THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
(Buffalo, New York)
For Immediate Release January 20, 1999 1:04 P.M. EST
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
AND THE VICE PRESIDENT
TO THE PEOPLE OF WESTERN NEW YORK
Marine Midland Arena
Buffalo, New York
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Hello Buffalo, Western New York. (Applause.) Thank you so much. Thank you for coming out here and being a part of this magnificent crowd. (Applause.) And thank you, Hillary, for your kind words of introduction and for that great speech. You know, there is no doubt, Buffalo loves Hillary Rodham Clinton. (Applause.)
Tipper and I are so proud to be here with all of you and it has been such a privilege for us to be a part of this Clinton-Gore administration for exactly six years and one hour and five minutes. And we celebrated that anniversary just before we walked out here on stage. And when we rounded the corner and the curtains parted and we saw this crowd, all four of us just gasped at the same time -- it's unbelievable. Thank you so much for being here in such numbers. (Applause.) We love you, we thank you. (Applause.) This is great.
Last night really was a turning point for out country. Did you all see the President's State of the Union address last night? (Applause.) Did you agree with his agenda? (Applause.) Are you willing to fight for his agenda? (Applause.) That's what it's going to take.
When he reported that the state of our union was strong, that was right on, but also kind of an understatement, because it's true right now a lot of the economic experts are beginning to write that, as of right now, our country has the strongest economy ever in the history of the United States of
America, the longest peacetime expansion in the history of the United States of America -- (applause) -- but also, improvement in so many other areas: the lowest crime rate in a quarter century, the smallest welfare rolls in 30 years, the cleanest environment in this century.
And you know, six years ago when we started this administration, it's worth remembering that at that time we had, by far, the biggest budget deficit in history. And now, after six years of President Clinton's leadership and this administration, we have, by far, the largest budget surplus in history. That's a turn around that America is proud of and it's helping our country. (Applause.)
And there's one person, of course, at the heart of all that progress. This nation has worked hard, our communities have come together, our families are stronger; we're trying to make certain no one is left behind. But all of this progress does not happen by accident, ladies and gentlemen. It happens because of great leadership. And the one person most responsible, more than any other for the good times in America today is our President, Bill Clinton. And we appreciate your leadership, Mr. President. (Applause.)
The main point of that speech last night was not simply to outline the nature of the strength in our country and in our economy, but rather, as you saw and heard for yourselves, for the President to lay out a bold, new agenda to make certain that our nation is prepared for the 21st century, which is now so near to us.
Because he has been willing to think boldly and play out an agenda that is good for our people in the past, we've been able to fight for these policies and enact a lot of them. And you see the results right here in this community, with all of the improvements.
But he's also stopped a lot of unwise things from happening because he's had to try to build coalitions across party lines, but every once in a while, those in Congress who disagree with him try to pass some measure that is, in his opinion, not good for working families in this country, not good for communities, not good for organized labor, not good for the middle class.
You know, I was thinking about what he does and has done every time they've tried to slip one of those policies by him -- because he's sitting here, right toward one end of this Marine Midlands Arena, and was thinking that he kind of looks like Dominic Hascek sitting there. (Laughter.) And he will not bad legislation get by that President's desk in the Oval Office. He is going to knock it away and keep it from passing. (Applause.) The Dominator is what they call Hascek.
Now, the reason he is looking forward toward the agenda for the future is because, especially here in Buffalo, it's obviously that we have to build on the good times and do even more to keep our economy humming and creating good jobs, so that no one is left behind. There have been plenty of good times in our past, when people were celebrating the drop in the unemployment rate. And then they look around and they find many in the community who are having a very different experience, who never really get a job, who never break out of poverty.
We are determined that our nation is going to follow policies that not only lift the general standard of living and help people get good jobs and raise incomes, but policies that also make certain that nobody is left behind. We want everybody to share in the prosperity of America. That's what we're all about as a nation. (Applause.) And under this President's leadership, with your help, we're going to do it. (Applause.)
That's why he's called for more than half a billion dollars for new job training and life-long learning, to help everybody keep up with the fast moving changes in this new Information Age economy -- new investments in areas like technology and computing that haven't received the attention they deserve in the past, even though when you open the want ads you can see that those are the areas where lots of the new jobs are opening up. And that's why we need the job training and life-long learning opportunities, to equip people so they can get the skills they need to hold down those jobs.
