THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary (Houston, Texas) _________________________________________________________________ For Immediate Release September 11, 1993 RADIO ADDRESS BY THE PRESIDENT AND THE VICE PRESIDENT TO THE NATION The Wyndham Warwick Hotel Houston, Texas
9:06 A.M. CDT
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. Today I'm in Houston with Vice President Gore. This week, we've been talking with Americans in Ohio and California and Texas about our plan to reinvent government, to make government work better and cost less.
We're living in truly revolutionary times, with profound changes sweeping the entire world. On Monday, Israel and the PLO will come to the White House to sign a courageous and historic peace accord, the first step in replacing war with peace and giving the children of the Middle East a chance to grow up to a normal life. Here at home, we're trying to face the future with confidence, and to face the changes that have confronted us by owning up to our problems and seizing our opportunities.
We've sharply broken with the past, of trickle-down economics and huge deficits by adopting an economic program that drives down the deficits, increases investment incentives to small businesses and high-tech businesses, and helps our people to move from welfare to work.
We seek other fundamental reforms, including a new trade agreement with Mexico, with historic protections for labor rights and improvements in the environment. And, we're putting the finishing touches on a health care reform proposal that will restore peace of mind and financial security to homes and to businesses all across America by providing health care that's always there at an affordable price.
In this world of dramatic change, one of the biggest obstacles to our changing is the machinery of government itself. It's frankly been stuck in the past, wasting too much money, often ignoring the taxpayer, coping with outdated systems and archaic technology, and most of all, eroding the confidence of the American people that government can make change work for them.
Reforming, indeed, reinventing government is essential to make our economic health care and trade efforts succeed. For the last six months, Vice President Gore has been studying the problems in the federal government.
His National Performance Review has found more than $100 billion savings that we can claim through serious and lasting management reforms over the next five years -- reforms that will at the same time make the services we provide to you, the taxpayer, our customers, more efficient and more effective.
Now, I want to ask the Vice President to tell you more about what he's found in this historic review. Mr. Vice President.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Mr. President, we found out plenty in our investigation -- some good and some bad. Let me start with the bad news. Government really doesn't work very well right now. It's a government that writes 10 pages of regulations on how to make an ash tray. It has an outdated 10,000 page personnel code, and hires 40,000 people just to enforce it. It take 49 months to buy a computer -- four times as long as in private business.
And there's the red tape. How many Americans have called the IRS only to be put on hold endlessly? And how many small business owners have spent hours filling out government forms that were mandated but totally useless? The government wastes billions. And it's not giving taxpayers good service. It doesn't have to be that way. That's the good news. We can create a government that works better and costs less.
For as much as we found wrong, we found lots of ways to make it right. We did it by looking at successful businesses, like General Motors Saturn plant. We found these businesses stick to a number of principles: cutting red tape, putting the customer first, getting rid of unnecessary layers of management, and giving more power to employees on the front lines, then holding them strictly accountable for results.
If we take these principles and put them to work for government, some real change can happen. First, we can cut wasteful spending, consolidate departments, and cut out the frills. We can also streamline the bureaucracy -- in fact, reduce it by 252,000 positions, a 12 percent downsizing. We can improve customer service. There's no reason why the service we give our people can't be as good as in private business.
Finally, we can overhaul federal purchasing and overhaul the personnel and budgeting system by scrapping thousands of pages of outdated regulations and replacing them with a system that's simpler and more flexible.
Now, a lot of people, it's safe to say, didn't expect recommendations for a smaller, leaner, and more efficient government to come from a Democratic administration. But no one expected President Nixon to open the door to China either. Just as his action made everyone take notice, so will this government reform and reinvention proposal.
This is the kind of change that doesn't tow to a party line, and it's something that the American people want now. We can move from red tape to results. We can have a government that works better and costs less. Mr. President, thanks for leading this change.
THE PRESIDENT: And that you, Mr. Vice President, for the excellent National Performance Review. It is important, for all the reasons you've said, and for this one: We need to earn the trust of the American people. Until we do that, it's going to be hard to move on these other problems, for the government has to be a partner in many of the things the American people need to do. We not only have a budget deficit and an investment deficit, we've got a real performance deficit in this government. And that's led to the trust deficit that you're doing so much to help us overcome.
I am determined that these changes will come about. Where executive action is recommended to bring change, I will take that action. Where legislation is needed to bring change, I will work with the Congress -- with members of both parties -- to win that legislation. Those of us in the business of government owe the American people no less than making it the best it can be.
Make no mistake about it, we've got a lot of work ahead of us. But we're all going to win on this.
Again, I thank you, Mr. Vice President, and I believe the American people do, too, for a job very well done.
Thanks for listening.
END9:14 A.M. CDT