CLINTON UNVEILS NATIONAL ECONOMIC STRATEGY TO PUT PEOPLE FIRST June 21, 1992 Governor Bill
CLINTON UNVEILS NATIONAL ECONOMIC STRATEGY TO PUT PEOPLE FIRST
June 21, 1992
Governor Bill Clinton today unveiled a "National Economic
Strategy for America" that will create economic growth and put
Americans back to work while halving the federal deficit.
Clinton will take his plan directly to the people by
introducing it to undecided voters during a televised town hall
meeting broadcast on WSB-TV Atlanta and several other stations.
"My strategy puts people first by investing more than $50
billion dollars each year over the next four years to put America
back to work -- the most dramatic economic growth program since
World War II," Clinton said.
"These investments will create millions of high-wage jobs
and provide tax relief to working families," he added.
Clinton's National Economic Strategy also outlines plans to
provide lifetime learning opportunities, ensure affordable health
care coverage for every American, increase the number of
community police, and help move people from welfare to work.
To pay for these investments and reduce the national
deficit, the Clinton strategy outlines nearly $300 billion in savings over
the next four years. These savings would be generated by cutting
wasteful government spending, forcing the very wealthy to pay
their fair share of taxes, closing corporate tax loopholes, and
implementing rigorous health care cost controls.
These savings will reduce the size of the federal deficit by
half over the next four years, reversing the trend of the last
four years in which the deficit has doubled.
The strategy also presents a plan for government and
political reform that includes: eliminating 100,000 unnecessary positions
in the Federal bureaucracy, closing the revolving door through which
senior government officials become lobbyists, and sweeping
campaign finance reform.
"Millions of hard-working Americans struggle to make ends
meet while their government no longer fights for their values or their
interests," Clinton said. "This betrayal of democracy must stop."
Highlights of Clinton's National Economic Strategy include:
-- Putting America to work by rebuilding our
country, converting from a defense to a
peacetime economy, revitalizing our cities,
encouraging private investment and opening up
-- Rewarding work and families by providing
tax fairness to working families, ending
welfare as we know it, providing family leave
and cracking down on deadbeat parents.
-- Supporting lifetime learning by bringing
parents and children together, improving
schools, training high school graduates,
retraining workers, and offering every
American the chance to borrow money for
college and serve our nation in return.
-- Providing quality affordable health care by
radically controlling costs, reducing
paperwork, phasing in universal access to
basic medical coverage and cracking down on
drug manufacturers and insurance companies.
-- Revolutionizing government by cutting
100,000 unnecessary Federal positions,
eliminating wasteful spending, stopping the
revolving door from public office to private
lobbying, limiting special interests and
reforming campaign financing and practices.
"No American will agree with all the details of my plan,"
Clinton said, "But you have a right to know what I'll do and
where I stand."
Clinton plans to elaborate on his strategy in major speeches
to the annual U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting Monday, June
22nd, in Houston, Texas, and the National Association of Manufacturers
in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, June 24th.
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Text of the plan follows:
PUTTING PEOPLE FIRST
A NATIONAL ECONOMIC STRATEGY FOR AMERICA
Governor Bill Clinton
June 21, 1992
During the 1980s, our government betrayed the values that make
America great: providing opportunity, taking responsibility, rewarding
work. While the rich got richer, the forgotten middle class - the
people who work hard and play by the rules - took it on the chin. They
paid higher taxes to a government that gave them little in return.
Washington failed to put people first.
No wonder our nation has compiled its worst economic record in
Our political system isn't working either. Washington is
dominated by powerful interests and an entrenched bureaucracy.
Americans are tired of blame. They are ready for a leader willing to
My national economic strategy puts people first by investing
more than $50 billion each year for the next four years while cutting
the deficit in half. These investments will create millions of
high-wage jobs and help America compete in the global economy. They
* Putting America to work by rebuilding our country,
converting from a defense to a peacetime economy, revitalizing our
cities, encouraging private investment, and opening up world markets.
* Rewarding work by providing tax fairness to working
families, ending welfare as we know it, providing family leave and
cracking down on deadbeat parents.
* Supporting lifetime learning by bringing parents and
children together, improving schools, training high school graduates,
offering every American the chance to borrow money to go to college
and serve our nation, and retraining workers.
