THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary (Long Beach, California) ________________________________________________________________________ For Immediate Release August 8, 1996
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT TO THE COMMUNITY OF THE PORTS OF LOS ANGELES AND LONG BEACH
Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach Long Beach, California
6:35 P.M. PDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you, Kevin. Boy, he did a good job, didn't he? Just like he's been doing it all his life. (Applause.) If he could get a leave I'd just take him with me, we'd make an act of it. We'd go on the road. (Laughter.) Thank you for your work and for your example.
Thank you, Mayor. It's great to be here with you again. It's great to be back in Long Beach. (Applause.) Thank you, Leland Wong, for what you said and for your work. Thank you, Lt. Governor Gray Davis. Thank you, Kathleen Connell, your State Comptroller. Thank you, Long Beach Harbor Commission President George Murchison. And I'm glad to be here with Rick Zbur, who wants to go to Congress. Thank you very much. We're glad to see you, sir. (Applause.)
I'd like to thank the members of the Long Beach Harbor Commission and the Long Beach Council and the Los Angeles Council who are here. I've been given some names, I'm going to say them. If I miss somebody it's all my fault. (Laughter.) But I think Nate Holden and Richard Alarcon are here from Los Angeles. And Carmen Perez who is on the Long Beach Harbor Commission; Long Beach Councilman Del Roosevelt, and Long Beach Council member Jennie Orapreza are here. Thank you very much. (Applause.)
Long Beach City attorney James Hahn. And someone told me -- Los Angeles -- I'm sorry. (Laughter.) I don't want to put my glasses on, I'm too vain. I can't read -- (laughter.)
I've also been told that a friend of mine, a former congresswoman from New York, Shirley Chisholm is here in the audience. Shirley, are you here somewhere? (Applause.) Somebody told me -- I know she's here somewhere. Thank you for being here. (Applause.)
Ladies and gentlemen, I'm glad to be back here today; glad to be back to celebrate the successes of this port, the success of California in coming back, and to say this is only the beginning; the best is yet to come. (Applause.)
We are proud of the leadership of Mayor Riordan and Mayor O'Neill and others in the resurgence of these ports. They are the largest in our nation, as has already been said. But they are your gateway to the future.
I am especially proud of the work that Long Beach has done in dealing with the consequences of the base closing. I thank the Navy for their service here and their contributions here for so very many years. I know what a blow the base closing decision was. I know how you can take that kind of blow -- I've been knocked flat on my back a time or two in my life. And I was, frankly, inspired by the determination, the energy, the vigor and the vision of the plan that the people of Long Beach put together to bring this community back. It's going to work, and we're going to help you, and you're going to make it. (Applause.)
At the time I took office I was very concerned that our country was not going to be prepared for the challenges of the 21st century. I was concerned that we had the slowest job growth since the Depression. I was concerned that communities in California and throughout the country that had been hurt by base closings and other economic adversity were not being helped to develop strategies to recover and rebound in the move into the future. I was concerned that our deficit was at an all-time high and growing. I was concerned that so many great American industries that I knew could compete and win in the global economy seemed to be falling behind.
I've got a simple vision. You know, when we had the previous speakers I was sitting here thinking about every one of them and what they were saying and what it meant. And then in the end, Kevin sort of put it all on the line when he said he was doing his work so that his son and future generations would do better.
I have a very simple vision for our country --
Q What about a tax cut?
THE PRESIDENT: -- as we enter the 21st century. One is --
Q -- tax cut?
THE PRESIDENT: You know, we believe in the First Amendment here. I'll be glad to answer your questions but they came here to hear me, so -- (applause.) Thank you. But I will tell you -- I'll give you an answer if you'll stop screaming and listen. (Applause.) Number one, after I got elected, it turned out the deficit was a lot bigger than we were told, and I thought getting the deficit down, getting interest rates down, and getting this economy back on its feet was the most important thing. (Applause.)
Number two -- now, wait a minute, stop screaming. I'm not through yet. (Laughter.) I want you all to listen to this because you'll have a chance to tell this again and I want you to do it before it's over. (Laughter.) Number two, in this country today the average family of four with an income of under $30,000 will have a tax bill $1,000 lower than it was when I took office. That's not the whole middle class, but that's a big chunk of it, and they're better off because of our plan. (Applause.)
Number three, 90 percent -- 9-0 -- 90 percent of the people who own small businesses in this country have lower taxes because of the '93 economic plan.
Number four, if my version of the balanced budget had passed instead of their version, which had excessive cuts in Medicare and Medicaid, education, and the environment, over half -- up to 60 to 70 percent of the American people would have had a tax reduction and one we could afford that would have still allowed us to balance the budget without hurting the future of America. So that's my answer to your question. Now I'd like to go on to the speech. (Applause.)
