we celebrate the coming of a new year, a time of expectation and promise. I believe
it's going to be a very good year indeed. Our economy is healthy. Our defenses
are strong. And our policy of peace through strength is paying off in spades.
In 6 weeks time, the Soviet Union is due to pull its
remaining forces out of Afghanistan. I'm confident the
Soviets will stick to their timetable and be out by the 15th of February, which
will then be a great day for world peace.
also confident about 1989 because in just 3 weeks George Bush will be sworn in
as the 41st President of the United States. And a superb President
he's going to be. He has handled skillfully the selection of his Cabinet, and
the transition process is proceeding well and smoothly.
the news is good this New Year's Eve. Of course, we still reel in shock and horror
from the bombing of Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, and we extend our
sympathy to the bereaved. Now, if, as seems likely, our terrorists have crawled
out of their hole to threaten American lives, I can promise them this: The
pledge we made to seek out the truth and punish the guilty is a sacred one
which George Bush shares. Indeed, President-elect Bush knows as thoroughly as
anyone in the world today the nature and problem of terrorism. As chairman of
this administration's task force on terrorism he oversaw a report that is the
toughest statement to date on the need for strong action -- including, when
warranted, military action -- against terrorists. That report ought to be
giving some people sleepless nights right about now.
crime aside, however, there is little to disturb us about the overall state of
the Nation as we join together to make merry and sing ``Auld Lang Syne.'' But still, during these days, when you turn on the
television or read through the newspaper, you might get the idea that what
faces George Bush upon his assumption of the responsibilities of the Presidency
of the United States will be nothing but a
series of impossible choices, heartaches, and just general trouble. Now, I'm
sure most of this talk is simply evidence that we're about to go through a
change of leadership, a moment in time that does funny things to people,
particularly in Washington. For some, this is a
time to put in their bids on the agenda of the future. For others, this is a
time for the jitters because they try to imagine what the future will bring and
find it a little confusing.
jitters have been overcome with courage and vision in both the United States and Canada as the way has been
cleared for an historic new free-trade agreement to take effect tomorrow. And I
want to assure you, as we do take this time together to look ahead, that there
is not a single major problem facing this country today that cannot be solved
when we come together to solve them. What it takes is the political will to solve
them -- rather like a successful New Year's resolution.
here are a few New Year's political resolutions I think could be accomplished
in 1989. I think we should resolve to keep within the Gramm-Rudman
targets and eliminate the deficit entirely by 1993. I'll be telling you more
about our budget for the next fiscal year over the next few weeks, but let me
just say that this new budget represents a serious and dedicated effort to
produce a realistic plan for meeting our responsibilities to reduce the
deficit, maintain our defenses, and help the needy. I've said it before, and
I'll say it again: All this can be done without raising taxes. Higher taxes
mean slow economic growth, and economic growth combined with budget realism is
the key to eliminating the deficit. George Bush's lips have been eloquent on
this subject, and it sure would be a great new year if we continue the progress
we made this year, putting an end to those mammoth continuing resolutions and
work with a real budget again.
can continue to improve relations with the Soviet Union in 1989 if we remember
that the key to improved relations thus far has been our strength and
resolution. We must remain sober in our estimation of our negotiating partners
and without illusion; we know about their goals and aims. Whether we're talking
about bilateral relations with the Soviet Union or efforts to achieve a
negotiated settlement in the Middle East, the lesson is the
same: To achieve further reductions in international tensions, the incoming administration
will need appropriate levels of defense spending, not to mention support from
Congress for their foreign policy initiatives. Trust me, I know.
a very Happy New Year. And until next week, thanks for listening, and God bless
Note: The President
spoke at from the Annenberg residence in Palm Springs, CA.