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February 10, 1998

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For five years, our nation has pursued a new economic strategy for the Information Age. We have reduced the deficit to slash interest rates and spur private sector growth; opened markets to create high wage jobs; and invested in the skills and education of our people so that every American can reap the rewards of growth. All around us, we see the results: revitalized basic industries... thriving new industries... an investment boom... and a vibrant American economy.

President Bill Clinton
February 10, 1998

Today, President Clinton sends to Congress the annual Economic Report of the President. The Report makes clear that the American economy is strong. Incomes are up and taxes are down. To keep the economy growing and widen the circle of opportunity, President Clinton is: calling for continued fiscal responsibility, working to save Social Security first, preparing the American people for a brighter future.

The Strongest Economy In A Generation. President Clinton's three-part economic strategy --cutting the deficit, investing in our people, opening foreign markets to American goods -- is working for America's families. Since 1993 it has helped bring about: nearly 15 million new jobs; the lowest unemployment rate in a quarter century; the highest homeownership rate on record; the lowest core inflation rate in three decades; an increase in family income of nearly $2,200; and, this year, the lowest Federal tax burden on typical middle-income families in more than 20 years.

Higher Incomes for America's Families. Under the President's plan, the incomes of America's working families are up:

  • Typical family income is up $2,169 since 1993, when adjusted for inflation;
  • In 1997, real average hourly earnings increased 2.3% -- the fasted real wage growth since 1976;
  • Since 1993, every income group -- from the most well-off to the poorest -- experienced a real increase in their income, with the poorest 20% of American households experiencing the biggest percentage increase (6.8%);
  • The President signed a 90-cent increase in the minimum wage, benefiting nearly 10 million Americans -- for someone working full-time, this increase meant an additional $1,800 per year in income.
Lower Federal Tax Burden For Middle-Income Families. Because of the President's 1993 Economic Plan and the 1997 Balanced Budget Agreement, the typical middle-income family -- with an income of about $50,000 -- will have the lowest Federal tax burden in 20 years (1976); for a family with an income of about $25,000, the average federal tax burden will be the lowest in more than three decades (1966).

The Balanced Budget: Building On Success. The President's new budget builds on this record and provides targeted tax relief for child care, education, and the environment --all fully paid for. These targeted tax relief efforts would:

  • Make Child Care More Affordable, increasing the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit for 3 million working families;
  • Increase Energy Efficiency and Improve the Environment, investing $3.6 billion over the next 5 years in tax cuts for energy efficient purchases and renewable energy;
  • Promote Expanded Retirement Savings, making contributions of up to $2,000 to an IRA through a payroll deduction excluded from the employee's income for tax purposes
  • Expand Education Incentives, helping modernize and build over 5,000 public schools.
  • Help Develop More Affordable Housing, expanding the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit by 40 percent, helping lead to an additional 150,000 to 180,000 units of affordable housing over five years.

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