I'm kind of glad you asked, and I hope you'll find some more of your troops to seed some more of our rallies. (Laughter and applause). And then we'll get more truth out to the American people. It would be a better election as a result. Thank you very much. (Applause.)
Now, where are we? (Laughter.) Let me go back to where I started. That's politics. Let's talk about the future. What's it going to look like when our children are our age? What's it going to look like when our grandchildren are our age? That's the real question. I believe that we ought to go into the next century with three simple things on our mind -- three things. And you ought to ask yourself whether you agree. You may not agree with all three of them.
One is, every person in this country who is willing to work for it, without regard to their race, their gender, their station in life, ought to have a chance -- not a guarantee -- but a chance to live out their dreams. (Applause.)
Two, we ought to be committed to the proposition that America will not be destroyed by the racial, religious, ethnic, and tribal tensions that are tearing the rest of the world up; that we're going to be stronger as a result of it. We're going to be stronger as a result of it. (Applause.)
Number three, we ought to be committed, even though it costs money and it is sometimes difficult, to the proposition that America will remain the world's strongest force for peace and freedom and prosperity because a lot of the threats to our security --
THE PRESIDENT: -- terrorism, drugs, organized crime -- are things that cross national lines.
Don't pay any attention to those folks. (Laughter.) We got a limit of one question for a rally here -- interruption. (Laughter.) The rest of you ought to be -- if you want to talk to me, come around here later and stop screaming.
Now, that's what we ought to be committed to. And I believe that if we are committed to it, we'll be better off. Now, let me ask you to think about this: When we started --
Q You're lying to the American people.
THE PRESIDENT: No, I'm not lying to the American people. Do we have 10 million more jobs than we did under the previous President, or not? Yes. (Applause.) Do we have 4.5 million more homeowners and 10 million people that refinanced their home mortgages at lower rates? (Applause.) Do we have 1.3 million fewer people on welfare and a million and a half fewer people on food stamps? Yes. (Applause.) Has the crime rate gone down four years in a row?
THE PRESIDENT: Did we stop the attempts to gut funding for education and the environment and to destroy the Medicare and Medicaid program? Yes. (Applause.)
Now, those are true things. So we're in better shape than we were four years ago. But what I want to say to you is, we've got a long way to go. We have to build on what we have done. And trade is one way we're going to do it.
One of the biggest arguments we had in this country -- and, frankly, it included people in both parties and people that belonged to neither party -- was whether or not America could benefit from a world in which borders were more open and trade was more free. There were some who said that because we were a wealthy country and so many countries that were interested in trade were poorer than we were and worked for wages we couldn't live on, that we could never win if we had open borders and worked for freer trade. There were others who said that all we had to do was open our borders and we didn't have to worry about anything else.
We took a different view. Our view was, if we didn't try to trade more, we would get all the burdens of the future and none of the benefits, because you can't keep low-cost goods out of America that American consumers want to buy. But what we needed was both fair and free trade -- rules that were fair, rules that gave our people, our workers a fair chance to prove they were the most productive in the world. And then we needed to get off our duffs and go out in the world and try to sell our products. That's what Ron Brown did, and that's what his lasting legacy will be: proving that Americans could compete and win with anybody in the world. (Applause.)
Now, we proved that were very competitive. The Mayor mentioned that I was here at the McDonnell Douglas plant not very long ago. We have a partnership now with McDonnell Douglas and Pratt & Whitney to produce 80 more C-17 airplanes --they're the best transport plane in the world, the best every produced by anybody. (Applause.) That will create 18,000 more jobs.
We've worked hard on this base closing problem all over California. I was just up in Monterey County were Fort Ord has become the California State University at Monterey Bay. I was in the Presidio the other day, where a military base went from being a closed base to a national preserve and an environmental treasure for the whole United States of America. (Applause.) These things are things that can be done.
The Mayor mentioned Sea Launch a minute ago. That's an international project that was just announced by Boeing which will tap into the growing market of launching commercial satellites into space. The home port will be right here, and that's hundreds of more new, good paying jobs for the people of this area. (Applause.)
So what I want to say to all of you is in the end our attitude toward the rest of the world will be determined in part by what the political leaders say and what our policies are and the things we advocate when we're having these debates. It matters that we started meeting for the first time with the leaders of the other Asian Pacific countries -- and I do it every year now -- and we're broadening our trade there and committing them, as well as ourselves, to lowering trade barriers. It matters that we've continued and intensified our trade relationship with China. It matters that we set up an export development office down here to help you export more of your products to the rest of the world. That all matters.
