D2KLA: Clinton: A Moment of Progress and Prosperit
President Clinton and Vice President Gore
A Remarkable Moment of Progress and Prosperity
August 14, 2000
In his speech to the 2000 Democratic Convention, President Clinton will discuss the remarkable progress America has made during the Clinton-Gore Administration. Eight years ago, President Clinton and Vice President Gore put in place an agenda to get America back on its economic feet while restoring the values of opportunity, responsibility and community that made this country great. As a result of the hard work of the American people and the tough choices of the last eight years, America has made remarkable progress. A sea of red ink has been turned into the largest surplus in history, with the nation on track to pay off the debt by 2012 while strengthening Social Security and Medicare, expanding retirement savings and increasing college opportunity. Eight years ago, unemployment, crime and poverty were all high, now they are at the lowest levels in a generation. Today, more Americans are working, children are receiving a better education with high academic standards, our communities are cleaner and safer, and government now reinforces our national values of work, family, service and community.
Reversing the Deficit and Creating the Best Economy in a Generation
President Clinton and Vice President Gore launched a new economic strategy of fiscal discipline, strategic investments in the American people and opening foreign markets so that American workers can compete abroad. Their 1993 Economic Plan put us on a path of fiscal discipline that created the conditions for the longest economic expansion in history:
-- The deficit was $290 billion in 1993 and expected to grow to $455 billion by this year. Instead, we have a projected surplus of $211 billion and we are on track to pay off the entire debt by 2012.
-- 22 million jobs have been created in under eight years.
-- Unemployment has dropped from more than 7 percent in 1993 to just 4 percent today.
-- Inflation has averaged 2.5 percent, the lowest rate since the Kennedy Administration.
-- The homeownership rate is the highest on record.
-- Economic gains have been made across the spectrum as incomes are up for all Americans, and poverty rates for African American families and single mothers are the lowest ever recorded.
Ending Welfare the Right Way
President Clinton and Vice President Gore have transformed the welfare system to one that moves families from welfare to work, but they refused to do so in a way that punished children. They rejected two punitive welfare reform bills before signing the bipartisan 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act, which removed barriers that keep people trapped in the welfare system and provided incentives like job training, expanded child care and increased child support enforcement to help them go to work. Because of these efforts:
-- Welfare rolls have been cut in half - from over 14 million people in 1993 to less than 7 million today - to the lowest level since 1968.
-- The number of welfare recipients moving to work has increased by 82 percent.
-- Federal and state child support collections have doubled from $8 billion in 1993 to $16 billion last year.
-- Investments in child care have doubled and now help parents provide care for 1.5 million children.
Giving Every Child a Quality Education
President Clinton and Vice President Gore launched a revolution in public education with standards and accountability at the core. Their Goals 2000 initiative gave states assistance and encouragement to adopt high standards and require accountability. Clinton-Gore budgets have doubled investment in education and training by focusing on things that work, like charter schools, teacher quality, smaller class size, after-school and Head Start. And they launched the largest expansion of college opportunity since the GI Bill. Their strategy has delivered results: -- In 1992, just 19 states had any sort of academic standards at all. Today, 49 states have adopted rigorous standards for core curriculum subjects and standards-based assessments as a result of Goals 2000.
-- Their initiative to hire 100,000 quality teachers is reducing class size to 18 students in lower grades.
-- Reading and math scores have increased, SAT college entrance scores are up and the number of students taking AP exams has increased by two-thirds.
-- The number of charter schools has increased from just 1 in 1993 to over 1,700 today.
-- Nearly 900,000 children benefit from higher-quality Head Start opportunities.
-- New HOPE Scholarships and Lifetime Learning Tax Credits help 10 million students pay higher education costs.
Tough and Smart Anti-Crime Policy is Reducing Crime Rates
President Clinton and Vice President Gore implemented a crime strategy that emphasized both tough anti-crime laws and smart prevention measures. Their 1994 Crime Bill enacted "three strikes and you're out," mandatory minimum penalties, and more money for prisons and prosecutors as well as a ban on assault weapons, a commitment to fund 100,000 community police officers and a historic response to violence against women. They fought for and signed the Brady Bill, and they have worked with states and local governments to increase total gun crime prosecutions by 22 percent since 1992. As a result of their tough and smart strategy:
-- The Brady Law has prevented 500,000 fugitives, felons and stalkers from purchasing weapons.
-- Gun-related crime has dropped 35 percent since 1992.
-- Crime rates have declined for 8 consecutive years - the longest continuous drop on record .
