Contents of the PEROT.TXT file
VIRGINIANS FOR PEROT
EXCERPTS FROM H. ROSS PEROT SPEECH
BEFORE THE NATIONAL PRESS CLUB
ON MARCH 16, 1992
ROSS PEROT ON AMERICA:
We own this country. It belongs to us. . . . Today we are a mature
country with a large population. We have occupied the land and creatively
tapped our natural resources. We simply cannot continue to spend beyond
our means. When you're small and growing you can bury some of those
mistakes, but at this pint in time, you cannot. And when you have
creatively tapped your minerals and natural resources, it is brains and
We don't like to accept this, but we live in a tiny little world and we're
stuck with international competition. You don't have to like it but you're
stuck with it -- somebody wins and somebody loses and they don't even give
you a red ribbon when yo u lose in business.
We've got to outthink, outinvent and outproduce our international business
competitors if we want to maintain the high standard of living that our
people have enjoyed until now. Many of our international competitors have
an advantage over us at this point . . . .
We had the world's greatest economic engine that let us do these things.
We let it slip away and with it went a significant part of our tax base.
And yet we continued to spend. Our present policies will move us from
superpower to third world statu s.
ABOUT THE DEFICIT:
At his point in time it is absolutely irresponsible for both the White
House and Congress not to be linking arms, working together night and day
to try to fix these economic problems. Unfortunately, [Washington] has
become a town filled with sound b ites, shell games, handlers, media stunt
men, who posture, create images and talk, shoot off roman candles, but
don't ever accomplish anything. And if they want to debate that, I'll buy
'em an hour of television
time. . . .
We're $4 trillion dollars in debt. We owe another ... $1 trillion in
unfunded federal pension liability. Any question in your mind we're going
to have to cough that up someday?
The additional debt piled up in 1992, just this one year, the election
year, will exceed the total expenditures of the federal government of the
first 155 years of tour country's existence.
The total national debt was only $1 trillion in 1980 when President Reagan
took office. It is now $4 trillion. Maybe it was voodoo economics.
Whatever it was, we are now in deep voodoo, I'll tell you that.
In 1992, we're going to go in for another $400 billion.
ABOUT HOW WE GOT IN SUCH A MESS:
At the tax and budget summit in 1990 -- this is a study in White House
arrogance, as far as I'm concerned -- we were told that if we agreed to the
$166 billion in new taxes, the 1991 deficit would be $63 billion. The
following April we said, tops, i t's going to be $318 billion. That's a
$255 billion mistake. That would get you fired in the most soft-headed
company in corporate America.
In addition ... nobody ever told me that while they were increasing our
taxes by $166 billion, they increased federal spending by $304 billion, or
$1.83 in new spending for every tax dollar raised.
Well, I'm not too smart, but I can figure out that we spent more that we
took in. Now, as far as I'm concerned, we were conned. And who conned us?
The people who are working for us, our elected officials.
We were told at the tax and budget summit that the 5-year budget deficit
would be $92 billion; now we're told it will be $1 trillion -- that's just
a $900 billion mistake. The chief financial officer of publicly held
corporation would be sent to pri son if he kept books like our government.
ABOUT WHAT ALL THIS FEDERAL SPENDING BOUGHT:
We're the largest debtor nation on earth; we're the most violent, crime-
ridden nation in the industrialized world; millions of innocent people have
created their own prisons -- they have to put bars on their windows, bars
on their doors because we ha ve abandoned their neighborhoods to crime.
We spend over $400 billion a year on education including colleges, yet we
rank at the bottom of the industrialized world in terms of achievement. We
have the largest number of functional illiterates in the industrialized
world. We've got all these things that don't work well. We spend a lot on
education, it doesn't work. We spend more that anybody else on health care
and yet we rank behind 15 nations in life expectancy and 22 other nations
in infant mortality. We've got 5 percent of the wor ld's population, 50
percent of the world's cocaine use and until we get rid of that, we're
going nowhere. Getting rid of it won't be pretty.