* Providing quality, affordable health care by
radically controlling costs, reducing paperwork, phasing in universal
access to basic medical coverage, and cracking down on drug
manufacturers and insurance companies.
* Revolutionizing government by cutting 100,000
federal jobs, eliminating wasteful spending, limiting special
interests, stopping the revolving door from public office to private
lobbying, and reforming campaign finance and practices.
To pay for these investments and reduce our national deficit,
I will save nearly $300 billion by cutting spending, closing corporate
tax loopholes, forcing the very wealthy to pay their fair share of
taxes, and implementing rigorous health care cost control. My plan
will cut the deficit in half within four years, and assurethat the
deficit continues to fall each year after that.
PUTTING PEOPLE FIRST
It's time to put people first.
That is the core of my national economic strategy for America.
And that will be the fundamental idea that guides my Presidency.
America is the greatest nation on earth. But for more than a
decade this country has been rigged in favor of the rich and special
interests. While the very wealthiest Americans get richer,
middle-class Americans pay more to their government and get less in
return. Our government has betrayed the values that make us great -
providing opportunity, taking responsibility and rewarding hard work.
For twelve years, the driving idea behind American economic
policy has been cutting taxes on the richest individuals and
corporations, and hoping that their new wealth would "trickle down" to
the rest of us.
This policy has failed.
The Republicans in Washington have compiled the worst
economic record in fifty years: the slowest economic growth, slowest
job growth, and slowest income growth since the Great Depression.
During the 1980s the wealthiest one percent of Americans got 70
percent of the gains. By the end of the decade, American CEOs were
paying themselves 100 times more than their workers. Washington stood
by while quick-buck artists brought down the Savings and Loan
industry, leaving the rest of us with a $500 billion bill.
While the rich cashed in, the forgotten middle class - the
people who work hard and play by the rules - took it on the chin. They
worked harder for lower incomes and paid higher taxes to a government
that failed to produce what we need: good jobs in a growing economy,
world-class education, affordable health care, and safe streets and
neighborhoods. The working poor had the door of opportunity slammed in
Ten years ago, Americans earned higher wages than anyone else
in the world. Now we're tenth, and falling. In Europe and Japan our
competitors' economies grew three and four times faster than ours -
because their leaders decided to invest in their people and our
government did not.
In the emerging global economy, everything is mobile: capital,
factories, even entire industries. The only resource that's really
rooted in a nation - and the ultimate source of all its wealth - is
its people. The only way America can compete and win in the 21st
Century is to have the best educated, best trained workforce in the
world, linked together by transportation and communication networks
second to none.
I believe in free enterprise and the power of market forces. I
know economic growth will be the best jobs program we'll ever have.
But economic growth does not come without a national economic strategy
to invest in people and meet the competition. Today we have no
economic vision, no economic leadership and no economic strategy.
Our political system has failed us, too. Washington is
dominated by powerful interests and an entrenched bureaucracy. Too
many public officials enter the revolving door and emerge as
high-priced influence peddlers. Too often those we elect to lead seem
to respond more quickly to special interests than to the real problems
of real people.
No wonder all of us have had enough. Our government doesn't
work. People who pay the bills but get little value for their dollar
have no voice in Washington. They are tired of hearing politicians
blame each other. They are eager for someone to take responsibility
and ready for a leader who will challenge all of us to be Americans
The strategy outlined in the pages that follow is not
all-inclusive. There are many other crucial challenges that await the
next President: healing the divisions that threaten our society,
restoring law and order to our streets and communities, protecting a
woman's right to choose, launching a war on AIDS, leading the world in
protecting our environment, and securing our interests and human
rights around the globe.
But we will reach our goals only if we focus on our country's
greatest resource. That is why putting people first is the heart and
soul of my national economic strategy - and the key to the American
My strategy puts people first by investing more than $50
billion each year over the next four years to put America back to work
- the most dramatic economic growth program since World War II. My
strategy recognizes that the only way to lay the foundation for
renewed American prosperity is to spur both public and private
investment. To reclaim the future, we must strive to close both the
budget deficit and the investment gap.
These investments will create millions of high-wage jobs and
provide tax relief to working families. They will also help move
people from welfare to work, provide lifetime learning, and ensure
affordable health care coverage for every citizen.
