President Carter's economic policies were harshly attacked yesterday by two prominent Democratic senators who warned national television audiences that the country is being taken into a depression.
"Unless interest rates begin to come down, this country is headed toward an economic collapse," said Sen. Frank C hurch (D-Idaho), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. "Depression already has stuck by my state," he said.
Sen. Harry M. Jackson (D-Wash.), chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said current economic policies "indeed will lead us to a very severe recession, which will mean a totally unbalanced budget with a huge deficit after all this talk about a balanced budget."
Church was questioned on "Face the Nation" (CBS, WDVM) and Jackson on "Meet the Press" (NBC, WRC). Church said:
"Not only has housing and construction gone down, but the lumber industry has gone down to the point where half the working people in the mills have been released and are now unemployed.
"And that is spreading to the farms, because farmers have to have credit to plant their crops, and they cannot pay these interest rates.
Jackson said that "astronomical" interest rates are making it almost impossible for many businessmen to survive, with the result the government will not collect the tax revenues it had been counting upon.
"I think we could have a deficit next year or shortly thereafter of $50 billion to $1 hundred billion if we go over the precipice, and we're . . . about to go over."