Ronald Reagan picture

Remarks at the Dictaphone Corporation Employee Appreciation Day Picnic in Melbourne, Florida

June 22, 1987

The President. Thank you all very much, and I want to give special thanks to Mark Breslawsky and Cliff Peterson for inviting me down here for this tour. It's a pleasure to be in the district of Congressman Bill Nelson and the State of Bob Martinez, a rising star in the Republican Party of whom we're all very proud. And I'm especially happy to be here, because I hear that Dictaphone is celebrating its 100th anniversary next year, and I'm always glad to be addressing something that's older than I am. [Laughter] Speaking of venerable institutions, Cliff introduced me to an employee named Evelyn Boot, who is 72 years old and has been working here since a year after the plant opened. And I just want to say congratulations, Evelyn. I've got a few years on you— [laughter] —I'm a little older than that myself. But you have one advantage: My job has a mandatory retirement clause. [Laughter]

You know, back before I got my present job, I worked on a television program for 8 years that was called the "GE Theatre"-"General Electric Theatre." And I would spend about 10 or 12 weeks every year, as part of the job, traveling around the country and visiting the workers in the some 139 GE plants. And I saw then, as I've seen here today, the real source of economic growth and productivity. It won't be found in government or in some bureaucracy. It's America's workers and entrepreneurs and companies like yours that are making it happen. And boy, is it happening! America has created over 13 million new jobs in the last 4 1/2 years. That's an average of 250,000 jobs a month, and that's an astounding fact. Meanwhile, America's manufacturing productivity is shooting ahead at the fastest rate in 20 years, and in 1986 we outstripped our international competition. Together with tax cuts and solid economic growth, that means rising take-home pay for America's families.

The Europeans talk enviously of what they call—to my face they have called it the American miracle. Well, I've seen an example of that miracle here today: a company where the entire staff has worked together as a team to create an impressive 70-percent increase in productivity in the last 4 years. Harnessing the latest technology, you've kept product costs down, boosted sales at home, and stayed competitive abroad; and in the process, this plant has been able to literally double its manufacturing jobs. Doubling employment, surging productivity, increasing competitiveness, a team spirit and shared goals—you've got a miracle of your own going right here and something that you can all be very proud of. But this miracle—all you've worked so hard to accomplish, all America has worked so hard to accomplish in the last 6 1/2 years-all of this is now in jeopardy. I've got something to say, and I'm going to use plain language. I'm not going to pull any punches. There are some people up in Washington who seem determined to destroy our economic expansion and send us right back into the "malaise," as they called it themselves then, and the "stagflation" of the 1970's.

There are two dangers looming ahead. One is the trade bill passed by the House recently. It can only be described as antijobs, antigrowth, and anticonsumer. And the Senate will soon be taking up their own trade legislation. It's essential they go the positive route with a bill that opens markets rather than shutting them down, a bill that is projobs, progrowth, proconsumer—in a word, protrade. The second danger confronting us will sound familiar: that old-time deficit spending. Some in the Congress are reverting to their old habits of tax and tax and spend and spend, and I have one Member of the Congress with me who's not one of those I'm just talking about. He's on the other side—our side. Those others are squandering your hard-earned money on politically motivated spending projects and special interest payoffs. And to pay for it, they're proposing to saddle you, the American people, with a bill for an extra $100 billion in taxes over the next 4 years.

Well, I say: No way! No way are the American people going to be made to foot the bill for the tax-and-spend crew on Capitol Hill. Now, I have to tell you, some in Congress are standing against this tax tide. When I visited the Republican Senators last week, they gave me a giant veto pencil especially designed to take care of tax hikes. I'm keeping that pencil at the ready in my desk, and believe me, any tax hike bill that makes it into the Oval Office won't make it out alive. So, the tax-and-spend crew might as well just face the facts: There isn't going to be any tax hike in this administration. What there is going to be is a Capitol Hill cleanup, a radical reform of the budgetary politics that pays for today's excesses with tomorrow's money.

That so-called budget process has become an embarrassment to the American way of governing. You wouldn't put up with it in your plant here for a minute and a half. Last week I addressed the American people and said we have to put a stop to this kind of thing. We've reached breakpoint, decision time, and that's why I've come to you, the American people. I'm asking for your support to put pressure on Congress to bring the reliability and credibility to the Federal budget process. Just as we did with tax reform, we're going to be traveling the country, stumping for fairness for the American people. We got the special interests out of the tax code; now let's get them out of the budget. Let's demand an economic bill of rights so that congressional taxing and spending can never again endanger our livelihoods. Let's ensure your right to a free economy, an economy of growth and opportunity for you, your children, and your children's children. Let's make sure that miracles like the one taking place right here will keep happening across America, creating jobs and hope and a better future for all of us.

Now, what can you do? Well, you can write letters. You'd be surprised how important they are. Bill Nelson can tell you how important they are. Now, to some, you should be writing letters telling them to get off the dime and do what they should be doing. But it wouldn't hurt if you wrote some letters of "thank you" to your Congressman here, because he is doing what's right and trying to help all of you. And it won't hurt his colleagues to see that kind of mail coming to someone who is doing what's right. But I'm not going to take anymore of your time here. I've got another date moving on from here to talk to some others in your city. But I just want to tell you again how wonderful this has been to see you all here, and to see what you've been doing.

Audience member. We love you! [Laughter]

The President. I love all of you. And thank you, and God bless you.

Note: The President spoke at noon outside the plant. In his opening remarks, he referred to Mark Breslawsky, president, and Clifford Peterson, vice president for operations, of the Dictaphone Corp., Congressman Bill Nelson, and Gov. Robert Martinez. Prior to his remarks, the President toured the plant's assembly line.

Ronald Reagan, Remarks at the Dictaphone Corporation Employee Appreciation Day Picnic in Melbourne, Florida Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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