To pay for these investments and reduce our national deficit,
I will save nearly $300 billion by cutting spending, closing corporate
tax loopholes, requiring the very wealthy to pay their fair share of
taxes, and implementing rigorous health care cost controls. My plan
will cut the deficit in half within four years, and assure that the
deficit continues to fall each year after that.
No American will agree with all the details of my plan. But
you have a right to know what I'll do and where I stand.
PUTTING AMERICA TO WORK
Putting people first demands, above all, that we put America
back to work.
For the last twelve years Washington has penalized hard work
and sold out American families. As the recession sends working
families into poverty, the Republicans throw up their hands instead of
rolling up their sleeves.
The results have been devastating. Record numbers of Americans
are unemployed and millions more must settle for insecure, low-wage,
no-benefit jobs. Small businesses - which create most of the new jobs
in this country - are starved for capital and credit. Washington
continues to grant tax deductions for outrageous executive pay and
reward American corporations who move their plants and jobs overseas.
The corrupt do-nothing values of the 1980s must never mislead
us again. Never again should the government reward those who
speculate in paper, instead of those who put people first. Never again
should we sit idly by while the plight of hard-working Americans is
ignored. Never again should we pass on our debts to our children while
their futures slide silently through our fingers.
My national economic strategy will reward the people who work
hard: creating new jobs, starting new businesses and investing in our
people and our plants here at home. To restore economic growth, we
need to help free enterprise flourish, put our people back to work and
learn again how to compete. My plan would:
* Shut the door on the "something for nothing" decade by:
- Making the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share
- Ending tax breaks for American companies that shut
down their plants here and ship American jobs overseas;
- Eliminating deductions for outrageous executive pay;
- Cracking down on foreign companies that prosper here
and manipulate tax laws to their advantage.
* Rebuild America. The 1980s saw the concrete foundations of
the United States crumble as the investment gap widened between
America and our global competitors. By the decade's end, Japan and
Germany were investing more than 12 times what we spend on roads,
bridges, sewers and the information networks and technologies of the
future. No wonder they threaten to surpass America in manufacturing
by 1996. No wonder we are slipping behind.
To create millions of high-wage jobs and smooth our transition
from a defense- to a commercial-based economy, we will rebuild America
and develop the world's best communication, transportation and
environmental systems. As a prominent part of our commitment to put
people first, we will create a Rebuild America Fund, with a $20
billion Federal investment in each year for four years, leveraged with
state, local, private sector and pension fund contributions. User fees
such as road tolls and solid waste disposal charges will help
guarantee these investments.
Just as construction of interstate highways in the 1950s
ushered in two decades of unparalleled growth, creating the concrete
foundations of the 21st century will help put Americans back to work
and spur economic growth. States and localities will be responsible
for project development and management. The creation of large
predictable markets will stimulate private industry to invest in these
new markets and create new high-wage, value-added jobs.
We will focus on four critical areas:
-Transportation, including renovation of our country's roads,
bridges and railroads; creation of a high-speed rail network linking
our major cities and commercial hubs; development of "smart" highway
technology to expand the capacity, speed and efficiency of our major
roadways; and development of high- tech short-haul aircraft.
- A national information network to link every home,
business, lab, classroom and library by the year 2015. To expand
access to information, we will put public records, databases,
libraries and educational materials on line for public use.
- Environmental technology to create the world's most
advanced systems to recycle, treat toxic waste and clean our air and
water. Funds will also be directed to the development of new, clean,
efficient energy sources.
- Defense conversion to ensure that the communities
and millions of talented workers that won the Cold War don't get left
out in the cold. Many of the skills and technologies required to
rebuild America are similar to those now used in our defense
industries. We will encourage companies that bid on projects to
rebuild America to contract work to, or purchase, existing defense
facilities; order the Pentagon to conduct a national defense jobs
inventory to assist displaced workers; and provide special conversion
loans and grants to small business defense contractors.
* Investing in communities. While America's greatest cities
fall into disrepair, the Republicans in Washington continue to ignore
their fate. Private enterprise has abandoned our cities, leaving our
young people with few job prospects and declining hopes. To restore
urban economic vitality and bring back high-paying jobs to our cities,
- Target funding and Community Development Block
Grants to rebuild America's urban roads, bridges, water and sewage
treatment plants and low-income housing stock, stressing "ready to go"
projects. Require companies that bid on these projects to set up a
portion of their operations in low-income neighborhoods and employ
- Create a nationwide network of community development
banks to provide small loans to low-income entrepreneurs and
homeowners in the inner cities. These banks will also provide advice
and assistance to entrepreneurs, invest in affordable housing, and
help mobilize private lenders.
