Gerald R. Ford photo

Remarks in Salt Lake City, Utah.

November 02, 1974

Jake Garn, Senator Wallace Bennett, my good friend, Steve Harmsen, Ron Inkley:

It is wonderful to be here in this wonderful, just tremendous basketball arena and to be on the campus of the University of Utah, and to you, President David Gardner, I thank you very, very much.

I am delighted that Jake Garn did not mention too much about my career as a football player. I played at the University of Michigan so far back--it was back when the ball was round--and after winning the national championship for my first 2 years, my senior year we won one and lost seven. And at the end of the season, my teammates voted me the most valuable player. I don't know what they were trying to tell me. [Laughter]

But I am particularly pleased to be in Utah, because I have been here many, many times. I have skied at Alta, Park City, Snow Basin. I hope to come out again and ski at Snow Bird.

I like people from Utah. Some of our closest and best friends come from your great State.

Let me express my deep appreciation to the Kearns High School band as well as to the Davis High School band. The music that was played by both was wonderful, stirring, the kind of music that I like.

You know, music usually provides us with great beauty, but sometimes it provides us with the truth as well.

Last week, I went back to my hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan, and we had a big night rally in an arena at Calvin College, much like this one. As I came into the building, I heard the master of ceremonies ask the band for just one more selection, something that would be appropriate for the President of the United States.

So, they played "Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen." [Laughter]

But I do express my gratitude for the warm and very friendly welcome, and I cannot think of one trouble I could ever have in the State of Utah. You are the kind of people I like and enjoy.

It convinces me that when I agreed to come to visit Utah today, this is one Ford who really did have a better idea.

And let me congratulate you--because I know them, I have met them, I have worked with them--on the exceptional slate of Republican candidates that you have here in Utah. I have seen a lot, and they are among the very best. And I look forward to working with them next year in Washington, D.C.

I have seen a lot of mayors. I worked with a great many Senators. And it is my honest judgment and recommendation that the country, the State, all of you as well as myself, need Jake Garn in the United States Senate.

I never got that kind of an accolade when I was running for the House of Representatives in my own district. So, lake, you are doing very well, and for good and sufficient reasons.

But I am a product, as all of you know, of the House of Representatives, and I am proud of the 25-plus

years that I served with 435 other Members on both sides of the aisle. So, I know a little bit about the kind of Members of the House that will do a good job, and I can recommend to you Steve Harmsen for his youth, his vigor, his organized approach to the problems that he will face on your behalf.

I strongly recommend Steve to be returned and sent to Washington on your behalf.

And although my contact with Ron has not been as extensive, I am impressed with a fine, strong, able young man. Good luck to you, Ron.

There is one particular area where Jake Garn and I wholeheartedly agree-and this really ought not to be a partisan issue, because there are as many Democratic mayors in this country as there are Republican mayors who have the same thoughts, the same beliefs--that decentralization of the Federal Government would make our system work far, far better. And therefore, in my opinion, there is no more urgent need or item, if I might say, of long-range, national business before us to day. We must cut the power. We must trim the size of the bureaucracy in Washington. It would be good for the country.

I should add that I have ordered a cut of 40,000 in the bureaucracy, in the Federal bureaucracy, and we are going to achieve that end. It will save us about $300 million in 1 year, but it will make the system work better just as well.

There is only one real way that we are going to solve some of these difficult problems that we face as fellow citizens in this country. We must communicate more effectively with one another. And frankly, that is why I am here in Utah. I can learn much more about the needs and the desires of the citizens of Utah in 1 hour's worth of conversation with men like Jake Garn, your great senior Senator, Wallace Bennett, than I could learn in 8 months back in the Oval Office talking to Potomac bureaucrats about the problems of Utah.

Frankly, that is precisely the problem with an overgrown, all-political bureaucracy. There is no two-way communication. Each State and locality in this Nation has its own needs, its own priorities, and the priorities of Salt Lake are different than those of Miami, and the ones of Seattle are quite different from those of Baltimore.

So, these unique, these unusual needs and priorities cannot be understood and dealt with from a very, very remote vantage point in the Nation's Capital.

