Ronald Reagan picture

Remarks at a Reagan-Bush Rally in Greenville, South Carolina

October 15, 1984

The President. Thank you very much.

Audience. 4 more years! 4 more years! 4 more years!

The President. All right. All right, you talked me into it.

Well, thank you, Carroll Campbell. I know how much you think about him down here, but would you mind kind of letting him live in Washington for a couple of more years? We'd like that very much. And Dr. Thomas Barton, a Clemson Tiger; Mayor Bill Workman, and Senator Strom Thurmond.

I appreciate this chance to be with you today and to see firsthand your innovative and creative method of building a better future. I've just been in there and been treated to some of the wonders that are to be found in these buildings here.

President Dwight Eisenhower once wrote, "The future will not belong—or will belong not to the faint-hearted, but to those who believe in it and prepare for it." And that's what this campus is all about.

All over America, people like you are making investments in new technology and precision training. And as Americans, working together as never before, we are seeing to it that the United States will not come in second.

I think our competitors in the world are in for an unpleasant surprise. Given the proper training, the tools and equipment, we can outproduce, outcompete, and outsell the pants off anyone, anytime, anywhere in the world.

I'm impressed with what I've seen here, especially the Advanced Machine Tool Resource Center. I'm aware of the extraordinary cooperation among the various levels of government and between the public and private sectors. What you're doing is part of the new spirit of enterprise that's sweeping this country. And it's in stark contrast to the pessimism and stagflation of just 4 years ago.

The American people rejected the politics of doom and gloom. In 1980 they voted for a fundamental change of direction, and that's exactly what we've given them. Instead of centralizing more and more power in Washington and taking an increasingly bigger tax bite out of working people's paychecks, we've returned to the people control of their own destinies. We've reversed the power flow.

And the difference between us and our opponents is a very basic one. When it comes down to a choice between expanding the power of government or keeping that power in the hands of the people, you side with government—or they side with government, but we will always side with you, the people.

And you haven't let us down. You built an economic recovery that's astounded the experts, especially those so-called experts quoted by my opponent. All we did was get the Government out of your way. They were wrong when they said it wouldn't work. We have high growth and low inflation now. Over 6 million new jobs have been created in the last 21 months. And even more important than the good economic news of today, we're laying the foundation of a happier and more prosperous tomorrow.

Productivity, after being in the doldrums for years, has come on strong for 2 years straight. Capital investment in new machinery and equipment has outpaced all expectations. These are omens for even brighter days ahead, for long-term economic expansion.

Now, my opponent wants to save us from prosperity. [Laughter] He'd do that by increasing your tax load the equivalent of $1,890 per household in the United States.

We worked it out on a computer.

Audience. Boo-o-o!

The President. His insistence on higher tax rates is like playing Russian roulette with our economic security, only in the game the way he plays it, every chamber in the gun would be loaded. [Laughter] His program of high taxes sugarcoated with compassionate rhetoric is a disaster in disguise that will destroy our economic expansion, increase unemployment, and reignite inflation.

We don't need a policy of higher taxes; we need a policy of higher growth. And we don't need more power for government; we need more opportunity for people.

Now, he talked about me and taxes and what he says I'm going to do. Well, I'll tell you what we want to do. We want to simplify the tax system, make it more fair and easier to understand. When you hear that Albert Einstein said that he couldn't understand the Form 1040, you know our tax system is a little complicated. So, we want to do this to bring down yours and everybody's income tax rates further down, not up.

But my opponent even wants to eliminate indexing. That means that he wants you to be pushed by inflation into higher and higher tax brackets, to have less and less take-home pay. Now, we passed indexing-it goes into effect on January lst—and the idea of it, of course, was to prevent a cost-of-living pay raise, in the days of inflation, that's supposed to make you keep even with inflation—to keep that from pushing you into a higher tax bracket where you pay a higher percentage of tax, and thus you're worse off, you haven't kept even at all. And it's a nice way, of course, in which the Congress can have a continuing tax increase without having to go through the unhappiness of introducing one for legislation and voting on it.

Supporters of economy-killing tax increases claim they're necessary to decrease the deficit. But at the same time, they're poised and ready to turn on the Federal spending spigot, which we've spent so much time turning off. With the strong support of individuals like your own Congressman Carroll Campbell, we have cut the rate of growth in Federal spending by over 60 percent. When we came here it was 17 percent a year. That was the increase. It's now down to 6.1 percent.

But Carroll is a strong voice for responsible government, and I hope you're doing everything you can to send him back to Washington. And while we're talking about responsible government, let's make certain that South Carolina reelects a man who's a giant in that cause—Senator Strom Thurmond. We need elected officials like Congressmen Campbell, Hartnett, and Spence, who have the vision and leadership to offer better options to the American people than simply raising taxes.

There are those so entangled in their promises to special interest groups they can't see a better future, much less plan for it. Well, this was never more clear than when my opponent strenuously opposed the space shuttle program. He led the opposition in the Senate in trying to kill us from having such a program. And then, just up until Saturday, we had those young people—men and women—those heroes, up there going around this country of ours. While I was going across Ohio on a train, they were going around the world about six or seven times. And the things that are coming out of that have made it worth every penny that it has cost—the additions, the improvements for our health, the medicines, the materials that are being developed.

Well, he opposed that when it was first proposed. He would have spent the money beefing up some bureaucratic programs in Washington, DC.

