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Supporting America's Working Families

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Record of Progress

President Clinton and Vice President Gore:

Working for Working Families

"We have to continue in Washington to fight for the right to organize and to function in a union that will permit you to have a life you enjoy."

-- President Bill Clinton, March 18, 1998

Creating More Jobs and a Stronger Economy

  • Over 22 million new jobs created by the American economy - more new jobs than Presidents Reagan and Bush created during their three terms
  • Lowest unemployment in more than 30 years, and lowest African American and Hispanic unemployment ever.
  • Lowest poverty rate in 20 years
  • Fastest and largest real wage growth in more than 30 years
  • Lowest inflation rate since 1965

Better Lives for All Americans

  • Saving Social Security and Medicare
  • Real commitment to public education
  • Opening the doors of higher education
  • Expanding access to health care
  • Strong Patients Bill of Rights
  • Tax cuts for working families

Standing up for Working Families

  • Increasing the minimum wage
  • Passing and expanding Family and Medical Leave
  • Equal pay
  • Child care
  • Job training
  • Pension security
  • Safer workplaces
  • Guarantee the right to organize and collective bargaining
  • End striker replacement
  • Standing up to an anti-worker Congress

Creating More Jobs and a Stronger Economy

Longest Economic Expansion in U.S. History. In February 2000, the United States entered the 107th consecutive month of economic expansion -- the longest economic expansion in history.

Moving From Record Deficits to Record Surplus. In 1992, the deficit was $290 billion, a record dollar high. In 2000, we have a projected budget surplus of $211 billion -- the largest dollar surplus on record (even after adjusting for inflation) and the largest as a share of our economy since 1948. This is the first time we have had three surpluses in a row in more than a half century.

Over 22 Million New Jobs. The American economy has created 22.1 million new jobs since 1993, the most jobs ever created under a single Administration -- and more new jobs than Presidents Reagan and Bush created during their three terms. 92 percent (20 million) of the new jobs have been created in the private sector, the highest percentage in 50 years. Under President Clinton and Vice President Gore, the economy has added an average of 248,000 jobs per month, the highest under any President. This compares to 52,000 per month under President Bush and 167,000 per month under President Reagan.

Fastest and Longest Real Wage Growth in Over Three Decades. In the last 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased 3.8 percent -- faster than the rate of inflation. The United States has had five consecutive years of real wage growth -- the longest consecutive increase since the 1960s. Since 1993, real wages are up 6.8 percent, after declining 4.3 percent during the Reagan and Bush years.

Unemployment Is Lowest in Over Three Decades. Unemployment is down from 7.5 percent in 1992 to 4.0 percent in June 2000 - nearly the lowest unemployment rate in more than thirty years. The unemployment rate has fallen for seven years in a row, and has remained below 5 percent for 36 months in a row. We also have the lowest unemployment for African Americans and Hispanics on record and the lowest unemployment for women in more than 40 years.

  • Most Rapid Growth in Construction Jobs in 50 Years: Under President Clinton and Vice President Gore, construction jobs are coming back. After losing 662,000 jobs in construction during the previous four years, 2.2 million new construction jobs have been added since January 1993 -- a faster annual rate than any other administration since Harry S Truman.
  • Manufacturing Jobs are Up: Although economic troubles in East Asia have dampened U.S. exports and reduced manufacturing jobs over the last 18 months, manufacturing jobs are up 252,000 overall under President Clinton, after declining by 2.1 million under Presidents Bush and Reagan.
  • Auto Jobs Are Up: After losing 46,000 jobs in the auto industry during the Bush Administration, 161,000 new auto jobs were added since 1993 -- the fastest annual rate of auto job growth since the Johnson Administration. And for the first time since the 1970s, America led the world in auto production for four years in a row.
  • Building and Construction Unemployment Rate Cut in Half: When President Clinton took office, the unemployment rate in the construction industry was 14.5 percent. In July 1999, unemployment in the construction rate had dropped to 6.9 percent.

Highest Homeownership Rate in History. In 1999, the homeownership rate was 66.8 percent -- the highest ever recorded. Minority homeownership rates were also the highest ever recorded.

Investing in the American People

Saving Social Security. President Clinton and Vice President Gore have coupled fiscal discipline with a commitment to preserve and protect Social Security. President Clinton has proposed extending the program's solvency until at least 2057 by paying down the national debt and dedicating the interest savings to Social Security. President Clinton has also called for a bipartisan effort to save Social Security for 75 years. Thanks in part to the Clinton-Gore economic strategy of fiscal discipline, which created the conditions for the longest economic expansion in U.S. history, the life of the Social Security trust fund has been extended until 2037.

  • The Clinton-Gore Administration opposes plans that would totally privatize the Social Security system and require raising payroll taxes, the retirement age or both.