The day is past, in my honest judgment, when an octopus-like Government in the Nation's Capital can stretch its tentacles across the Nation and literally squeeze into itself more and more power.

In my judgment, we have to chop off those tentacles, and as each of those tentacles wither, we have to return the power and the revenue that they have grasped back to the States and to the local communities where they honestly belong--back to the taxpayers, the local taxpayers who made the funds available in the first place.

As we carry out this decentralization process, it is absolutely essential that we have men in Washington who can tell us precisely what their constituents want and how they want it done.

And that is why, without any hesitation, reservation, or qualification, I urge you to send Jake Garn to the United States Senate.

As a local official, Jake has a unique and firsthand knowledge of what the people of Utah really want. As a Senator, he will be able to put that knowledge to use, firsthand.

Now, one of my primary goals as President is to return governmental control to the American people, and I need Jake in Washington to help me achieve and realize that very important goal.

It will not be an easy job. I am not standing here trying to kid you. It is never easy to dismantle a rickety structure that has been reinforced in a patchwork way for decades. If you knock out the wrong section, the whole thing could or is liable to fall and hurt a lot of innocent people.

We do not want that. But the job has to be done. For too long, politicians have operated on the principle that you can bring heaven to Earth by piling Federal programs like layer cake and frosting them with Federal money. It won't and it has not worked.

The result or the consequence has been a huge, cumbersome, totally unresponsive central government that increasingly threatens to assert control over nearly every aspect of our personal lives.

The intentions of the people who have helped build the Federal layer cake are noble ones. I do not challenge their motives or their intentions. They actually, sincerely believe that if the Government ministers to every need and to every concern that it has among all the 213 million citizens, those citizens will be happier and will be better off. But let me make a critical, crucial point. What they really forget, and what millions of Americans are now remembering, is that a government big enough to give us everything we want is a government big enough to take from us everything we have.

But what they forget, and what millions of Americans are now remembering, is that in the end, no government can make us better and happier people if it takes from us that one essential ingredient for happiness, our individual freedom.

The lesson of the past few decades has been a basic one. We cannot spend our way into happiness. But we can spend ourselves into debt, and we can spend our Nation's strength straight into raging inflation.

That is why, in these past few weeks, I have been speaking out for realistic, fiscally responsible Congressional candidates.

Inflation is our Nation's public enemy number one, and one way to beat inflation most effectively is to keep the lid on Federal spending. That is why I urge you to send to the Congress an inflation-proof Congress next Tuesday.

If the people who wish to spend and spend--and they can be called big spenders--win heavily on November 5, we are in danger of electing a veto-proof Congress, rather than an inflation-proof Congress. I think you want an inflation-proof Congress, not a veto-proof Congress.

Such a Congress threatened, or unrestrained by a threat of a Presidential veto, would spend the dome right off our Nation's Capitol. Our Nation, in this very challenging world, simply cannot afford a veto-proof Congress controlled by those that want to spend all of your money and much more, too.

Big spending got our economy into the trouble it is experiencing today, and now we are threatened with a Congress whose prescription is more spending.

I do not think it makes much sense. It is my judgment that the immediate medicine our economy needs is a good strong dose of fiscal discipline. And frankly, that is why I am asking voters all across this Nation, all across the political spectrum--Democrats, Independents, and Republicans--to vote as inflation fighters rather than as political partisans.

I pledge to do everything possible in my power to hold down excessive spending from the Federal Treasury, and I ask you to send men and women to Washington, men like Jake Garn, who---I know from his record, his experience, his knowledge--will help me in this vitally important task.

I don't stand here and kid you that it is an easy task. There is no easy cure for the inflationary illness that infects our economy, and I do not think it makes you any happier for me to be able to say that our inflationary rates, our increases in the cost of living are less than those in Japan or Great Britain or any one of a number of other countries; that does not help us do something about the problem.

But we have to understand that it takes patience, it takes hard work, it takes strength of character, and it takes a little time, unfortunately.