But in the end it matters what you want to do. If you believe in it, then you will support what we're trying to do in the Alameda Corridor project. You'll make it a reality because you know it will generate more jobs by reaching out to the world than by walking away from it. (Applause.)
You've been kind enough today to compliment two people who were very instrumental in this policy we pursued -- the late Ron Brown and our former Trade Ambassador and newcomer, Secretary Mickey Kantor, who is from Southern California. I'd also like to say that the Transportation Secretary, Federico Pena, has worked very hard to develop the financing and the plan for the Alameda Corridor project. (Applause.) Building that corridor will create 10,000 more good paying jobs for the people of this area and will generate an enormous amount of economic activity in the future.
So I want to thank all them. But, mostly, I want to thank you for looking outward. I want to thank Kevin for standing up here and saying with confidence that hardworking people in America can compete and win in the global economy. This will work. (Applause.)
Listen to this: Between 1993 and 1995, California's exports increased -- not the country's, California's exports -- increased by $25 billion. (Applause.) That's 200,000 more jobs in California just from exports. As many as one in 10 of your jobs are already related to international trade. Not only that, this is changing the nature of the jobs.
When I took office, about 20 percent of our new jobs were in high-wage industries. In 1995, more than 55 percent of the new jobs created in the United States paid above average wages, largely because they were in the industries and the activities of the future, and they were tied into global trade and our ability to be more productive and more competitive than anybody else in the things that we do well.
You are going to benefit if you will continue to support this approach. This should be an American issue, not a Republican issue, not a Democratic issue. This should be something that we say as Americans we're committed to more trade both free and fair. And we are going to be aggressive in promoting our economic interests around the world. That will help us, but it will help others as well, because it will help other people to grow their economy and to be even better trading partners with us in the future.
And we need you to take that position. Not just the elected officials -- you, people on the street, people doing the work, people whose children's lives are at stake. You must do these things. And if you do there is no stopping our country, and California is coming all the way back. (Applause.)
Let me just make one other comment in closing. If all of you are like me -- now, it was earlier out here, so you probably didn't have quite the pain that we went through on the East Coast -- but I lost a lot of sleep during the Olympics. (Laughter.) Our family was up past midnight nearly every night, watching the very last event. And I got to thinking about that, about what we all love about the Olympics and about what was special about the American Olympic team. And I'd like to make --
THE PRESIDENT: Well, that's one thing, all right. (Laughter.) I'd like to just make an observation about it to you.
Why do you like the Olympics? I think one reason is -- besides the fact that Americans are sports nuts and we all like athletics -- I think we like the Olympics because they work we think the world ought to work. (Applause.) Everybody shows up, from the smallest island country, which has three of four athletes, to the largest delegation. They all accept the rules of the game; they're all treated with respect; everybody has their chance; everybody gives their best; and even the ones who don't win medals are better off for having tried. And when it's all over, people feel like they were part of something that was bigger than themselves. And that's really how we think the world ought to work. (Applause.)
You think about it. You can't win a medal if you have somebody go break your opponent's legs the night before the contest. (Laughter.) No one looks up to you if you stand up on a podium and bad-mouth your opponent and say how terrible they are, and they're liars and they're no good and how sorry they are. Nobody thinks better of you when you do that, when you behave in that way. The only way you succeed is by reaching down deep inside for what is best inside you. And when you do that, it doesn't matter what's on the outside.
Now, we think the world ought to work that way. And if you think about the American team -- when Hillary and Chelsea and I had the profound honor of welcoming them to the White House yesterday, or going to speak to them before the games began, or just watching them compete, it occurred to me that if they took their USA jackets off and just wandered in the Olympic Village with the other athletes, they're the only crowd you wouldn't have any idea where they're from. (Laughter.)
You could see them, you could think, well, these athletes are from Africa, and these are from South America, and these are from Mexico, and these are from India, and these are from Pakistan, and these are from the Middle East and these are from China, and these are from Japan, and these are from Scandinavia -- and it turns out they're all from America. Because this country is not about race -- it's about the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence and what we believe in. That's what it's about. (Applause.)
And that's the last thing I want to tell you. I want you to think about this when you go home tonight. There were 197 different nations represented in the Olympics. Over 150 of those people are represented in this county -- Los Angeles County. (Applause.)
Now, that's the last thing I want to leave you with. If you want to create opportunity for everybody, if you want this country to lead the world, if you want to keep reaching out to the rest of the world, we have to prove to the rest of the world that you do not have to base a society on racial prejudice, ethnic prejudice, and looking down at other people.
Let's lift people up and go forward together. Thank you and God bless you all. (Applause.)
END 6:55 P.M. PDT