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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
February 24, 2001
Radio Address by the President to the Nation
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. This coming week I will be making the trip up Pennsylvania Avenue to address a joint session of Congress. We have some business to attend to called the budget of the United States.
The federal budget is a document about the size of a big city phone book, and about as hard to read from cover to cover. The blueprint I submit this week contains many numbers, but there is one that probably counts more than any other -- $5.6 trillion. That is the surplus the federal government expects to collect over the next 10 years; money left over after we have met our obligations to Social Security, Medicare, health care, education, defense and other priorities.
The plan I submit will fund our highest national priorities. Education gets the biggest percentage increase of any department in our federal government. We won't just spend more money on schools and education, we will spend it responsibly. We'll give states more freedom to decide what works. And as we give more to our schools we're going to expect more in return by requiring states and local jurisdictions to test every year. How else can we know whether schools are teaching and children are learning?
Social Security and Medicare will get every dollar they need to meet their commitments. And every dollar of Social Security and Medicare tax revenue will be reserved for Social Security and Medicare.
My budget blueprint will restrain spending, yet meet growing needs with a reasonable 4 percent growth rate, which is a little more than inflation. After paying the bills, my plan reduces the national debt, and fast. So fast, in fact, that economists worry that we're going to run out of debt to retire. That would be a good worry to have.
Finally, along with funding our priorities and paying down debt, my plan returns about one out of every four dollars of the surplus to the American taxpayers, who created the surplus in the first place. A surplus in tax revenue, after all, means that taxpayers have been overcharged. And usually when you've been overcharged, you expect to get something back.
Tax relief means real help for both American families and the American economy. Everybody who pays income taxes will receive a tax cut. Nobody will be targeted in, and nobody will be targeted out. The typical family will get about $1,600 in tax relief, and that's real money. And that's money that will help American families manage their own accounts, manage your own balance sheets.
My address to Congress comes on Tuesday night at 9:00 o'clock Eastern Time. I hope you'll tune in and consider what I have to say. I hope you'll agree that my plan is good for you and for your family. But, even more, I hope you'll agree it's good for America.
Thank you for listening.