

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

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