Presidential inflation-fighter Alfred Kahn told a group of black business people that a deep recession or depression could be a real danger to them if inflation is not brought under control.
Kahn, speaking before the National Business League's 79th annual convention, said the recession that is beginning now will be felt more by small business people than other groups, but he also said he expects an end to double-digit inflation by the end of the year.
"The recession that's beginning is going to be more painful to you than others in the economy," Kahn said. "A deep recession or depression is a real threat, a real danger to you if we don't bring inflation under control."
Since many small, black businesses generally have blacks as customers, they could be hurt during a recession because their clients are "the last to be hired and the first to be fired," Kahn said. "I know how that hurts your business."
Kahn said several times that the fight against inflation isn't going very well, but he also added that there still is hope.
Kahn also stumped for President Carter's energy program. He said that energy shortages and costs -- the number one inflation problem -- could be relieved by Carter's proposed energy policy, which he asked the business people to support.
Proposing the decontrol of oil as part of that policy "was an extremely courageous thing the president did," Kahn said.
But Kahn's pleas for support of the president's budgetary restraint drew angry questions from the crowd. One businessman told Kahn that the administration's anti-inflation policies "devastated small businesses." Another person asked Kahn why the president allowed an increase in military spending in the budget and an ambitious synfuels program, while programs that could help them might be cut.
Kahn responded by saying that budgetary restraint is necessary to combat inflation, but small businesses can capitalize on some energy-conservation programs.
Meanwhile in Washington, Daniel P. Henson III, a Small Business Administration regional director, was named today as director of the Commerce Department's Minority Business Development Agency. Henson, 36, was regional director of the Philadelphia SBA headquarters. The agency was known as the Office of Minority Business Enterprise until it was reorganized and renamed last July.