Our system of justice has failed the people. We've got 5 percent of the
world's population, 2/3 of the world's lawyers and the average fellow on
the street can't afford one to go to court -- strange. Young lawyers out
of law school make more that j udges; this is a legal system upside down.
New York, Washington, Philadelphia, Detroit and many other major cities
that are dirty, run down, ravaged with drugs, crime and violence. What's
wrong with us?
We've got the murder capital of the states here [in Washington]. Fifth and
sixth graders -- 31 percent of them have witnessed a shooting; 43 percent a
mugging; 67 percent have witnessed a drug deal and 75 percent have
witnessed an arrest. Think abo ut it. Is this (Washington, DC) an
alabaster city gleaming, undimmed by human tears?
ON WHO BEARS RESPONSIBILITY:
Now, who's at fault? The first thing you have to do in our country is
blame somebody, right? Well, go home tonight and look in the mirror. . . .
You and I are at fault because we own this country and there is the problem
in a nutshell. We have ab dicated our ownership responsibility. As owners
of this country, we hod the future of this country in the palm of our
hands. . . .
I feel that as owners of this country that if we're going anywhere you've
got to [give the elected officials] a message: You work for us; we don't
work for you. Under the Constitution, you are our servants. Grow up!
Work as a team. Serve the peo ple. Solve the problem, move on to the next
one. Build a better country and stop throwing away money we don't have.
WHAT AMERICA NEEDS TO DO:
We need fundamental, long term solutions to these problems, and at this
point we're running around Washington with a hypodermic needle loaded with
novocaine, trying to give everybody a quick, temporary pain relief, just to
get past the election. The se quick fixes will with certainty produce
additional long-term damage to our economy.
The best analogy I can give you is that you've got an old racehorse; he's
got a good record. he's got bad knees, but we've got to get one more race
out of him. We shoot him up. He runs the race but that's his last race
because we've wrecked his kn ees.
The United States government is the world's largest and most complex
business. Anybody want to disagree with that thought? Think of any more
complex business. Now for a moment, let's assume you won the country 100
percent. With that thought in mi nd, just ask yourself which of these
candidates for president you would let run your business?
Here are a few basics -- things we've got to do. We're deeply in debt.
We're spending beyond our means. We've got to protect the job base. . . .
That's where the taxes come from. People who do not work cannot pay taxes.
. . . We need a growing job base to produce a growing tax base. We need
tax payers not tax users. We need strong, growing companies to keep
America at work and that has got to be our highest priority.
We can help in the government level by ceasing the adversarial practices
with business and not getting our pockets picked in international trade
negotiations. In our country there is an adversarial relationship between
government and business and ou r international competitors who are winning,
there is an intelligent, supportive relationship between government and
Our educational system has to be the finest in the world. We know what
needs to be done. Let's stop reading to children in school. Let's stop
having two-day summits with governors that don't amount to anything, and
let's get down to blocking and t ackling and fixing it now because you
won't have the benefits for 15-20 years. Every day is precious and we just
talk about it.
You've got to have strategic plans industry by industry -- there are
industries we've just got to keep in this country and we're losing them
right and left. We've got to target them; they will create millions of
jobs. We've got to make sure that we 're first and best. In Japan, that's
called MITI. Study it. Analyze it. Improve on it, instead of trying to
dismantle our companies.
Every day, Washington's principal contribution to American industry is to
try to break its legs every day. Anybody that's a business man will tell
We think 10 minutes ahead. Japan thinks 10 years ahead. I suggest we
start thinking 15 years ahead and ace 'em.
