Four years ago, we began a journey to change the course of the American economy. We wanted this country to go into the 21st century as a Nation in which every American who was willing to work for it could have a chance -- not a guarantee, but a real chance -- at the American dream. We have worked hard to achieve that goal, and today our economy is stronger than it has been in decades.
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Historic Deficit Reduction. Since the 1992 fiscal year, the Federal budget deficit has been cut by 63 percent -- from $290 billion to $107 billion in fiscal 1996. As a percentage of the Nation's gross domestic product, the deficit has fallen over the same period from 4.7 percent to 1.4 percent, and it is now the lowest it has been in more than 20 years. In 1992 the budget deficit for all levels of government was larger in relation to our
economy than those of Japan and Germany were to theirs. Now the deficit is smaller by that same measure than in any other major industrialized economy. And this Administration has proposed a plan that balances the budget by 2002, while protecting critical investments in America's future.
Investments in Education and Technology. Deficit reduction remains a priority, but it is not an end in itself. Balancing the budget by cutting investments in education, or by failing to give adequate support to science and technology, could actually slow economic growth. To succeed in the new global economy, our children must receive a world-class education. Every child in America should be able to read by the age of 8, log onto the Internet by the age of 12, and receive at least 14 years of quality education: 2 years of college should become as universal as high school is today. And we must make sure that every child who wants to go to college has the resources to do so. Expanding Markets. We have aggressively sought to expand exports and open markets abroad. In the past 4 years we have achieved two major trade agreements: the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Uruguay Round accord of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, which established the World Trade Organization. Members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum and the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas have committed to establishing free trade among themselves by 2020 and 2005, respectively. And we have opened new markets abroad by signing more than 200 other important trade agreements. As a result, U.S. exports have boomed, which means higher wages for American workers in export industries -- often 13 to 16 percent higher than the rest of the workforce. Reforming Government. The strength of the American economy lies in the energy, creativity, and determination of our citizens. Over the past 4 years we have worked hard to create an environment in which business can flourish. And as the private sector has expanded, the Federal Government has improved its efficiency and cost- effectiveness. We have energetically reformed regulations in key sectors of the economy, including telecommunications, electricity, and banking, as well as environmental regulation. And we have reduced the size of the Federal Government as a percentage of the workforce to the smallest it has been since the 1930s.
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rise. And we have laid the foundations for future long-term economic growth by reducing the deficit and investing in education. During the past 4 years, we have worked to prepare all Americans for the challenges and opportunities of the new global economy of the 21st century. We have worked to restore fiscal discipline in our government, to expand opportunities for education and training for our children and workers, to reform welfare and encourage work, and to expand the frontiers of free trade. But there is more work to be done. We must continue to provide our citizens with the tools to make the most of their own lives so that the American dream is within the reach of every American.
THE WHITE HOUSE
FEBRUARY 10, 1997
The PDF Source Files are from http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs/budget98/pdf/erp.pdf (January 1997).
HTML files produced from above PDF Source Files using Adobe® Acrobattm Reader version 3.0 and Adobe® Acrobattm Access Plug-in version 1.0B2 for Microsoft® Windows 95tm. These documents have been modified from the originals and are not to be considered authoritative for legal purposes.
The WK1 Spreadsheet files were extracted from U.S. Federal Depository Library CD-ROM The Budget of the United States Government: Fiscal Year 1998 (Superintendent of Documents number PREX 2.8/1:998)
Original sources from Economic Report of the President (February 1997) published by the Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., and classified under Superintendent of Documents (SuDoc) number PR 42.9:997.