Eliminated the Retirement Earnings Test. President Clinton fought for and signed bipartisan legislation to eliminate the confusing and out-dated Social Security earnings test to encourage work and earnings among older Americans.

Preserving and Protecting Medicare. In the 1997 Balanced Budget, the Clinton-Gore Administration protected, modernized and extended the life of the Medicare Trust Fund while offering new options for patient choice and preventive care. The President and Vice President have also proposed adding an affordable, optional prescription drug benefit to the Medicare program and have proposed taking Medicare off-budget to prevent Medicare surpluses from being spent for other purposes. In 1993, Medicare was expected to run out of money in 1999. Now, the life of the Trust Fund has been extended until 2023.

Strong Commitment to Public Education. President Clinton's Class Size Reduction Initiative has already put nearly 30,000 additional teachers in the classroom, and last year the President won a second installment on his plan to hire 100,000 new, well-trained teachers to reduce class sizes in the early grades. President Clinton enacted the largest investment in education in 30 years by signing the 1997 Balanced Budget Act. President Clinton and Vice President Gore are now fighting to rebuild and modernize crumbling classrooms across the country, guarantee safe schools and protect students from gun violence.

  • Since 1992 test scores are rising, even amongst our most disadvantaged students. In fact, in 1998, students posted the highest math scores in 27 years on the SAT. And the number of high school students taking Advanced Placement exams tripled between 1984 and 1997.

Opening the Doors of Higher Education. President Clinton and Vice President Gore have made the largest investment in higher education since the G.I. Bill, opening the doors of college to every American who is willing to work for it. Thanks to their leadership Americans now have a $1,500 tax credit for the first two years of college; tax deductions for interest on student loans; education IRAs that allow families to withdraw money to send children to college penalty free; the highest maximum Pell Grant award ever; more work-study opportunities; and AmeriCorps national service opportunities that help participants earn money for college.

  • 67 percent of high school graduates went on to college in 1997, compared to 53 percent in 1983. The number of African American high school graduates going on to college increased from 39 percent in 1983 to 60 percent in 1997 -- the highest number ever.

Expanding Health Care Coverage. President Clinton and Vice President Gore won funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to provide insurance for up to 5 million uninsured children, and have instituted new outreach initiatives to enroll additional eligible children. President Clinton signed Health Insurance Reform that limits exclusions for pre-existing conditions, makes coverage portable and helps individuals who lose jobs maintain coverage.

Fighting to Pass a Strong, Enforceable Patients' Bill of Rights. The President and Vice President have repeatedly called on Congress to pass a strong, enforceable patients' bill of rights that assures Americans access to health care specialists, access to emergency rooms and a meaningful right to appeal HMO decisions. Leading by example, President Clinton has already extended these rights to 85 million Americans covered by Medicare, Medicaid and federal health plans (including members of Congress) by executive order.

Tax Cuts for Working Families. President Clinton and Vice-President Gore have worked to enact targeted middle-class tax cuts including a $500 child tax credit, $1,500 Hope Scholarship tax credit for the first two years of college, a 20 percent Lifetime Learning education tax credit, and an expanded Earned Income Tax Credit. The EITC expansion alone has provided 15 million Americans with additional tax relief, and helped lift 4.3 million people out of poverty in 1998.

  • Because of the Administration's support for targeted tax cuts for middle-class families, the tax burden on the typical middle-class family of four is the lowest it has been in a generation. The Tax Foundation, a conservative policy group, found that the median family pays about the same percentage of its income in federal taxes as it did in 1955.

Standing up for Working Families

Increased the Minimum Wage. The minimum wage has risen from $4.25 to $5.15 per hour, increasing wages for 10 million workers. The President and Vice President have called for an additional increase to $6.15 over two years.

Signed the Family and Medical Leave Act. Family and Medical Leave has allowed workers to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for family members without fear of losing their jobs. Millions of workers have already benefited from FMLA since its enactment.

  • President Clinton has proposed expanding FMLA to allow workers to take up to 24 unpaid hours off each year for school and early childhood education activities, routine family medical care, and caring for an elderly relative.

Fighting for Equal Pay. The President and Vice President have called on Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would strengthen laws prohibiting wage discrimination. This year, the President has proposed a $27 million initiative to help the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission and the Labor Department fight wage discrimination. The President's budget also includes a $20 million National Science Foundation initiative to promote the full participation of women in science and technology fields.

Expanding Affordable, Quality Child Care and Early Childhood Programs. Since 1993, federal funding for child care has more than doubled, helping parents pay for the care of about 1.5 million children in 1998. Since 1993, the Clinton-Gore Administration has increased funding for the Head Start program by 90 percent, and in FY 2000, the program will serve 160,000 more children than in 1993.

