December 16, 1995
Web posted at: 2:35 p.m. EST
Good morning. I'm Jim Edgar, Governor of Illinois. Republicans in the Congress have asked me to speak to you today about a matter that is crucially important to each and every one of us, a balanced budget.
Republicans realize that what happens in Washington in the next few days will affect every state in the nation and every family in this nation. They are working hard to balance the budget as the best holiday gift they can give the children of America and generations to come. They know it is time to bite the bullet, to stop asking our children and grandchildren to pay the bills we are charging up today. Parents throughout this nation want to ensure a bright and successful future for their children,. But every child born today inherits $180,000 in interest that he or she must pay on the federal debt. And the future will only get bleaker if Washington doesn't do the right thing now.
If the federal government is allowed to continue spending beyond its means -- and our means -- it will be impossible for our children and our children's children to realize the American dream.
Republicans were elected to the majority in Congress for the first time in 40 years because Americans realize we must change course to secure a bright for our children.
They are determined to reduce the size of the government and to allow many of our most pressing problems to be addressed at the state and local levels, instead of by a Washington- knows-best, one-size-fits-all mentality.
Unfortunately the Clinton administration has resisted the change we need. It has refused to give up big government and big spending we've seen for decades.
Congress approved a seven year balanced budget that saves Medicare from bankruptcy, reforms welfare and provides tax relief for every American family. But President Clinton vetoed that balanced budget. Republicans have been negotiating with the President for months now to reach agreement on a balanced budget.
In fact, 26 days ago, the President signed a commitment to a seven year balanced budget using honest numbers.
We had hoped he would keep that commitment. But now I'm sorry to say, there are some serious doubts. Indeed the Congressional Budget Office has said the budget he produced last week would result in a deficit of $115 billion in 2002. We need good faith bargaining from the President -- not smoke and mirrors, not the rhetoric of fear.
The nation needs for the President to put forth a legitimate, real, balanced budget with honest numbers, real savings, one that will allow the federal government to live within its means. That will require the President to make hard choices. But hard choices must be made to balance a budget, to live within your means, to avoid spending money you don't have.
Families across the nation make those choices each and every day. So do governors across the nation who are required to balance their state budgets.
Republicans in Washington have made those tough choices and they are willing to insist on a balanced budget. The nation cannot afford to let this moment pass without finally balancing the budget. It's too important to every family's budget.
The Federal Reserve Board Chairman, Alan Greenspan, has said that balancing the budget means a two percent drop in interest rates. For the typical family that means lower mortgage payments, lower car payments, lower student loan payments, and lower credit card payments.
The Joint Economic Committee has estimated that lower interest rates resulting from a balanced federal budget would save the typical American family more than $2,300 a year. But balancing the federal budget isn't just about money. It's about changing how a whole host of problems are addressed in this nation.
Governors throughout the United States are willing to help balance the federal budget. They are ready to do so by finding more effective ways to serve the truly needy, by reforming welfare, and insisting on getting our money's worth for the taxpayer dollars we are investing.
But we need to move decision making closer to the people, away from Washington, and back to our states and local communities. We need to end the federal micro-management and get rid of the bureaucratic red tape that have made it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for us to help the truly needy in a cost-effective way.
Governors, mayors and community leaders know better than federal bureaucrats how to create opportunities for families to move from welfare to work. They know better than federal bureaucrats how to provide care for low-income families without seeing costs spiral out of control, year after year. And families know better than federal bureaucrats how to provide for their children.
Balancing the budget means putting families in charge of their own futures and the futures of their children. And it means immediate benefits to the American family.
As you go out to do your holiday shopping, ask yourself these questions: How much further could your family budget be stretched if lower interest rates brought about lower house payments and car payments? How much more could you provide for your children with an additional $500 per child? Wouldn't a great gift for your child be a brighter future, full of opportunity?
Those are the benefits of a balanced budget. Now is the time to get the job done. We must not let this important moment in our nation's history pass without doing what is right for the American people.
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