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Remarks at a Fundraising Reception for Senator Orrin G. Hatch of Utah

June 17, 1987

Senator Hatch, I thank you and Senator Boschwitz and the lovely lady who is with us here on the platform and ladies and gentlemen. Let me begin by thanking each of you—you've been thanked already, but I want to, too—for being here in support of an individual who is one of the most responsible and hard-working Members of the United States Senate, a man of deep principle whom I admire and whom I back 100 percent for reelection, Senator Orrin Hatch.

Mark Twain once told a group of young people: "Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest." Well, I don't know any elected official who has gratified and astonished more people than Orrin. He lives right, thinks right, and votes right, and he cares deeply about the people who sent him to Washington, and he's been working overtime on their behalf. Let me add that I have personal reasons to be grateful to the people of Utah. In 1984 they gave me a higher percentage of support than I received from any other State. We share the same western approach to life and liberty. We believe in limited government and unlimited opportunity, in low taxes and high growth, and we believe in a strong and prosperous America. And that's why the people of Utah elected Orrin Hatch, and that's why they're going to reelect him in 1988.

When he got to Washington, Orrin Hatch didn't forget the folks back home. He didn't forget his ideals and convictions, and he didn't forget the value of hard work and high standards. As chairman of the Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources, he held the line on Federal spending, sent block-grant programs to the States where they could be more efficiently managed, and made certain maximum benefit was received for every dollar spent. Under his firm leadership, the amount of money going into programs overseen by his committee has been reduced impressively. Let me just say that if every Member of the Senate were like Orrin Hatch, we'd be arguing over how to deal with a Federal surplus. And that's why I like to think of Orrin as "Mr. Balanced Budget." How about that, Orrin? [Laughter]

But clearly, all of his colleagues are not as responsible as the man that we honor today. I made a speech a while ago comparing their spending habits to those of drunken sailors. And then a number of my staff members told me that that was unfair to drunken sailors— [laughter] —because they at least were doing it with their own money. [Laughter] Seriously though, it's clear that Congress is incapable of coming to grips with the challenge of deficit spending. It is time for structural change, for a line-item veto, and for a balanced budget amendment. Eighty-five percent of the American people say they want just that-think of that, a balanced budget amendment. Senator Hatch is one of the Senate's most articulate advocates of a balanced budget amendment. It's an idea whose time has come. It's an idea that was first thought of by Thomas Jefferson. He said it was the greatest omission in the Constitution that the government was not denied the right to borrow. Well, let's make old Tom happy. [Laughter]

The opposition, of course, claims that there's an easy way out: raising taxes. Orrin, I know you agree with this: Raising taxes to bring down deficit spending is kamikaze economics. Raising tax rates, when all is said and done, would leave our government with less, not more, revenue. It would crash into our economy, sink growth and job creation, and lower the tax base. We could end up with the worst of all worlds: higher taxes, higher deficits, higher unemployment, and economic decline. And all of that that I've just described was true before we reduced taxes. With the help of courageous and responsible elected officials like Orrin Hatch, we're not going to let the liberals do that to America again. One would think that the advocates of tax, tax, spend, spend learned a lesson from the near catastrophe that they brought on our country in the 1970's. Big government, huge bureaucracies, and central planning aren't the solutions; they are the problem.

I heard a story recently about a country that runs its economy that way. I am a collector of stories that I can establish are actually told by the people of the Soviet Union among themselves. And this one has to do with the fact that in the Soviet Union, if you want to buy an automobile there is a 10-year wait. And you have to put the money down 10 years before you get the car. So, there was a young fellow there that had finally made it, and he was going through all the bureaus and agencies that he had to go through, and signing all the papers, and finally got to that last agency where they put the stamp on it. And then he gave them his money, and they said, "Come back in 10 years and get your car." [Laughter] And he said, "Morning or afternoon?" [Laughter] And the man that had put the stamp on says, "Well, wait a minute," he says, "we're talking about 10 years from now. What difference does it make?" He said, "The plumber is coming in the morning." [Laughter]

It's becoming more evident every day that collectivism is a dismal failure. Nowhere is that more clear than in Berlin, a bastion of freedom that I visited last week. The wall there divides a city, as you know, and imprisons a population. It's a monument to a repressive, stagnant system that today remains a force in the world only because of its military might and its power to subjugate and destroy.

The United States has been strong enough to deter aggression and maintain the peace, in no small degree due to the efforts of Orrin Hatch. He's been a champion of those who fight for freedom in Afghanistan, Nicaragua, Angola, and other Third World countries. He's been a strong voice for America and for preparedness. He's been a representative the people of Utah can be proud of. He's a dear friend and a talented public servant who's there when you need him. If I could ask the people of Utah, my fellow westerners, one last favor, to stand with me one last time, it would be in support of Orrin Hatch's reelection to the United States Senate.

Now, there's one thing I learned from "President" Dewey— [laughter] —was that you never count your votes before you have them. I've never taken Orrin Hatch for granted, and I would just hope that all of my fellow Republican friends in Utah never do that either. I know, Orrin, that you'll be running hard in this race, as you always have, presenting one of the best records in the United States Senate. And I thank you all for making certain that we keep him where he can do the most good for Utah and America. Keep him here in the United States Senate.
Orrin, good luck, and God bless you.

Note: The President spoke at 7:40 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom at the Sheraton Grand Hotel. In his opening remarks, he referred to Senator Rudolph E. Boschwitz of Minnesota and Helen K. Hatch. Prior to the reception, the President attended a fund-raising dinner for Senator Hatch.

Ronald Reagan, Remarks at a Fundraising Reception for Senator Orrin G. Hatch of Utah Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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