Our current tax system is like an old inner tube with 1,000 patches. I
suggest we throw it out and start with a blank sheet of paper. Set the
criteria. Number 1, it must be fair. Number 1A, it's got to raise the
revenues. Number 2, it should be paperless for most Americans. This is
nothing more than running several different computer models, building
consensus with the American people and moving forward with a new tax system
Philosophically, I'm for free, fair trade. But we don't have free, fair
trade. The White House is all excited about the new trade agreement with
Mexico. This agreement will move the highest paid, blue-collar jobs from
the US to Mexico. This is go ing to create serious damage to our tax base
during this critical period. We have got to manufacture here not there to
keep our tax base intact.
We've got to have an intelligent energy policy. We've known that since the
1970s. Nobody wants to touch it. We'd better get started. We're divided
by racial strife. I just hate this. Look, we're not Japan where
everybody's same race, same relig ion, same background, same philosophy.
We're a melting pot, right? Okay, we ought to love one another and that
takes care of most of us. Then, for the guys who can't quite cross that
bridge, we ought to get along with one another, because divided teams lose
and united teams win. And I am sick and tired of watching both political
parties try to divide our country during the campaign.
You say, alright, Ross, which one of the presidential candidates can fix
this? Solomon can't fix this. The wisest man that ever lived. You know
why? Because we have to fix it. You cannot just go vote on November, send
some poor devil up there an d go home. You're going to have to get in the
ring, stay in the ring, and act like you own this country.
Our founders created a government that came from us. Please listen
carefully to this. We now have a government that comes at us; the process
has reversed itself. That's why you have to get in the ring. You must
never leave the ring again. Once m illions of good, decent citizens assume
this ownership role, anything is possible.
If you had problems of this magnitude in your business, you'd grab control.
You the people must take control of this great country.
You've got to stop deficit spending immediately. You've got to replace
Gramm-Rudman with a real bill that cuts out all tricks, loopholes and
improper accounting procedures. You've got to take away Congress's right
to raise taxes -- now, there's a r adical idea. Say, well that means a
constitutional amendment. Fine! Why? These boys are drinking too much,
that's why, you've got to take the bottle away from 'em for awhile at
Now, if they need more money, just put it on the ballot and let the owners
of the country sign off. The board of directors and the stockholders of a
company would want to. Well, that would be controversial, but that's why I
put it on there.
Step one is stop the bleeding. Step two is make sure you don't just tax
and spend, tax and spend, tax and spend.
Now, then, here's one. From now on if they want a raise, put it on the
ballot. They're all federal employees. You own this country. Any
publicly owned company, you can't give yourself a raise. I think the
Congress would be a lot more comfortable with that. The Congress, White
House, the whole bunch, if they want a raise just put it on the ballot.
If we think they're doing a good job, we'll give it to 'em.
Give the President the line item veto to get rid of pork barrel and waste.
Now, I say that for three reasons. Number one, we ought to do it. Number
2, I'd like to see what he does with it. And number 3, I'd like for him to
stop whining about it.
Finally, Congress absolutely must not exempt itself from the laws it
imposes on us. You know all about that. This includes but is not limited
to the disability act, the equal opportunity act, the occupational safety
act, etc., etc.
Cut the retirement plans. It's two to three times as good as the one we
have ourselves. It's unrealistic for the servants of the people to have a
better retirement plan than the people.
Restructure the whole system. I can summarize what I've been trying to
say, where citizens come to Washington to serve us not to cash in. Require
the President and the Congress to turn in excess funds from each campaign.
Some guys have war chests now of up to $13 million-$15 million. The
incumbent doesn't have a chance. The founders of this country would be
shocked to know that.
Stop cashing in on public service. Pass a law [that] former federal
officials, elected, appointed and career service officials, cannot serve as
lobbyists for domestic interests for five years after they leave office.
They cannot lobby for foreign c ountries, companies or individuals for 10
years and there are criminal penalties if you do. ...Pass a law to make it
a criminal offense for foreign companies or individuals to influence laws
or policies with money ...Pass a law that no former Preside nt, Vice
President, Cabinet Director, CIA Director, Federal Reserve Board Chairman,
Senate Majority Leader, Speaker of the House, and other you may want to put
on the list can ever lobby for domestic or foreign interest, accept
gratuities or fees, or cash in in any way on their service. They came to
serve us, not to cash in.