It will also require some short-term sacrifices to serve our long-term national interest. As I said in my 31-point program to Congress, which is aimed at controlling inflation and stabilizing and strengthening our economy and also calling upon people to help us in the conservation of energy, in the building of greater energy potential--in the 31-point program that I submitted to the Congress were suggestions by individual citizens who might participate in the battle against inflation so that we as a country, 213 million of us, can share that burden equally.

Each of us must make a little sacrifice so that none will suffer. And as you know, the sacrifice that all of us make, I think, will make it better for everybody.

Now, one important recommendation in my inflation-fighting and energysaving program, one of the 31 proposals that I made was to tighten up and to increase the penalties for antitrust and price-fixing action.

That legislation has been lying dormant in the House Committee on the Judiciary. I think it is legitimate to ask every member of that committee why haven't they acted.

If we can do something about price fixing, if we can do something about the antitrust action--and let me illustrate what I recommended: that we increase the penalties for violations from $50,000 to $1 million--and nothing has happened in the Congress or in the Committee on the Judiciary.

You may remember that I recently made a speech to the Future Farmers of America in which I attempted to outline some specific ways in which all Americans could pitch into the fight against inflation.

But as I prepared these remarks for this wonderful audience in Utah and as I thought about your wonderful way of life in this tremendous State, it occurred to me that perhaps what I was suggesting in the speech to the Future Farmers of America was not really sacrifice at all. Perhaps I was just suggesting that my fellow Americans return to those good, sound, basic values of self-sufficiency, thrift, and self-reliance.

Those are the values, combined with a belief in God and a love of family, that built this great State of Utah.

Fortunately, those are the same fundamental values that made America great. Yes, I have asked Americans to save. I have asked them to budget. I have asked them to economize. I have asked them to guard their health. And I have asked them to cut out waste--and that includes the Ford family as well.

As I prepared these remarks, I realized that what I have been suggesting to millions and millions of Americans was simply accepted practice in the State of Utah. So, there is really no need for me to preach about those old basic values to all of you, for your daily lives in Utah are shaped by those wonderful values that I respect and admire.

But I do want you to know that by living those values, you are a source of inspiration to all Americans, including myself. And I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for proving to all of us that old values are alive and well and working.

And I can also tell you that Wallace Bennett has done an inspiring job. And when Wallace leaves, we will miss Frances just as well. She has been great in every, every way possible.

I just told Wallace that he may leave the Senate, but we are going to make use of him someplace. Anybody that is as strong and as good and dedicated as Wallace--America needs him, and we are going to take advantage of him.

I know, because our careers started relatively the same time. Here was a man, a giant of the Senate: strong, a stainless moral leader, and a tireless champion of fiscal responsibility.

We all hate to see him go, but our prayers and our very, very best wishes will be with him and Frances as they come home again to their beloved Utah. And with people like Wallace Bennett and Jake Garn and people like all of you to serve as examples. I am more and more confident than ever that we can bring our economy back to full and lasting health.

And perhaps in the process of doing so, perhaps as we do cut away frills and nonessentials, we will rediscover something valuable about ourselves that some of us may, unfortunately, have forgotten.

You understand very precisely here in Utah what those basic values are. Now it is time to get out and to preach them to our fellow Americans in the other 49 States. Now is the time to apply them to the war against inflation.

Let us let the first shot in that war come out of the ballot box next Tuesday, and let it be a shot heard around the country and around the world.

Cast your vote for the party that will, with a cooperative Congress, reestablish stability in our economy and common sense and good direction to our government. Cast your vote for the men who will be a part of a strong, responsive, responsible, inflation-proof Congress.

We need them now, much more than ever. As one TV commentator put it recently, and let me quote him: I am looking for a Congress that will praise the Lord and pass the legislation.

Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 12:05 p.m. at the University of Utah Special Events Center. In his opening remarks, the President referred to Stephen Harmsen, Republican candidate in the Second Congressional District of Utah, and Ronald W. Inkley, Republican candidate in the First Congressional District.

Gerald R. Ford, Remarks in Salt Lake City, Utah. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/256714

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