That's why he's focused on building the strength of communities. For example, right here we have seen Buffalo's, impressive South Buffalo Redevelopment Plan to create new jobs and bring the whole community along, to build new trails and parks and keep traffic away from the lakefront. And I want to say this community, Buffalo and Erie County, are really serving as a model on what we can do to have smarter growth that will bring our people a higher quality of life. We need to be not just better off, but better -- with stronger communities. (Applause.) And we're going to support that agenda. (Applause.)
That's why the President is proposing the largest single investment in smart growth in America's history, to help save open space, ease traffic congestion, improve the quality of life, give families more time at home with their children.
You know, the First Lady also talked about the importance of strengthening families. And one of the issues at the heart of that agenda is a proposal that the President renewed last night. John Lafalce has been helping us with it in the Congress. Senator Moynihan and your great new Senator, Chuck Schumer, have both been helping us with this agenda -- (applause) -- Pat Moynihan, Chuck Schumer, doing a great job for you. (Applause.) And that is the patients' bill of rights.
Now, let me tell you just briefly why I think this is so important. A lot of people are seeing big changes in the way to get health care and they don't like the fact that some of the most critical decisions about their lives and the medical care for their families are not being made by doctors; that some of these large companies are making the decisions instead. People believe it's time to change that. (Applause.)
I heard a story the other day that kind of illustrates this. It's about three neighbors who died and went to heaven and St. Peter greeted them at the gate. And he interviewed the first one and said, what did you do on Earth? And she said, I was a doctor, I cured the sick all my life. And St. Peter said, well, come on in. He interviewed the second one and said, what did you do on Earth? And he said, I was a teacher, I taught children all my life. St. Peter said, well, come on in.
He asked the third one, what did you do? And he looked a little sheepish and he said, well, I ran an HMO. And St. Peter said, well, come on in, but you can only stay three days. (Laughter and applause.) That's what they've been doing to us -- it's time for a change. (Applause.)
A few months ago I talked to a doctor who told a true story about a patient who came into the emergency room and had full cardiac arrest. His heart stopped. He died right on the table there. And the doctor drew on all his skill and got one of those -- what do you call them -- defibrulators, and eventually restarted the man's heart, brought him back to life. He sends a bill to the HMO; the HMO refused to pay because they said -- this is a true story -- it was not an emergency. The man was dead.
Now, some of those who have been fighting against the President's agenda may believe that the absence of a heart is not an emergency -- we disagree. We think we need a health care patients' bill of rights. Let's support President Clinton's proposals and give the families of this country the right to have their medical decisions made by doctors and nurses and not accountants. (Applause.)
Now, finally, the President emphasized one other issue more than any other, and that is education. And he did for a reason. We know that in this period of fantastic and rapid change, what we earn will, indeed, depend upon what we learn. How our nation competes in the world economy will depend upon how well we organize ourselves to give our children and Americans of all ages the knowledge that is the key strategic resource of the 21st century -- the skills that will enable them to hold down good-paying jobs. And so it is time to, once again, fall behind this President's leadership to modernize our schools, to finish the job of hiring all of those new teachers, to bring the classroom size down, to honor our teachers and our schools, to lift them up, instead of tearing down public education. To make the point that our schools are the places where our future is born.
Now, the average school here in Buffalo is 65 years old. We've been trying to wire every classroom and every library to the Internet. But you know it's hard in some places where the schools are very, very old. That's why the President has said we need to do something about this.
He and I are part of the baby boom generation -- all four of us are part of the baby boom generation. And when we first went into elementary schools, the schools were crowded then, and there were portable classrooms then. They called them quonset huts in many places because they were left over from the war. But the World War II veterans got together and joined hands and did something about that. And they built new schools and they passed the G.I. Bill, and they made a huge investment in education. And we are still benefitting as a nation because of what that generation did for the baby boomers in investing in schools.
Well, I'm telling you something. Last summer, our Census Bureau came out with a brand new study that was surprising to some people -- not to this President, he's been talking about it. This new study showed that the generation of young people, the boys and girls 18 years old and younger, have now just passed by the baby boom generation and now they represent that biggest generation in American history. And they're in crowded classrooms.
A lot of them are here -- and you're in crowded classrooms. Many are in portable classrooms. Some teachers have as many as 35, 38 students in each classroom. I've seen places where the roofs are falling in, where there are cracks in the walls, where 1st grade teachers have to put the raincoats on 35 1st graders so they can walk out into the rain to get across the way from a portable classroom to go to the rest room or go to lunch and back. I was in one school that was so crowded they fed the first shift for lunch at 9:30 a.m. -- true story.