-- The violent crime rate has dropped 25 percent since 1993 after quadrupling during the previous three decades.
-- More than 20 percent fewer women are abused and assaulted by an intimate partner than in 1992.
Better Health Care for All Americans
President Clinton and Vice President Gore have taken historic steps to improve access to quality health care. They have cracked down on waste, fraud and abuse in Medicare while expanding the program to include important preventive services like mammograms, cancer screenings and diabetes management. They proposed and signed the Children's Health Insurance Program, the largest expansion children's health insurance in 35 years, and took meaningful steps that allow workers keep their health insurance when changing jobs, ended drive-through deliveries, and protect the health care coverage of disabled Americans moving into the workforce. They also paved the way for new medical breakthroughs by increasing funding for biomedical research by 73 percent over the last eight years. As a result of these steps:
-- Medicare is expected to remain solvent until at least 2027. When President Clinton and Vice President Gore took office, it was expected to become insolvent in 1999.
-- Over $50 billion in fraud and waste have been eliminated from Medicare.
-- The State Children's Health Insurance program is providing coverage for more than 2.0 million uninsured children.
-- 85 million Americans in federal health programs have meaningful patient protections.
-- The National Institutes of Health invested $18 billion this year to support the highest level of research ever on nearly all types of diseases and conditions.
Improving the Environment and the Economy
President Clinton and Vice President Gore set out to prove that America could have a strong economy and a cleaner environment. Since 1993, they have invested in a sensible approach of new technologies, tougher enforcement of environmental laws and protecting our irreplaceable national treasures. They proposed and signed the Safe Drinking Water Act in 1996 to ensure that families have safe, clean tap water and proposed the strongest clean air standards in history to reduce smog and soot. As a result of their efforts:
-- The number of people with safe drinking water has increased from 196 million in 1993 to 230 million today.
-- 43 million more Americans live in communities meeting clean air standards.
-- This Administration has cleaned up more than three times as many Superfund toxic waste sites in their 8 years as the previous two Administrations did in 12 years.
-- The Clinton-Gore Administration has protected more land in the lower 48 states than any Administration since Theodore Roosevelt, including red rock canyons in Utah, giant sequoias in California, and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.
Helping Families Succeed on the Job and at Home
President Clinton and Vice President Gore came to office at a time when many middle class families were struggling to balance the pressures of work and family. While the previous administration vetoed the Family and Medical Leave Act twice, the Clinton-Gore Administration made the Family and Medical Leave Act the first law it signed in 1993. The Clinton-Gore Administration also worked to pass common-sense health care reforms to guarantee coverage for workers who change jobs. And they have won important victories for children and families including signing a $500 child tax credit, a $1 per hour increase in the minimum wage, expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit, enacting the largest expansion of health insurance for children ever, and creating incentives for adoption and foster care. As a result of these victories:
-- The child poverty rate has dropped by 16 percent since 1993 to the lowest rate since 1980.
-- Millions of American families have taken time off to care for a new child or sick relatives.
-- Teen pregnancy rates have dropped by 20 percent to the lowest level since record keeping began 60 years ago.
-- Child immunization rates are at an all-time high, with 90 percent of toddlers receiving crucial vaccinations.
-- Adoptions increased 29 percent between 1996 and 1998.
-- The tax burden on middle class families has dropped to 22.8 percent, the lowest middle-class tax burden since 1978.
Strengthening the Value of Service
President Clinton and Vice President Gore promised to return America to the values of responsibility and community that made it great. In 1993, the President signed the National and Community Service Trust Act, which created AmeriCorps. Since then: -- Over 150,000 Americans have participated in AmeriCorps, serving thousands of communities while earning money for education. -- Volunteers of all ages have helped more than a million children receive immunizations, tutored over 4 million young people in reading and math skills and built thousands of homes.
Leading the Quest for Peace and Democracy
President Clinton and Vice President Gore have made America a force for world peace and global democracy. Our troops remain the best-trained, best-equipped and most effective fighting force, and the United States has succeeded in opening foreign markets to American good throughout the world. The global leadership of the Clinton-Gore Administration has resulted in:
-- Diplomatic efforts that have restored democracy to Haiti, ended hostilities in Northern Ireland and made historic strides toward peace in the Middle East and Bosnia.
-- Leading the NATO alliance to victory in Kosovo.
-- Nearly 300 market opening trade agreements to expand markets for American goods and create jobs for American workers.
-- Reduced threats to American security because of the deactivation of nearly 5,000 nuclear warheads from the former republics of the Soviet Union and ratification of START II and the Chemical Weapons Convention.