Eliminate PACS. Make our elected officials responsive to the people.
Eliminate all possibilities of all special interests giving large sums of
money to candidates. Leave no loopholes. Limit political contributions to
$1,000 -- no large gifts. Sh orten the time for campaigns -- cut 'em to 5
months; that will cut the costs.
Now here's a weird one: why do we have elections on Tuesday? Working
fellow can't get there. Let's have elections on Saturday and Sunday. Why
can't we leave the polls open two days. If anybody has any good reason,
call me collect.
I would like everybody to vote. I would like everybody to know the issues
-- not be sound bitten to death -- then go vote, and make it easy for
people to vote. It's really fun when you get Seventh Day Adventists who
say, can't go this day, can't go that day -- if you do Saturday and
Sunday, you can kind of handle everybody. Baptists can vote on Saturday,
folks that go to church on Saturday can vote on Sunday; it just all works
No exit polls -- criminal offense if anybody prints exit polls. And no
data from East Coast polling booths until the last booth closes in Hawaii
so that they don't influence the election.
Now we're getting things a little bit straightened out. You say, this is
just basic simple stuff. Well, let's start with basics. Make adequate
television time available for all candidates so that incumbent doesn't have
an advantage. Get rid of al l the freebies -- things that just look bad --
the free haircuts, the big gymnasium, one electrician stopped me and said,
why don't these boys join a health club, it's hard times. Free
prescription drugs, parking places, and so on and so forth.
Get rid of the 1,200 airplanes worth $2 billion that are used to fly our
servants around like royalty. Keep an airplane for the President if you
want to, downsize it to a Gulfstream. The Cold War is over. It costs the
taxpayers several hundred tho usand dollars every time the Vice President
goes to play golf. Here's my advice. Let him, let everybody else that's
up here, go to the airport, get in line, lose their luggage, eat a bad
meal, and get a taste of real life. I don't want to leave an ybody out so
just tell anyone who needs to go to the dentists to just catch the bus.
Slash the White House staffs, the Cabinet staffs, the congressional staffs.
If I've learned anything it's that nothing happens at headquarters, all the
action is in the field.
In summary, we own this country. Government should come from us. It now
comes at us with a propaganda machine in Washington that Hitler's
propaganda chief Goebles would have just envied. We've got to put the
country back in control of the owners. In plain Texas talk, it's time to
take out the trash and clean out the barn or it's going to be too late.
We've got a choice, we can wait until the clock stops ticking and it will
take us two decades to fix it, or we can move now. It's our choice.
ABOUT RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT:
I'm a businessman -- I finally said, look, there's one scenario and only
one scenario under which I'd run. If ordinary people in 50 states went
out on the streets on their own initiative -- not programmed, not
orchestrated like rabbits the way we t ry to do everything now -- did it on
their own and put me on the ballot in all 50 states -- not 48, not 49 but
50 -- then I would run -- right now, to my amazement, and I guess to
everybody's amazement, there are people at work in 50 states on their own
initiative. Will it happen? I don't know. The ball is in the owner's
ABOUT WHERE TO CUT SPENDING:
The President's own comptroller says we waste $180 billion a year through
fraud and mismanagement. I saw a statement the other day that said, 'but
gee, it would take $1 billion to find it.' That's a nice return. And
everybody that's ever been arou nd the IRS knows that if you had a decent
computer system we'd collect another $100 billion a year. Well that can't
cost much compared to picking up $100 billion. But by the time they get it
through procurement we'll all be dead. No we're up to $1 80 billion.
[Then, charge Europe and Asia each $100 billion a year for military
protection.] You've got an unstable Russia. You've got a hungry bear,
right? Nobody knows what's going to happen in Russia. Only a fool would
shut down the ability to keep Europe and Asia stable, because the bear can
go two ways. When you get hungry, you're going to go for food, for
things, right? It's a short trip to Europe.