- Fight crime by putting 100,000 new police officers
on the streets. We will create a National Police Corps and offer
unemployed veterans and active military personnel a chance to become
law enforcement officers here at home. We will also expand community
policing, fund more drug treatment, and establish community boot camps
to discipline first-time non-violent offenders.
- Create urban enterprise zones in stagnant inner
cities, but only for companies willing to take responsibility.
Business taxes and federal regulations will be minimized to provide
incentives to set up shop. In return, companies will have to make
jobs for local residents a top priority.
- Ease the credit crunch in our inner cities by
passing a more progressive Community Reinvestment Act to prevent
"redlining" and require financial institutions to invest in their
* Encouraging private investment in America. Ten years ago,
the United States spent about $400 more per person than Japan in
capital investment. Today the Japanese invest more than twice as much
in their nation as we do. We must either change directions or continue
To help American business create new jobs and compete in the
global economy, we must dramatically increase private investment. My
- Provide a targetted investment tax credit to
encourage investment in the new plants and productive equipment here
at home that we need to compete in the global economy.
- Help small businesses and entrepreneurs by offering
a 50 percent tax exclusion to those who take risks by making longterm
investments in new businesses.
- Make permanent the research and development tax
credit to reward companies that invest in groundbreaking technologies.
- Create a civilian research and development agency to
bring together businesses and universities to develop cutting-edge
products and technologies. This agency will increase our commercial
research and development spending, and focus its effort in crucial new
industries such as biotechnology, robotics, high-speed computing, and
* Opening up world markets. Because every $1 billion in
expanded American exports will create 20,000 to 30,000 new jobs, we
will move aggressively to open foreign markets to quality American
goods and services. We will urge our trading partners in Europe and
the Pacific Rim to abandon unfair trade subsidies in key sectors like
ship building and aerospace - and act swiftly if they fail to respond.
- Pass a stronger, sharper "Super 301" trade bill. If
other nations refuse to play by our trade rules, we'll play by theirs.
- Seek more open markets for American products by
negotiating a free trade agreement with Mexico that ensures a more
level playing field and protects basic worker rights and environmental
- Create an Economic Security Council, similar in
status to the National Security Council, with responsibility for
coordinating America's international economic policy.
- Reform the office of the U.S. Trade Representative
by issuing an executive order banning trade negotiators from cashing
in on their positions by serving as representatives of foreign
corporations or governments. We must transform this office into a
corps of trade experts whose primary aim is to serve their country,
not sell out for lucrative lobbying paychecks from foreign
REWARDING WORK AND FAMILIES
Putting our people first means honoring and rewarding those
who work hard and play by the rules. It means recognizing that
government doesn't raise children - people do. It means that we must
reward work, demand responsibility and end welfare as we know it.
The Republicans who run the federal government have abandoned
working families. Millions of Americans are running harder and harder
just to stay in place. While taxes fall and incomes rise for those at
the top of the totem pole, middle- class families pay more and earn
less. Wages are flat, good jobs have become scarce and poverty has
exploded. Health care costs have skyrocketed, and millions have seen
their health benefits disappear.
Today almost one of every five people who works full time
doesn't earn enough to support his or her family above the poverty
line. Deadbeat parents owe $25 billion in unpaid child support, and
have left millions of single-parent families in poverty.
In the 1980s the Republicans once again used welfare as a
wedge to divide Americans against each other. They silently hacked
away at the programs that keep disadvantaged children healthy and
prepare them for school. They talked about "family values," but
increased the burden on American families.
My national economic strategy will strengthen families and
empower all Americans to work. It will break the cycle of dependency
and end welfare as we know it. It includes:
* Expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit. To ensure that no
one with a family who works full-time has to raise their children in
poverty, we will expand the Earned Income Tax Credit to make up the
difference between a family's earnings and the poverty level. The
credit would also be expanded for part-time workers, giving them a
greater incentive to work.
* Middle class tax fairness. Virtually ever industrialized
nation recognizes the importance of strong families in its tax code;
we should, too. We will lower the tax burden on middle class Americans
by forcing the rich to pay their fare share. Middle class taxpayers
will have a choice between a children's tax credit or a significant
reduction in their income tax rate.
