Transcript of President Clinton's radio address

November 18, 1995
Web posted at: 11:55 p.m. EST

This budget of theirs would make it much harder for our government to guarantee the safety of the water we drink, the air we breathe, the food we put on the table. Unbelievably, too, their budget would actually raise taxes on 15 million of our hardest pressed working families. By the way, it also cuts the school lunch program a and it would even prevent thousands of disabled children from being able to live with their parents by cutting off assistance for home care.

In recent days, I've heard from Americans all across our country about the real impact this will have on the lives of our people. One of my friends called to tell me about a woman he knows with a disabled child. This woman rides an hour a day to work on subsidized transportation. And she works for barely above the minimum wage. She comes home to care for her child.

Under their budget, she loses three ways. Her transportation to work is going to be more costly because we're cutting aid of transportation in cities under their budget. Her ability to help her disabled child will be less because the disabled child will lose federal assistance. And unbelievably, at her low income, with her child at home, she gets a tax increase under their plan so that people in my income group can get a tax cut. That doesn't make sense.

Another fried of mine, the chairman of the board of a technical college, wrote to say how important it is that we help our young people get scholarships to go onto college today. My friend remembers that in the 1960s he got help from government to pay for his government education and because all of us took a risk in lending him the money for college, today he pays a lot more in taxes every year than the total he borrowed. He asks a very simple question: If we can't invest in our people, how can we ensure the future of our country.

My fellow Americans, none of these extreme cuts, not one of them, are necessary to balance the budget. This extreme budget reflects not economic necessity but a philosophy that would strip the ability of our national government to be an instrument of meeting our national goals. It would make us a more divided winner take all society -- a community with fewer connections and less common purpose. Its economic assumptions operate on the premise that our country will not grow very much if their plan is passed, that are best days are behind us.

I have proposed a balanced budget rooted in our fundamental values: providing opportunity, but expecting responsibility from people; honoring our obligations to our parents and our children; helping our families to be stronger and to stay together; and making sure our country is the strongest force for peace and freedom, democracy and prosperity in the world.

My budget cuts hundreds of wasteful programs. We have already reduced the size of the federal government by 200,000. It's the smallest its been in 30 years. And as a percentage of the federal, the civilian work force, the smallest it's been since 1933. But my budget also invests in our people and our future. It secures Medicare and Medicaid into the future. It invests in education. It ensures the protection of the environment. It gives working families a tax cut targeted at education and child rearing. Now, that's the right way to balance the budget.

I'll say again: I want to balance the budget, but any budget that cuts funding for disabled children and school lunches, for Head Start for our youngest children, for college scholarships and loans, that doubles Medicare premiums and undermines the entire Medicaid program that provides for nursing home care and home health care for the elderly, the disabled, and health care for poor children, this budget is dead on arrival when it comes to the White House.

And if the price of any deal or cuts like these -- my message is: no deal. The effort to make the American people swallow a budget that will hurt our country is over. Let's get back to work together to balance the budget without unbalancing our values. To the Republicans and Congress, I say, listen to the American people. Let's all say yes to a balanced budget, and no to extremism in cuts in health care, education and the environment. If we do that, America will be strong and true to its values and its vision as we enter the 21st century. Now, let's get the job done. Thanks for listening.