Expanded Job Training To Help Dislocated Workers. In 1993, training was available for just 300,000 dislocated workers. President Clinton's 2001 budget would triple funding for the dislocated worker program over 1992 levels, which would serve almost one million workers. President Clinton has also helped millions of American workers increase their skills and earning power by making it easier to get student loans, sponsoring School-To-Work programs, supporting and passing Lifetime Learning tax credits for education and training and launching AmeriCorps national service.

Increasing Pension Security. President Clinton fought for legislation that has expanded pension coverage, made pensions more secure for 42 million American workers and retirees, and simplified pension plan administration. The Administration is also promoting new efforts to encourage retirement savings and make pensions more portable.

  • The Clinton-Gore Administration has stepped up enforcement to protect workers' pensions, recovering $20 million for plans that represent 400,000 employees and passed laws cracking down on companies that raid their workers' pension funds. And under the Clinton-Gore Administration, the Pension Benefits Guaranty Corporation reached its best financial condition in over 20 years.

Safer Workplaces. President Clinton has revitalized enforcement at the Labor Department by adding more front-line enforcers, supported the comprehensive Occupational Safety and Health Reform Act and opposed efforts that would make workplaces less safe. Workplace injuries and illnesses are occurring at the lowest rate since the government started keeping statistics in the early 1970s.

Supporting the Right of All Workers to Organize. President Clinton and Vice President Gore opposed the Republican "salting" bill that would penalize workers who want to organize unions. The President also won $20 million in the FY 2000 budget to create a new arm of the International Labor Organization, to work with developing countries to put in place basic labor protections, safe workplaces, and the right to organize, so that workers everywhere can enjoy the advantages of a strong social safety net.

Protecting Collective Bargaining. President Clinton and Vice President Gore have fought to end striker replacement and opposed the Team Act, which would interfere with the ability of workers to organize and bargain collectively. And President Clinton has appointed members of the NLRB who believe in collective bargaining and can be fair to workers. The Administration has also played an active role in helping to resolve tough labor disputes, bringing parties together to reach agreement. These collective bargaining disputes have included: Northwest Airlines, American Airlines, Long Island Rail Road, UPS, Teamster national trucking contract, Amtrak, Mineworkers and Bituminous Coal Operators Association.

Working to End Striker Replacement. In 1993, as one of his first acts as president, President Clinton issued an Executive Order prohibiting federal agencies from doing business with employers that permanently replace striking workers. The Clinton-Gore Administration supports legislation that would have prohibited all companies from permanently replacing striking workers.

Ended The Federal Government's Anti-Worker Policies. In 1993, President Clinton rescinded executive orders that continued to punish air traffic controllers who went on strike, prohibited pre-hire agreements on federal construction projects and required employers to provide one-sided anti-union information to their employees.

  • President Clinton signed Hatch Act Reform into law, allowing federal civil servants to more actively participate in the political process

Cracked Down On Child Labor and Sweatshops. President Clinton and Vice President Gore are working to end child labor and sweatshop working conditions throughout the world. President Clinton signed an executive order prohibiting federal agencies from buying goods made with forced or indentured child labor. In December 1999 President Clinton ratified the International Labor Organization's Convention on the Elimination of Child Labor. The President won funding in the FY 2000 budget for key international priorities, including $30 million for the ILO's International Program for the Elimination of Child Labor.

  • President Clinton's Sweatshop Initiative has led to the creation of a code of conduct written by human rights leaders, union officials, clergy and apparel manufacturers. The code places a cap on weekly work hours, provides for mandatory days off and requires that workers be paid a minimum wage. It also forbids child labor and demands safe working conditions. Ten major apparel and footwear makers have agreed to participate, including Levi Strauss, Nike, Patagonia and adidas. More than 120 colleges and universities have also required that all their licensed merchandise meet the minimum standards.

Campaigned Against So-Called "Paycheck Protection" Measures. President Clinton and Vice President Gore have stood up to right wing ballot measures that would harm working families. Both the President and Vice President helped in the fight to defeat California's Proposition 226, which would limit the ability of unions to speak out on behalf of their members.

President Clinton and Vice President Gore have stood with working families to prevent Congress from gutting laws that protect working families including:

  • Prevailing Wages: including the Davis-Bacon Act and Service Contract Act, which guarantee federal contract workers fair and livable wages.
  • Worker Safety: The Clinton-Gore Administration has fought efforts to gut OSHA and MHSA standards and vetoed attempts to cut worker safety enforcement budgets.
  • Minimum Wages, Overtime, and 40-Hour Weeks: The Clinton-Gore Administration has opposed and vetoed attempts to roll back provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
  • Collective Bargaining: President Clinton has revitalized the NLRB and fought attempts to cut its budget and weaken its power to stand up for workers.

Updated July 2000

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