* Welfare-to-work. We will scrap the current welfare system
and make welfare a second chance, not a way of life. We will empower
people on welfare with the education, training and child care they
need for up to two years so they can break the cycle of dependency.
After that, those who can work will have to go to work, either by
taking a job in the private sector or through community service.
* Family and medical leave. Parents should not have to choose
between the job they need and the family they love. I will immediately
sign into law the Family and Medical Leave Act. This bill will give
American workers the right to take 12 weeks of unpaid leave in order
to care for a newborn child or sick family members - a right enjoyed
by workers in every other advanced industrial nation.
* Child support enforcement. We will crack down on deadbeat
parents by reporting them to credit agencies, so they can't borrow
money for themselves when they're not taking care of their children.
We'll use the Internal Revenue Service to collect child support, start
a national deadbeat databank, and make it a felony to cross state
lines to avoid paying support.
Putting people first demands a revolution in lifetime
learning, a concerted effort to invest in the collective talents of
our people. Education today is more than the key to climbing the
ladder of opportunity. It is an imperative for our nation. Our
economic life is on the line.
Government fails when our schools fail. For four years we have
heard much talk about "the Education President" but seen no action by
government to close the gaps between what our people can achieve and
what we ask of them. Washington shows little concern as people pay
more and get less for what matters most to them: educating their
Millions of our children go to school unprepared to learn. The
Republicans in Washington have promised - but never delivered - full
funding of Head Start, a proven success that gives disadvantaged
children a chance to get ahead. And while the states move forward with
innovative ways to bring parents and children together, Washington
fails to insist on responsibility from parents, teachers, students -
The 1980s witnessed the emergence of immense education gaps
between America and the world, and among our own people. Test scores
went down while violence in the schools went up. Too many children did
bullet drills instead of fire drills, and too many teachers were
assaulted. High school graduates who chose not to go to college saw
their incomes drop by 20 percent. While college tuition and living
costs skyrocketed, the Republicans tried to slash assistance for
middle class families. By the decade's end, nearly one of every two
college students was dropping out, most because they simply could no
longer afford it.
In an era when what you earn depends on what you learn,
education too often stops at the schoolhouse door. While our global
competitors invest in their people, American companies spend seven of
every ten dollars set aside for employee training on those at the top
of the corporate ladder. Top executives float on golden parachutes to
a cushy life while hard-working Americans are grounded without the
skills they need.
My national economic strategy for America will invest in our
people at every stage of their lives. It will put children first by
dramatically improving the way parents prepare their children for
school, giving students the chance to train for jobs or pay for
college, and providing workers with the training and retraining they
need to compete in tomorrow's economy.
The main elements include:
* Parents and Children Together. We will inspire parents to
take responsibility, and empower them with the knowledge they need to
help their children enter school ready to learn. As we do in my state,
we will help disadvantaged parents work with their children to build
an ethic of learning at home that benefits both parent and child. We
will fully fund programs that save us several dollars for every one we
spend - Head Start, the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program, and
other critical initiatives recommended by the National Commission on
* Dramatically improve K-12 education. We will overhaul
America's public schools to insure that every child has a chance for a
world-class education. We will establish tough standards and a
national examination system in core subjects like math and science,
level the playing field for disadvantaged students, and reduce class
sizes. We will give every parent the right to choose the public school
his or her child attends, as we have done in Arkansas. In return, we
will demand that parents work with their children to keep them in
school, off drugs and headed toward graduation.
* Safe Schools Initiative. We will provide funds for
violence-ridden schools to hire security personnel and purchase metal
detectors. We will help cities and states use community policing to
put more police officers on the streets in high- crime areas where
schools are located.
* Youth Opportunity Corps. To help teenagers who drop out of
school, we will help communities open centers that give dropouts a
second chance. Teenagers will be matched with adults who care about
them, and given a chance to develop self-discipline and skills.
* National Apprenticeship Program. As President, I will bring
business and education leaders together to develop a national
apprenticeship system that offers non-college bound students training
in a valuable skill, with the promise of a good job when they
* National Service Trust Fund. To give every American the
right to borrow money for college, we will scrap the existing student
loan program and establish a National Service Trust Fund. Those who
borrow from the fund will be able to choose how to repay the balance:
either as a small percentage of their earnings over time, or by
serving their communities for one or two years doing work their
country needs as teachers, law enforcement officers, health care
workers, or peer counselors helping kids stay off drugs and in school.