[Then], if you really want to get controversial, just don't give folks that
don't need it their social security and medicare. For example, I get along
all right without mine. I had an economist tell me that that would net
$100 billion a year.
We're now up to $480 billion a year and we' haven't even gotten serious.
There is waste and abuse everywhere. I think the $180 billion is low, but
I'll take it. In the real world, we've gotta step in and clean all this
stuff up. We just spend, sp end, spend. Most importantly we've got to
protect that job base and build that job base because a growing tax base is
fundamentally important to getting this $4 trillion paid off and giving our
children a better future.
ABOUT HEALTH CARE:
In our country, we go from great idea to mass production to failure. In
the engineering process, you do pilot projects. I'd love to see three
great health care plans being piloted with you the American people knowing
all the details about all three and the people responsible for each of the
three having the ability to fine tune, fine tune, fine tune so that at the
end of the pilot, it is obvious which one best serves the American people.
ABOUT USING GOVERNMENT POWER TO IMPROVE AMERICA'S TRADE POSITION:
The government gave it away, the government's going to have to give it
back. We don't have anybody who knows how to horse trade ... that's our
problem ... These negotiations are so well run on their side and so poorly
run on our side that you could make a tragic comedy on it and run it on
television. The said thing is whole industries have disappeared because of
that. You've got to get people in there who know how to negotiate. We
have people who know how to negotiate, but it seems like they get people
who blew up balloons in the last election -- let them do it for awhile,
until they have enough contact with the other side, then they become a
foreign lobbyist for the other side at $30,000 bucks a month. I'm not too
smart, but I can fig ure out why that doesn't work.
Just a short answer -- I think it's a woman's decision.
ABOUT GUN CONTROL:
Lots of children are carrying guns to school. You can't have learning in
that environment. Obviously we've got to clean this up. The Brady bill,
you have to register and what have you, well that's not going to slow the
bad guys down.... Let's go t hrough the engineering process and find out
what it would take to really nail this thing. Each of these issues -- how
do you fix it, get two or three plans, experiment with each of them, see
which ones really work, come to the American people in the electronic town
hall of television and say, alright, here we are on gun control --
1,2,3,4,5 We believe this is the answer. You just send a bullhorn message
back to Congress and we will move swiftly and surely to fix that and move
on to the next o ne. Gun control is a very difficult issue, but what is
the objective? Get the guns out of the hands of the bad guys. You don't
care if people collect guns. You don't care if people have guns for
hunting, you care like the devil if somebody's goin g to show up on the
street corner and shoot you because he's bored and that happens in our
country now. That can be fixed, but you can't fix it ducking it and you
can't worry about all these powerful lobbies. You've got to figure out
what is good f or the owners of the country and do it.
Never forget that the Indian came here from Asia, he survived through
Alaska, Canada, the United States, the desert, the rain forests of South
America, all the way to the tip of South America and built great
civilizations. Nothing ever stopped him u ntil we put him on the
reservation. Don't ever put anybody on the reservation again. Our current
welfare system puts people on the reservation. The industrial revolution
occurred. The Indian was out of the game and it will take several decades
to put this noble hunter back in the game. Any program we have should be
to put people back in the game, not to put them on the reservation....
Always have a plan to put them back out hunting.
WHO IS H. ROSS PEROT?
Ross Perot was born June 27, 1930, in Texarkana, Texas. He grew up there
where he attended public schools and Texarkana Junior College. Perot's
parents, Ross and Lulu May, were the major influences in both his and his
sister Bette's lives. Althoug h the family lived in modes circumstances,
Perot repeatedly has said that he was born rich because of his parents.
From age sever, Perot worked at various jobs, including: Breaking horses,
selling Christmas cards, selling garden seeds, selling magazines, buying
and selling bridles and saddles, buying and selling horses and calves,
delivering newspapers, and coll ecting for classified ads. He entered the
Naval Academy in 1949, and graduate in 1953. While there, he served as
class president, chairman of the honor committee, and battalion commander.
