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October 30, 1998

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The American economy continues to expand opportunity, create wealth, and lift the hopes of working families. In the face of world-wide economic turmoil, our economy remains the strongest in a generation. Now we cannot turn back from the strategy that created the conditions for this enduring economic expansion.

President Bill Clinton
October 30, 1998

Today, President Clinton announces: the release of economic numbers which show that our economy remains solid and strong, as Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the third quarter was 3.3 percent at an annual rate; and new efforts by the world community to support countries suffering through difficult economic times. The President will also travel to New York to discuss the important work he hopes to do with the next Congress to save Social Security for the 21st Century.

America's Economy Remains Solid And Strong. In the third quarter, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth was a strong 3.3 percent, at an annual rate. Today's economic numbers are strong evidence that America's economy remains solid: unemployment is at a 28-year low, core inflation is at a 32-year low, and the national homeownership rate is the highest in history. President Clinton's three-part economic strategy of fiscal discipline, investment in our people, and opening markets abroad to American goods has worked for America:

  • Strong Growth In The Private Sector. Since President Clinton took office, the private sector of the economy has grown by 3.9 percent per year, a higher rate of growth than under either President Reagan or President Bush;
  • The First Budget Surplus In A Generation. This week, President Clinton announced that the budget surplus for the last fiscal year was $70 billion, the first budget surplus since 1969, the largest monetary surplus in history, and the largest surplus as a percentage of the GDP since the 1950's;
  • Inflation Is At It's Lowest Rate Since 1961. In the third quarter, the GDP price index rose 0.8 percent at an annual rate. Over the past year, inflation rose just 0.9 percent, the smallest increase in 37 years;
  • The First Investment-Led Expansion In Three Decades. While investment in business equipment rose only slightly last quarter, it is up 13.3 percent over the past year, and since President Clinton took office, business investment has been faster -- 12.2 percent -- than under any President since Kennedy.

Continued Growth Depends On A Stronger International Economy. In order to ensure our economy remains strong, we must help ensure that foreign markets, which account for one-third of the growth in our economy, rebound and begin to regain strength. Today, the President will announce that the world's leading economic countries have agreed to: (1) establish a new "precautionary" line of credit, anchored in the IMF, to help countries with sound economic policies ward off the global financial crisis; (2) establish a new World Bank emergency fund to provide support in times of crisis to the most vulnerable members of society and to encourage the World Bank to leverage private sector investments in countries affected by the crisis; and (3) a detailed new plan for greater openness and stronger standards for finance in the international marketplace.

President Clinton Has Fixed The Budget Deficit, Now We Must Fix Our Generational Deficit. Now that the budget is balanced, and is running a $70 billion surplus, we have a unique opportunity to save Social Security for the 21st Century. When members of Congress sought to drain this hard-won surplus with everything from new spending on government programs to costly tax cuts, President Clinton stood firm, putting the long-term economic interests of our country ahead of short-run political schemes by demanding that we reserve every penny of the budget surplus until we have strengthened Social Security for the 21st Century. President Clinton's commitment to "save Social Security first" is right for our economy, and right for the future

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