* Worker retraining. We will require every employer to spend
1.5 percent of payroll for continuing education and training, and make
them provide the training to all workers, not just executives.
Workers will be able to choose advanced skills training, the chance to
earn a high school diploma, or the opportunity to learn to read. And
we will streamline existing programs by combining the confusing array
of publicly-funded training schemes.
QUALITY, AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE FOR ALL
The American health care system costs too much and does not
work. Instead of putting people first, the government in Washington
has favored the insurance companies, drug manufacturers, and health
care bureaucracies. We cannot build the economy of tomorrow until we
guarantee every American the right to quality, affordable health care.
Washington has ignored the needs of middle-class families and
let health care costs soar out of control. American drug companies
have raised their prices three times faster than the rate of
inflation, forcing American consumers to pay up to six times more than
Canadians or Europeans for the same drugs. Insurance companies
routinely deny coverage to consumers with "pre- existing conditions"
and waste billions on bureaucracy and administration. Twelve years ago
Americans spent $249 billion on health care. This year we'll spend
more than $800 billion.
Health care costs are now the number one cause of bankruptcy
and labor disputes. They threaten our ability to compete, adding $700
to the cost of every car made in America. Our complex system chokes
consumers and providers with paper, requiring the average doctor to
spend 80 hours a month on paperwork. It invites fraud and abuse. We
spend more on health care than any nation on earth and don't get our
Our people still live in fear. Today almost 60 million
Americans have inadequate health insurance - or none at all. Every
year working men and women are forced to pay more while their
employers cover less. Small businesses are caught between going broke
and doing right by their employees. Infants die at rates that exceed
countries blessed with far fewer resources. Across our nation older
Americans live in fear that they will fall ill - and lose everything
or bankrupt their children's dreams trying to pay for the care they
America has the potential to provide the world's best, most
advanced and cost-effective health care. What we need are leaders who
are willing to take on the insurance companies, the drug companies,
and the health care bureaucracies and bring health care costs down.
My health care plan is simple in concept but revolutionary in
scope. First, we will move to radically control costs, by changing
incentives, reducing paperwork and cracking down on drug and insurance
company practices. As costs drop, we will phase in guaranteed
universal access - through employer or public programs - to basic
medical coverage. Companies will be required to insure their
employees, with federal assistance in the early years to help them
meet their obligations. Health care providers will finally have
incentives to reduce costs and improve quality for consumers. American
health care will make sense.
My plan will put people first by guaranteeing quality,
affordable health care. No American will go without health care but,
in return, everyone who can must share the cost of their care. The
main elements include:
* National spending caps. The cost of health care must not be
allowed to rise faster than the average American's income. I will
scrap the Health Care Financing Administration and replace it with a
health standards board - made up of consumers, providers, business,
labor and government - that will establish annual health budget
targets and outline a core benefits package.
* Universal coverage. Affordable, quality health care will be
a right, not a privilege. Under my plan, employers and employees will
either purchase private insurance or opt to buy into a high-quality
public program. Every American not covered by an employer will receive
the core benefits package set by the health standards board.
* Managed care networks. Consumers will be able to select from
among a variety of local health networks, made up of insurers,
hospitals, clinics and doctors. The networks will receive a fixed
amount of money for each consumer, giving them the necessary incentive
to control costs.
* Eliminate drug price gouging. To protect American consumers
and bring down prescription drug prices, I will eliminate tax breaks
for drug companies that raise their prices faster than Americans'
* Take on the insurance industry. To stand up to the powerful
insurance lobby and stop consumers from paying billions in
administrative waste, we need to streamline the industry. My health
plan will institute a single claim form and ban underwriting practices
that waste billions to discover which patients are bad risks. Any
insurance company that wants to do business will have to take all
comers and charge every business in a community the same rate. No
company will be able to deny coverage to individuals with pre-existing
* Fight bureaucracy and billing fraud. To control costs and
trim the "paper hospital," my plan will replace expensive billing,
coding and utilization review functions with a simplified, streamlined
billing system. Everyone will carry "smart cards" coded with his or
her personal medical information. I will also crack down on billing
fraud and remove incentives that invite abuse.