After graduation, Perot served at sea for four years on a d estroyer and
In 1956, he married Margot Birmingham from Greensburg, Pennsylvania, whom
he met while a midshipman at the Naval Academy. Upon his honorable
discharge from the Navy in 1957, Ross and Margot settled in Dallas where he
went to work for IBM's data proc essing division as a salesman. Margot
taught school during the early years. In 1962, she loaned Perot $1,000
from her savings account to start a one-man data processing company. He
named the company Electronic Data Systems. Today, EDS is a multib illion
dollar corporation, employing more than 70,000 people.
Ross and Margot have been married for 35 years. They live in Dallas. They
have five children -- Ross Jr., Nancy, Suzanne, Carolyn, and Katherine --
and four grandchildren and expect the births of two more grandchildren this
In 1969, the US government asked Perot to determine what action might be
taken to improve the brutal treatment our POW's were receiving in Southeast
Asia. He worked on this project for the next four years placing himself
and his family at considerab le personal risk, until the prisoners were
released in 1973 at the end of the war. In recognition of his efforts,
Perot received the Medal for Distinguished Public Service, the highest
civilian award presented by the Department of Defense.
When two EDS employees were taken hostage by the Iranian government in
1979, Perot directed a successful rescue mission composed of EDS employees
and led by Colonel Arthur "Bull" Simons. Perot personally went into Iran,
and inside the prison where h is associates were held. Noted author, Ken
Follett, wrote a best-selling novel, ON WINGS OF EAGLES, about the rescue.
An NBC Television mini series was later made about this event.
Later that same year, the governor of Texas requested Perot's help in
dealing with the growing problem of the use of illegal drugs in the state.
Perot led the Texans' War on Drugs committee that proposed five laws to
make Texas the least desirable s tate for illegal drug operations. All
five bills were passed by the legislature and signed into law.
In 1984, another Texas governor asked for Perot's assistance with a
deteriorating situation -- the quality of public education in the state.
Recognizing that a first-class educational system is the foundation for
economic improvement, Perot led the effort to reform the school system.
This program resulted in major legislative changes and improvements in
Texas public schools.
Perot accepted another challenge that same year when he sold EDS to General
Motors for $2.5 billion. The ownership that he retained in the company
made him GM's largest individual stockholder and a member of the board of
directors. After major disa greements over the quality of GM automobiles,
Perot resigned from the GM board in 1986.
In 1988, Perot started a new computer service company, Perot Systems.
Today the company operates in the United States and Europe.
Perot has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including:
The Winston Churchill Award. Perot was the third recipient and the only
businessman to receive this award, given to those who best exemplify the
imagination, boldness, and vigor of the late British prime minister. The
presentation was made by Princ e Charles in 1986.
The Raoul Wallenberg Award. As the first recipient of this award, Perot
was honored for a lifetime of service that embodies the spirit, courage and
dedication of Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who saved more than
100,000 Hungarian Jews from the Nazis during World War II.
The Jefferson Award for Public Service.
The Patrick Henry Award. Perot was the first recipient of this award given
to an American for outstanding service to his country.
The National Business Hall of Fame Award.
The Sarnoff Award for contributions to the electronics industry.
The Eisenhower Award for support of our Armed Forces.
The Smithsonian Computerworld Award. As the first recipient of this award,
Perot was recognized for his contributions to the computer industry.
The Horatio Alger Award. This award is presented to individuals who
overcome obstacles to achieve significant success in their careers.
In 1984, Perot purchased the only copy of the Magna Carta that has been
allowed to be taken out of Great Britain. It has been placed on loan to
the National Archives in Washington, DC where it is displayed alongside the
Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
The Perot family is actively involved in charitable and civic activities to
help the needy. They have given over $100 million to these causes.
VIRGINIANS FOR PEROT