Dick Swett evaluates Clinton
Although President Bill Clinton has taken heat from the press for his first 100 days in office, Democratic Congressman Dick Swett Monday night told the Dartmouth community Clinton has done a good job.Speaking to a near-capacity audience in Rockefeller Center, Swett said Clinton has accomplished more in his first 100 days than most past presidents, citing the progress of his government appointments, his proposed budget deficit resolution and advances toward health care reforms.
Swett said Clinton took office at a difficult time following 12 years of Republican rule.
Clinton had to "overcome 12 years of inertia ... and 12 years of pent-up frustrations from the Democratic Party waiting to enter the White House," Swett said.
"Clinton is in good shape," Swett said.
Swett commended President Clinton's attempt to balance the budget despite the "deep, obvious, somewhat painful spending cuts" which Swett said were necessary to control the budget deficit.
If the deficit continues to escalate at its current rate, Swett said when today's college students enter the work force 45 cents of every tax dollar will be spent on interest associated with the deficit
However, Swett said he believes Clinton can make further spending cuts. He cited the Interstate Commerce Commission and Defense Department as two programs that should receive less funds.
Swett said he agreed with Clinton's funding of immunization clinics, Head Start, and the need for investing in communities and small businesses.
"It takes money to make money, but we've got to spend money wisely, on things that will pay us back in the long run," Swett said.
However, Swett criticized his party for spending too freely in the past.
"Democrats have always cared about people... but we have not always been responsible in how we spend money," Swett said.
Swett advocated community service as a solution to this problem.
"It's easy to give money to the community ... it's harder to roll up your sleeves and be involved in the community," Swett said.
"Only if you contribute to your community and country can you gain qualities that make you happiest and make your community and country most successful," Swett said.
Swett urged the audience to become involved in the political system, whether through community service or simply by voting.
He told audience members who did not vote that they "should be ashamed" of themselves.
Voting "forces you to confront yourself about whether or not you believe in democracy," Swett said.
Although more Americans voted in the last presidential election than ever before, Swett said he believes the voting percentages should be still higher.