WASHINGTON -- President Clinton said yesterday that his economic program would require courage and sacrifices to do "something no generation has ever had to do before."
Laying groundwork for the spending cuts and tax increases he plans to announce Feb. 17 in his State of the Union address, Mr. Clinton said the greatest burden will be borne by the rich, whom he described as "those who got the most and gave the least during the past dozen years."
"While most Americans paid higher taxes on lower real incomes, the privileged few paid lower taxes on much higher real incomes," Mr. Clinton said in a five-minute radio address, his first as president. "We're going to ask them now to pay their fair share, along with corporations, whose tax burden has been dramatically reduced in the last 12 years."
The president's speech set forth what he described as "guiding xTC principles," but he provided few details. He sounded themes he had stressed in his presidential campaign.
In the Republican response to Mr. Clinton's address, Sen. Connie Mack of Florida argued that "higher taxes have never helped the economy and never will."
Even as Mr. Clinton stressed higher taxes on the wealthy, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Dan Rostenkowski, suggested yesterday that tax increases would probably spread to the middle class through higher energy taxes.
Mr. Rostenkowski, an Illinois Democrat, said in a television interview that "everyone has to come up" with more money to help reduce the federal budget deficit and pay for Mr. Clinton's jobs programs.
"Starting with my own people, I'll be making big cuts in the White House staff, cutting payrolls and perks and privileges," Mr. Clinton said.
White House officials say they expect Mr. Clinton to issue regular Saturday radio addresses. President Ronald Reagan made such broadcasts almost every week; President George Bush did so occasionally.
Mr. Rostenkowski said he supports higher incomes taxes on those making more than $200,000 a year and Mr. Clinton's
proposal to raise the top tax rate from 31 percent to 36 percent. But he also endorsed a tax increase on all forms of energy, including gasoline and home heating oil, that would hit Americans of all incomes.