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U.S. Senator Walter Mondale speaks on proposed Nixon budget social budget cuts as military spending continues.


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SPEAKER 1: This is not a policy of restraint. It is nothing less than a wholesale retreat from our commitment to social and economic justice. As a major newspaper recently said, "This is a break with more than 40 years of essentially liberal momentum supported by the dominant elements in both parties that has carried this nation forward to a more just and humane society within the framework of enlightened capitalism." It's a call to abandon our national commitment to a better life for the average American, and especially the poor.

The administration asks us to forget our commitments to people and to spend the money elsewhere. While they are destroying these human programs, they propose an increase to $10 billion for military and other foreign aid. They want $8 billion for new Pentagon spending as the war ends. And we're told they may ask 7.5 billion more for the two Vietnams.

Yet their budget contains no proposals to close loopholes through which the wealthy escape their fair share of tax burdens. It conceals subsidies for executive jets and business luncheons. It doesn't deal with cost overruns in military spending.

As one commentator said, "This is free enterprise for the ordinary citizen and socialism for the rich." The issue is clear. We can continue our commitment to social and economic justice, or we can turn away.

The president has made his recommendation. His budget comforts the comfortable. But when it comes to helping those in need it says, if at first we don't succeed, quit. We must do better than that.

Now, of course, there are limits to what we can afford. And as practically everyone in Congress agrees, we must establish a non-inflationary budget ceiling. But we will not forfeit congressional responsibility to decide how funds are spent within that ceiling. We will not give any president absolute power over how your money is spent.

If we take a tough look at the proposed expenditures, we can easily save $8 to $10 billion in military waste, foreign aid, tax giveaways, and inefficient social programs. Over 3 billion could be raised simply by ending super depreciation breaks for big business. And we could responsibly cut Pentagon waste by 5 billion, especially now that the war is ending.

I believe we should invest these hard-earned tax dollars wisely in carefully-designed programs meeting human needs. We cannot do everything at once, but we can begin bringing health care within the reach of every american family, strengthening our rural and urban communities, improving housing opportunities, and we can begin mounting an effective campaign against crime, reducing pollution, cutting unemployment, improving education, and bringing dignity to the sick and the aged. With these savings, we could find public service jobs for thousands of unemployed Americans.

We could double Head Start. We could prevent the proposed new hospital charges for Medicare and roll back monthly Medicare premiums. We could ease the financial crisis in public education and relieve the growing pressure of the property tax. We could restore disaster aid and housing programs, and we could turn the tide against crime by expanding police protection and improving our criminal justice system and protect our environment to the fullest extent of the law.


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