Now, ladies and gentlemen, the question is whether or not we are going to rise to this challenge and do for this generation what the World War II vets did for the baby boomers. It is time to pass this President's agenda to invest in education, hire more teachers, modernize our classrooms, put education number one on the priority list. (Applause.)
Now, let me tell you how you're going to make all that happen. We've got the leadership. Last night we were given the agenda. We have the vision. And the 21st century lies just before us. The decision will be made by you, the people of this country.
When anybody brings about as much positive change in such a short period of time as President Bill Clinton has brought, it's bound to discombobulate some people. (Applause.) It's bound to shake them up. (Applause.) When he says it's time to bring blacks and whites and Hispanics together, it's bound to generate opposition. (Applause.) When he says stop the discrimination, they're going to try to stop him. (Applause.)
Now, ladies and gentlemen, we're at a crossroads; you know it. We can have the future that our children deserve because we already have the President that our country needs. (Applause.) We have to have your support. I'm asking you now to help us pass the agenda that President Bill Clinton outlined to the country last night. And the way you can help us pass that agenda is by making it loud and clear, right here in this arena, that you support the President of the United States, Bill Clinton. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. I think you got so excited that you melted the snow for a mile around this arena. (Applause.) Let me ask you, have you ever seen the Vice President so fired up in your life? (Laughter and applause.) I want you to know that just before we came in here, we went off into a little room and he had a quick hit of buffalo wings and Flutie flakes, that's what he did. (Applause.)
I want to thank the Mayor and Dennis Gorski and Connie Eve and the whole Eve family -- Eric worked for us for a long time, then decided to go out and get rich -- we forgive him. I want to thank all the community heroes who are here. I want to thank Reverend Smith for that magnificent invocation, which I will remember all my life. (Applause.) I want to thank our wonderful friend, Congressman John Lafalce, one of the most outstanding members in the House of Representatives, a truly wonderful human being. (Applause.) And I am delighted that Pat and his son, Martin are here with us today.
I think you could see that Tipper and Al and Hillary and I, we're sort of like a big family -- we like going places together. And I love it, because now I don't have to talk about 90 percent of the issues anymore because they already covered them, which was really good. We work together. And we have tried to model what we want America to do.
You know, no one has ever spoken as passionately and consistently for the cause of mental health as well as Tipper Gore has done. (Applause.) I think it's fair to say that at least no one since Eleanor Roosevelt has done as much with the Office of First Lady as Hillary has done. And I am grateful for that. (Applause.)
And I am quite confident that in the entire history of the United States no Vice President has had remotely the responsibility and had the positive impact on the people of the United States that Al Gore has had. And I am very grateful to him. (Applause.)
Now, we are here today in this magnificent arena -- and I've just got to say one thing about that Vice President, he compared me to the goalie for the Sabres -- I was flattered, but I thought -- you know, he kept talking about how I was swatting away those flying hockey pucks in Washington. I was flattered, but I thought, I just wish one day they would give me a mask and a few pads when I dodge that stuff. (Applause.)
Anyway, we're delighted to be here. We're here because we are grateful to New York, to Western New York, to Erie County, to Buffalo -- grateful for the support we received in 1992, grateful for the support we received in 1996; and even more grateful for the fact that this community every day is trying to live and work in the way we want America to live and work in the 21st century. (Applause.)
I know that many of you heard my speech last night. I know that you have listened to the previous speakers. I only want to speak to you about one of the issues, and that is how we're going to meet the challenge of the aging of America, because that affects all of us -- not just the old, but the very young, as well. And I want everyone to understand exactly what I was trying to say last night and why.
But let me make the bigger point. It was, as has already been said, six years ago today at noon that I took the Oath of Office as President. (Applause.) And it seems impossible to me that those six years have flown by. They have been, to put it mildly, quite a venture. But I am very, very grateful that we had the chance to serve, grateful for your support, grateful the state of the union is strong.
But I want you to focus on this: You know as well as I do the world is changing rapidly. You know this community and its economic base and the nature of its society bears not all that much resemblance to the way it looked 30 years ago in terms of how people make a living, what the diversity of the population is, how we relate to each other and where we imagine we're going in the future.
So I believe that we can't afford just to sit around and pat ourselves on the back and say, isn't it great we've got the longest peacetime expansion in history; isn't it great we've got the lowest peacetime unemployment since 1957; isn't it great that we've got the lowest welfare rolls in 29 years -- that all the social problems -- all of them, virtually, are getting better. That's fine.
But the real issue is, what are we going to do with this? Do we seriously believe the crime rate is low enough? Do we believe the schools are good enough? Do we believe all our kids are getting an education? Do we really believe that the rate of drug use among our young people is low enough? Do we believe all these things? I don't think so.
So what I want to say to you is, we ought to be focused on two big things. Number one, bringing the opportunities that the last three years have brought to most of America to the rest of America. (Applause.) We put before the American people last night a plan to develop more communities by putting more private capital in the neighborhoods that haven't received it.
Now, let me ask you something. If we've got the lowest unemployment rate in 29 years, and the lowest in peacetime in 41 years, how are we supposed to keep growing the economy without inflation? We have to find new markets. Now, if a lot of the world beyond our borders is in recession, where are we going to find the new markets? I'll tell you where -- in the urban neighborhoods and the rural counties where the unemployment rate is still twice the national average. (Applause.)
And I want to emphasize just one of the suggestions I made last night, that we ought to have an American private investment company, or a series of them, that would provide guarantees from the national government to get private capital into urban and rural areas where there has been under-investment -- $15 billion of it. (Applause.)
You know we have today -- we have an Overseas Private Investment Corporation; why shouldn't we have an American Private Investment Corporation, when our most important markets are here at home? (Applause.)
I want to say just this one thing about Senator Schumer -- the Vice President mentioned him, but before I came here he reminded me -- he said, when you go to Buffalo, you have got to tell the people that I pledged to them I would bring more jobs and more opportunity to Western New York. And you tell them I'm going to be your very best partner. So I have kept my word to Senator Schumer. (Applause.)
Now, let me give you some other examples, though. There are people in our midst who have not fully participated, even in areas which are doing well. And I'll just give you a couple of examples -- one of them has been mentioned already. We have millions of Americans in the work force that do not read very well. Many of them are first-generation immigrants and their first language is not English.
I know Mrs. LaFalce has been very involved in an adult literacy program. I asked last night for a huge increase in federal support to have a national campaign for adult literacy, to make sure all of our workers can read well enough to keep the jobs they've got, get better jobs, and if they lose their jobs, get new jobs. And I think that's very, very important. (Applause.)
Now, your other Senator, Senator Moynihan, is the cosponsor of a bill that is very important to me because I have worked hard since I was a young governor to try to give people with disabilities the ability to live up to the maximum amount of independence and self-fulfillment that was possible. And one of the problems we have today is that people with disabilities that have high medical bills cannot afford to go to work, even if they are capable of working, because under the present law you lose the government support for your medical insurance if you take a job.
So Senator Moynihan is one of the cosponsors of a bill that says, if a disabled person is able to go to work, we will let them keep their health insurance so they can be healthy and at work. And that's good for us. (Applause.)
Now, so it's the first thing we need to do. The second thing we need to do is to deal with the large long-term challenges of America. The previous members of our team have talked about the long-term environmental challenges, the long-term health care challenges, the long-term education challenges, the long-term community development challenges. I want to talk about the aging of America. And I was pleased when I read a lot of the stories today about my speech last night, I thought they were very good stories, but the implication was that I was speaking to the seniors. That's not true. The aging of America affects everybody.
Why? First of all, the seniors today, by and large, have no sweat unless they live to be 120 years, because -- old -- because Social Security is fine now and we have the system that we need. But when we baby boomers retire, there will be a senior boom. In 30 years, the number of senior citizens, people over 65, in America is going to double. Now, that just doesn't affect those of us who hope to live that long. That affects all of our children and all of our grandchildren, and society at large.
How will we manage this? We have a lot of responsibilities. We've got to work harder to stay in better shape and be healthier, so we try to minimize the burden of our health care bills on the rest of you. It will be very important. There are a lot of implications to this.
But I want you to know that -- I grew up in a middle class home in a middle class community where half of my high school classmates, or more, didn't go on to college. And I still keep up with a lot of them, and most of them have very modest incomes. But every single one of us, without regard to our income or background, are obsessed with the notion that our aging should not put an unbearable burden on our children and their ability to raise our grandchildren. This is an issue for all Americans. (Applause.)
Now, here's the problem. Social Security alone keeps half the seniors in America today out of poverty. So it's real important. But Social Security is not enough for the vast majority of our seniors to have a comfortable life and maintain the lifestyle they had before they started drawing Social Security.
Medicare is subject to the same pressures that Social Security is and it's cost, as more and more people retire, live longer and use more medical care. So the trick is, how do you preserve Social Security, how do you preserve Medicare, how do you give seniors the ability to have other sources of income? And how do you do it in a way that's fair to their kids and their grandkids? And how do we get it done by the time the baby boomers start retiring? That is the issue. So, you see, it's not just a seniors issue; it's an issue for all Americans.
Now, we're going to have a big argument about this. And we should, and I hope it will be a good debate. But I believe, since we have -- as the Vice President said -- this $70 billion surplus from last year and a bigger one coming this year, since it's projected that over a 25-year period we will average substantial surpluses on an annual basis -- now, they'll go up and down with the economy, but the point is we have no permanent deficit anymore, the natural condition is a surplus, okay -- so the question is, what do we do with it?
We could give it all back to you and hope you spend it right. (Applause.) But I think -- here's the problem. If you don't spend it right, here's what's going to happen. In 2013 -- that's just 14 years away -- taxes people pay on their payroll for Social Security will no longer cover the monthly checks. So we have to get into the Social Security trust fund, the savings account. By 2032, it will be gone. After that, if we haven't done something, we can only pay a little over 70 percent of the benefits. By then, the cost of living will be higher and it will be devastating.
Even before that, by 2010, the Medicare fund will run out of money. Why? Because the fastest growing group of people -- this is a high-class problem, this is a high-class problem, we should be so lucky to have only problems like this -- the fastest growing group of people in America are people over 80. And I hope to be one some day, and so do you, right? (Applause.) And so does -- I hope, every child in this audience will live to be over 80. The kids in this audience actually will have a life expectancy of about 85 years if medical science keeps advancing.
But the older you get, the more you need a doctor, or the more you need drugs or the more you need something just to kind of get through the day -- I'm finding that out already. (Laughter.) Everything kind of hurts when it's cold and you've got to stretch your legs more. So that's going to happen by
So what I said last night is not as popular as what others can tell you. Others can say, we've got this surplus now, I just want a big tax cut, I'll give it back to you, you'll figure out what to do with it. But I believe if we save 60 percent of this surplus for Social Security, here's what we can do. We can make the trust fund all right to 2055. We can protect Social Security for 55 years. (Applause.) We have a list of other options that are all a little controversial, but if we can get the Republicans and Democrats to hold hands, we could do it. It wouldn't hurt anybody very much. They're really good things for the program over the long run.
And if we did that, we could protect Social Security for 75 years and we could reduce the poverty rate among elderly women on Social Security -- they're twice as likely to be poor. And we could remove the earnings test which now limits what seniors on Social Security can earn for themselves. So I think that's a good use of the surplus that will help our parents, our children, our grandchildren. (Applause.)
Now, same thing with Medicare. If we just save one-sixth -- one in very $6 of this surplus -- for 15 years, and set it aside for Medicare, then we save Medicare to 2020. Then if we can get the Republicans and Democrats together -- and in March we're going to have a report from a bipartisan commission that will start the debate -- we can make a few other changes, save until 2020, and begin to provide for prescription drugs; it's the single, biggest need that senior citizens on Medicare have. (Applause.)
Now, let me tell you what else you'll get. You're going to have everybody say that government doesn't know how to spend this money. Look, folks, Social Security and Medicare work. I'm not talking about spending this money, I'm talking about saving it.
Now, here's what I think about it. This is the other thing I want you to understand. If we save three-quarters of this surplus for 15 years only, to solve Social Security and solve Medicare well into the 21st century, what else will happen? We will, by holding this money -- we've got to do something with it, what do you do with this money? You buy back the privately- held debt. We will be reducing the debt of the country. We will take the debt of America in relationship to the size of our economy, the level of debt held by the public, to its lowest level since before World War I in 1917.
Now, why should that matter to you? You say, "Fine, Mr. President, give me the money, I'd rather have a new car. I don't care about World War I. Why does that matter?" Here's why it should matter to you. If we keep driving the debt down, then you will keep interest rates down, you will keep home mortgage rates low, you will keep credit card interest rates low, you will keep the interest rates that you pay on your car payments low, you will keep more investment coming in to Buffalo and Erie County, you will have more jobs here. (Applause.) And that's something we have to do together. It will protect us.
You see all this financial upheaval around the world. That's because these countries, their budgets are out of balance, and if people run off with their money, they have to put their interest rates through the roof just to get the money to come back. If we start paying down on our debt a little bit, which I remind you, we quadrupled the debt, quadrupled the debt between 1981 and 1993, if we just started paying down on it a little bit, saving this money, protecting Social Security and Medicare, then you would be somewhat more protected from these global economic
events and long after I'm gone from the White House, you would have stable interest rates, affordable lives and the knowledge that investment would come into Buffalo and Erie County to build a better future. So I hope you will support what I have advocated last night. (Applause.)
Now, let me just say two other things I think we ought to do to deal with the aging of America that help not just the elderly, but the rest of us. Number one, Social Security was never intended to be the sole source of income. Even when President Roosevelt signed it, he said we need more pensions, we need more private savings. But a lot of people retire today and don't have any.
And a lot of you young people today, I don't know how many people, the young people I talk to in their twenties or late teens, or even up to their early thirties who say, "You know, this is not going to be enough." Last night, I proposed setting aside more than 10 percent of the surplus to actually give people an incentive to save, a targeted tax cut to say, if you will set up this universal savings account, a USA account, the government will give you, in effect, a tax cut -- we will match the money in your savings account and you can invest it however you want for your own retirement. (Applause.)
And if you have -- now, this is very important. And very low-income, working people who have great difficulty saving, it takes every penny they've got to put clothes on their kids' back and pay the utility bills and the rent and make the car payment, we have a provision in our plan to give extra help for those least able to save. I want every American to have a savings account and have a part of this country's wealth. If everybody was a part of the wealth, you would see the income graph shrinking instead of growing, and that's what this is about. (Applause.) This is a good way to have a tax cut because it's a tax cut that benefits you today and tomorrow and 10 years from now and 30 years from now.
So let me also say, when you hear the tax cut debate, remember: We've got tax cuts in our plan, a $1,000 tax credit -- that's a $1,000 tax cut for long-term care, for seniors, for disabled people, for ailing people or the families that care for them. That's one of the biggest problems families have today. And with the aging of America, it will get bigger and bigger. We ought to support and give people a tax cut for long-term care.
We ought to have tax cuts for child care, including as was said earlier, for people who provide care by being stay-at-home parents for very young children. We ought to have these tax cuts. We ought to give people tax incentives to deal with our environmental problems. Every one of the tax cuts that are in my budget we have paid for so we can keep the budget balanced, keep the surplus coming and deal with the long-term problems.
So I'm sorry if I made the atmosphere too serious. We've had a lot of fun today. But I want you to think about this. We cannot afford to squander this moment. When have we ever had this many resources, this many things going right at one time in this country -- it has been a long, long time. We have to make the most of it. We have to look at the long-term challenges facing America. (Applause.)
So I ask you to think about this. I ask you to talk to your friends and neighbors about it. When people come out and disagree with my approach, listen to them and sit down and have a discussion about it. But you just remember this: We've been in debt for 30 years. And for the 12 years before I became President, we were so deep in debt we couldn't even think about the kind of money we've invested in Buffalo for police on the streets, to help more housing projects, people have houses, to deal -- all the things that have been done. And we are out of
debt now, but we have a big responsibility now to think about that long-term challenges.
This country is going to change in a breathtaking way. We're on the verge of finding cures, or preventions for diseases from Alzheimer's to Parkinson's to arthritis to all kinds of cancers. I think it will happen probably in my lifetime. There are children here in this audience who either they or their contemporaries will be walking not on the moon, but on Mars. This world is going to change. (Applause.)
And we have to do our very best to prepare. So I will say again -- it may sound good if somebody says, this is your surplus and we ought to give it back to you. But you ought to ask yourself, what's America going to look like 10, 20, 30 years from now? How are all the families going to deal with the retirement of the baby boom generation? How are we going to deal with our responsibilities for the medical care of our parents through Medicare? And can we keep interest rates low and the economy going?
If you like this improving economy, what I'm trying to do is to give you a way that will maximize the chances that we will have a strong economy for the next 10 to 15 to 20 years and prepare for the aging of the baby boomers.
I hope you will support it. I thank you for one of the great days of my presidency here. God bless you. (Applause.)