The President's Radio Address
Good morning. Today I want to talk to you about what we're doing to put America back to work and to have more good-paying jobs.
When you sent me to Washington, you entrusted me with the responsibility of turning our Nation's economy around and improving the lives of hardworking, middle class Americans, the people who were hit hardest during the recession and the jobless recovery that followed.
So this administration took action, took responsibility. And in the last 13 months, we've worked to change the economic course of our country from recession-weary to healthy and growing. And that began to change the mood of our people, making us more confident again in ourselves and our possibilities.
We had to break gridlock in Congress to get discipline into the budget and to begin bringing down our Nation's deficit. We created a healthier climate for business, leading to more investment and more jobs coming into the economy. We began to level the playing field in global trade, opening up opportunities to sell American products and services around the world. And at the same time, we began to expand access to education and training at home so that more of our people can compete and win in the world economy.
When I took office as your President, I said our goal was to create 8 million jobs in 4 years. Critics said it couldn't be done. But it can if we have the right economic strategy and if we stick with it.
The Department of Labor has just confirmed that in the first 13 months of our administration, the economy has created an additional 2,090,000 jobs, more than 90 percent of them in the private sector, so we're well on our way. In just 13 months, the economy has generated nearly twice as many private sector jobs than the total for the entire previous 4 years.
Of course it's heartening that more people are collecting paychecks and many Americans are personally feeling the economic turn for the better, maybe with a first home or a new car financed at lower interest rates. But still there are too many Americans hurting, without jobs, or people settling for part-time work, many too discouraged to even look for work, and millions and millions of Americans working harder every year for the same or lower wages. I say to those Americans, don't give up. I promise all of you, when it comes to lifting our economy and creating opportunity, we won't let up, not for an instant. When it comes to jobs, we want to create 2 million more in '94. We'll keep building on the firm foundations already set in place.
Last year Congress passed the first phase of our economic plan. It's already had a major impact on the deficit. The 1995 deficit projection has gone down $120 billion, that's 40 percent lower than it was estimated to be when I took office. The next installment of the plan is now before the Congress. It cuts spending in more than 350 nondefense programs, eliminates 100 of them outright. We are keeping faith with our goal to reduce the deficit by $500 billion in 5 years. This is the first serious effort by any recent administration to attack this deficit. And it set the stage for much of the economic progress that's been made.
Because of this progress, because of the lower interest rates, we're in a better position to compete in the world. It's a fact, once again, from agricultural products to technology and services, America is making the products the world wants to buy. Our challenge is gaining access to the markets of our competitors, and we're taking that challenge head-on, too. We've torn down trade barriers with NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, with the worldwide General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade to negotiate open markets everywhere and at our conference with the Asian and Pacific nations where so much of the world's growth is occurring.
In one year, we've done more to open markets than any other recent administration, but where unfair barriers to our exports remain, we still have work to do. So this week, I signed an Executive order reviving a process to open markets called Super 301. It will help us to set priorities for opening markets around the world by identifying those practices, wherever they occur, that erect unfair barriers to American products and to the products of other countries as well. It will help us tailor our responses to these barriers to trade. And this is the payoff: 20,000 jobs for every $1 billion we sell in American exports, jobs that pay, on average, 22 percent more than other American wages. And because these jobs require the most up-to-date skills, we're moving to make our workers the best trained in the world. Next week, with the support of business and labor, we will introduce the "Reemployment Act of 1994" to bring our training programs into the 21st century, replacing the existing unemployment system with a reemployment system, recognizing that most Americans don't get called back to the same jobs they lose, and the average American will change work seven times in a lifetime.
Then later this month, I'll be in Detroit to meet with the ministers of the G-7 nations. The subject will be jobs: How can the wealthy countries create more jobs and make sure our people are trained properly for them?
Let me be clear: Of all the many important responsibilities of this office, putting America to work takes priority. Welfare reform is an important part of this picture, too. And reforming health care goes hand in hand, assuring our people that they need not fear they'll lose their medical coverage when they move from welfare to work or from their old jobs to new ones.
Make no mistake, more than 2 million jobs were created last year because we took responsibility and began to get our economic house in order. Now we have to keep our commitments to reduce the deficit, grow the economy, and create jobs. We can do that by passing this tough new budget, adopting our programs for skills, new jobs, and new opportunities. Thanks for listening.
NOTE: The President spoke at 10:06 a.m. from the Oval Office at the White House.
William J. Clinton, The President's Radio Address Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/219037