How many of you have seen one of those shuttles blast off into space or glide in for a smooth landing? I'm sure on television you've seen it, if not in reality. It is a magnificent sight, and it's a tribute to America's technological greatness. It's been worth, as I say, every cent.

Now, today there is a phenomenon that many of the pollsters can't understand, and I see it everywhere I go, and I see it here today. Young people from every background have rejected the politics of pessimism and are foursquare behind a strong, vibrant, and growing America.

And I want to thank all of you young people who are here with us today. We're working to see that when you get out of school, you have the same opportunity that Americans have always had in this country.

You know, a few years ago there were people around that were telling you, no, you know, we had to accept limits, that we weren't ever going to have things as good as they had been in the past. Well, they were blowing smoke. I have told, wherever I've gone—because all over the country today, at gatherings like this, I have seen so many young people. And I'm so proud and happy to see them there because I like telling you that my generation and a few generations between mine and yours— [laughter] —there were those of us that knew, just took for granted when we were your age that there was no limit to how high we could go, no limit on what we could do if we were willing to reach for it and go for it.

And what I'm determined this election is all about is to make sure that we hand you, when it comes your turn, the same kind of America that our parents handed us. We want you to have the same opportunity. We want you to have a real job when you finish your schooling, not just make-work or some temporary government job, but solid employment. We want to make certain that you have enough take-home pay and that prices and interest rates are reasonable enough so that someday, when you're ready, you'll be able to buy or build your own home.

Due to runaway inflation and the dramatic jump in interest rates under the last administration, millions of Americans found home ownership beyond their reach, and other millions found that the installment paying, the interest in buying a car was too high. And so, two great industries, housing and the automobile industry, ground to a halt.

Well, inflation is under control, and the record high 21 1/2-percent prime rate that we inherited has come down. Until today, it had come down to 12 3/4 percent, and I don't know whether you've heard the news, but today one of the major banks in our country has just dropped it down another half point to 12 1/4 percent. And we expect even more progress on this front.

The average monthly mortgage rate payment has come down $143, putting 5 million more Americans in reach of buying their own homes. Now, I don't think it's selfish of you to want a good job or to own a home or to have a decent standard of living. You deserve that kind of future, and we aren't going to let our opponents tax it away.

Audience. 4 more years! 4 more years! 4 more years!

The President. Thank you. All right.

Audience. 4 more years! 4 more years! 4 more years!

The President. All right, thank you. Thank you very much. And while I'm doing that, let me just interject something here in this particular locale that I want to say.

I know the great importance of one particular industry to this area—textiles. And we have been working, and we are going to continue to work, with your elected Representatives, your Senator, your Members of the House in Washington. We've done some things; we'll continue to do more to see that we help you resolve the problems that have beset that industry.

I'm proud of the steps—

Audience. 4 more years, Reagan! 4 more years, Reagan! 4 more years, Reagan!

The President. All right. All right, I'll tell Nancy to unpack. [Laughter]

Well, I'm proud of the steps that we've taken to keep our country free and secure. During the last decade, and during the previous administration, our military strength was permitted to erode. But I think you here in South Carolina understand what too many in Washington have forgotten: Strength is the only true path to peace.

We've got an air base out on the west coast there, and at the entrance to that air base, above it, it tells the whole story. And it says, "Our profession is peace."

We've begun rebuilding America's defenses, and as long as I'm President, I will never shortchange the national security needs of the United States.

But now we're on a two-track course. And the other track is we've gone the extra mile to reach arms reduction agreements with the Soviet Union, and we'll continue to do so. But from now on, the United States will be negotiating from a position of strength.

The commanders of our military forces tell me that we have the finest and most dedicated group of young men and women serving in uniform in our Armed Forces than we've ever had in our history. You know, during the last administration, morale sank to a new low point. And many of those serving our country got the feeling that sacrifice, their sacrifice, was being taken for granted. I can promise you this: Those brave people in our Armed Forces will never doubt our unending gratitude for the job that they're doing.

And, you know, I like to suggest this: I hope if you, and especially you students, if you see your counterparts, those young people that are in uniform, down on the street sometime, that you'll maybe just go up and stick out your hand and tell them how proud we are and how thankful we are for their service to America. You'll feel real great after you've done it, and I know how they'll feel. They'll be walking about 3 or 4 inches taller than they were.

But looking out here today and thinking about all the young people I've met around the country, I think America has great days ahead. Charles Lindbergh wrote, "Short-time [short-term] survival may depend on the knowledge of nuclear physicists and the performance of supersonic aircraft, but long-term survival depends alone on the character of man."

As America heads into a new age of technology we have every reason to be confident that it will be an era of opportunity and freedom. The heart of America still burns bright with those values that made this a blessed land of liberty, the greatest and freest nation in our history. And with all of us together, we're going to keep it that way.

Today the United States is the leader of the world in so many ways. A great cleric, Pope Paul—or Pius XII, after World War II, made a statement when so much of the world was devastated and the future looked so bleak for everyone, and then he said a profound truth. He said, "The American people have a great genius for great and unselfish deeds. Into the hands of America God has placed an afflicted mankind." I don't think there's anyone in America that would turn their backs on that challenge and that opportunity to serve mankind.

Well, I just want to thank you all very much and tell you that, if you don't mind, I'd like to stick around for 4 more years. God bless you. Thank you.

Note: The President spoke at 6 p.m. at the Allied Health Building on the Greenville Technical College campus.

Following his remarks, the President returned to Washington, DC.

Ronald Reagan, Remarks at a Reagan-Bush Rally in Greenville, South Carolina Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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