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Reagan's Address Before a Joint Session of the Congress on the Program for Economic Recovery - 2/18/1981

President Reagan's speech video :


Excerpt :

"[...]One worker in a Midwest city put it to me this way: He said, ``I'm bringing home more dollars than I ever believed I could possibly earn, but I seem to be getting worse off.'' And he is. Not only have hourly earnings of the American worker, after adjusting for inflation, declined 5 percent over the past 5 years, but in these 5 years, Federal personal taxes for the average family have increased 67 percent. We can no longer procrastinate and hope that things will get better. They will not. Unless we act forcefully -- and now -- the economy will get worse.

Can we, who man the ship of state, deny it is somewhat out of control? Our national debt is approaching $1 trillion. A few weeks ago I called such a figure, a trillion dollars, incomprehensible, and I've been trying ever since to think of a way to illustrate how big a trillion really is. And the best I could come up with is that if you had a stack of thousand-dollar bills in your hand only 4 inches high, you'd be a millionaire. A trillion dollars would be a stack of thousand-dollar bills 67 miles high. The interest on the public debt this year we know will be over $90 billion, and unless we change the proposed spending for the fiscal year beginning October 1st, we'll add another almost $80 billion to the debt.[...]"

Transcript :


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