* Core benefits package. Every American will be guaranteed a
basic health benefits package that includes ambulatory physician care,
inpatient hospital care, prescription drugs, and basic mental health.
The package will allow consumers to choose where to receive care and
include expanded preventive treatments such as pre-natal care,
mammograms and routine health screenings. We'll provide more services
to the elderly and the disabled by expanding Medicare to include more
* Equal costs. All businesses, regardless of size, will pay a
set amount per person they employ. This system, known as "community
rating," will protect small businesses and spread the risk evenly
among all companies.
A REVOLUTION IN GOVERNMENT
We cannot put people first and create jobs and economic growth
without a revolution in government. We must take away power from the
entrenched bureaucracies and special interests that dominate
We can no longer afford to pay more - and get less - from our
government. The answer for every problem cannot always be another
program or more money. It is time to radically change the way
government operates - to shift from top-down bureaucracy to
entrepreneurial government that empowers citizens and communities to
change our country from the bottom up. We must reward the people and
ideas that work and get rid of those that don't.
It's long past time to clean up Washington. The last twelve
years were nothing less than an extended hunting season for
high-priced lobbyists and Washington influence peddlers. On streets
where statesmen once strolled, a never- ending stream of money now
changes hands - tying the hands of those elected to lead.
Millions of hard-working Americans struggle to make ends meet
while their government no longer fights for their values or their
interests. Washington deregulated the Savings and Loan industry and
then tried to hide when it collapsed, leaving taxpayers to foot the
bill. Political action committees and other special interests funnel
more than $2.5 million every week to Congress, giving incumbents a
12-1 financial advantage over challengers.
During the 1980s the White House staff routinely took
taxpayers for a ride to play golf or bid on rare stamps. High-level
executive branch employees traded in their government jobs for the
chance to make millions lobbying their former bosses. Experts
estimate that nearly one of every two senior American trade officials
has signed on to work for nations they once faced across the
This betrayal of democracy must stop.
To break the stalemate in Washington, we have to attack the
problem at its source: entrenched power and money. We must cut the
bureaucracy, limit special interests, stop the revolving door, and cut
off the unrestricted flow of campaign funds. The privilege of public
service ought to be enough of a perk for the people in government.
I will take the following steps:
* Staff reductions. I will reduce the White House staff by 25
percent and challenge Congress to do the same.
* Eliminate 100,000 unnecessary positions in the bureaucracy.
I will eliminate 100,000 federal government positions through
* Cuts in administrative waste. I will require federal
managers and workers to achieve 3 percent across-the-board
administrative savings in every federal agency.
* Cut wasteful government spending programs. To get rid of
spending programs that no longer serve their purpose, I will eliminate
taxpayer subsidies for narrow special interests, reform defense
procurement and foreign aid, and slash boondoggle projects.
* Line item veto. To eliminate pork-barrel projects and cut
government waste, I will ask Congress to give me the line item veto.
* Special interest tax. To help put government back in the
hands of the people, I will ask Congress to eliminate the tax
deductions for lobbying expenses by special interests. I will also
urge Congress to close the "lawyers' loophole," which allows
lawyer-lobbyists to disguise lobbying activities on behalf of foreign
government and powerful corporations.
* Stop the revolving door. I will require all my top
appointees to sign a pledge that, if they work in my Administration,
they will refrain for five years after leaving office from lobbying
government agencies within their responsibilities. I will require
senior officials to pledge never to become registered agents on behalf
of any foreign government. I will then challenge members of Congress
to do the same.
* Lobbyists. I will push for and sign legislation to toughen
and streamline lobbying disclosure. The new law will require all
individuals and groups to register with the Office of Government
Ethics within 30 days after contacting a federal official, lawmaker or
lawmaker's aide. Lobbyists will be required to report twice a year on
their contacts and expenses. I will instruct the Justice Department to
strictly enforce disclosure laws and collect fines.
* Campaign finance reform. I will push for and sign strong
campaign finance legislation to cap spending on House and Senate
campaigns; cut political action committee (PAC) contributions in any
race to the legal limit for individuals of $1,000; lower the cost of
air time so that TV becomes an instrument of education, not a weapon
of political assassination; and require lobbyists who appear before a
Congressional committee to disclose the campaign contributions they've
made to members of that committee.
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank