THE WHITE HOUSE AT WORK
Wednesday, March 31, 1999
PRESIDENT CLINTON AND VICE PRESIDENT GORE:
THE STRONGEST ECONOMY IN A GENERATION
We can now say with confidence that our peacetime economic expansion is the longest in history. And it is different than most past expansions. This time, the expansion is inclusive, not exclusive. This time, our prosperity belongs to the many, not merely to the few. This time, a rising tide truly does lift all boats.
-- President Bill Clinton
Today, the Commerce Department announced that final GDP growth in the fourth quarter was a robust 6.0 percent (at an annual rate). With the longest peacetime economic expansion in history, the lowest unemployment rate in 41 years, the lowest core inflation rate in over 30 years, and the highest homeownership rate in history, it is clear that President Clinton's three-part economic strategy of fiscal discipline, investments in people, and opening markets abroad is working for America's families.
America's Economy Continues To Grow Steady and Strong. Today's announcement that GDP growth was a strong 6.0 percent for the fourth quarter is more evidence that the American economy remains strong and stable:
- Strong 6 Percent Economic Growth In Fourth Quarter. GDP growth in the fourth quarter was a strong 6 percent (at an annual rate). Since President Clinton took office, growth has averaged 3.4 percent per year;
- Four Percent Private-Sector Growth Under President Clinton. In the fourth quarter, private-sector GDP growth was up 6.6 percent. Since President Clinton took office, the private sector of the economy has grown an average of 4.0 percent per year;
- First Investment-Led Expansion In Three Decades. In the fourth quarter, business investment grew a healthy 17.8 percent. Last year, business investment grew at a 16.6 percent rate, marking the sixth consecutive year of double digit business investment growth -- the first time on record. Since President Clinton has been in office, business investment has been faster -- 12.4 percent per year -- than under any President since Kennedy;
- Inflation Is At Its Lowest Level Since 1959. In the fourth quarter, the GDP price index rose 0.8 percent at an annual rate. Last year, inflation rose just 1.0 percent -- the smallest increase in 40 years.
President Clinton's Three-Part Economic Growth Strategy Is Working. Today's numbers show that we should continue with President Clinton's growth strategy:
- Maintaining Fiscal Discipline. In 1992, the budget deficit was $290 billion -- the largest dollar deficit on record. Last year, the budget surplus was nearly $70 billion -- the largest dollar surplus on record. In his State of the Union address, President Clinton put forward his framework to maintain fiscal discipline by investing 62 percent of the projected surpluses in Social Security, 15 percent in Medicare, 12 percent in new Universal Savings Accounts, and 11 percent to meet America's future challenges. This is a fiscally responsible plan: in 2014, the debt held by the public would fall to its smallest level, as a share of GDP, since 1917;
- Investing in the American People. Last month, President Clinton proposed a $965 million three-part initiative to close America's skills gap. This initiative includes a dramatic increase in resources to help increase adult literacy, a five-year commitment to ensure that all dislocated workers can get the training and re-employment services they want and need to get back to work, and a significant increase in our investments to help disadvantaged youth stay on the right track and find good, high-paying jobs;
- Opening Markets Abroad and Leading The Global Economy. Today's economic report shows clearly that the health of the world economies affect the health of America's economy. That's why the President worked with Congress to meet our commitment to the IMF, with a package of tough reforms to make the IMF more accountable, more focused on growth, and better equipped to address the economic crisis of the 21st century. Now the IMF is stronger and ready to act.