Republican vice presidential nominee George Bush was given a standing ovation at the American Bankers Association convention today as he lashed out at President Carter's economic policies and predicted a return to prosperity under a Reagan administration.
The economy dominated Bush's speech to the bankers as he hit out at President Carter's record and claimed that the Republicans would help reduce inflation and restore economic health.
Unemployment and the "ghastly economic statistics these days" are a result of the Carter administration's policies, Bush said. He told the bankers of Carter's "erratic and unpredictable fiscal policy" have led to great problems for the country.
He also accused the president of reneging on his campaign promises of 1976 when he said the rate of inflation could be reduced to below 4 percent by 1980. w"Excessive, ever-increasing government spending and federal budget deficits" are the primary cause of inflation, Bush said to applause from the bankers in the audience. "Candidate Carter promised to balance the budget by 1980" in the last presidential campaign, Bush reminded them.
Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan understands, "as the present incumbent does not, that fiscal responsibility is the key to reducing the rate or inflation -- and that controlling the rate of federal spending is absolutely essential to achieve that goal," the vice presidential candidate went on.
In an apparent attempt to deflect criticism of the Republicans for advocating elimination of many federal programs, Bush stressed that they were not suggesting the dismantling of programs, or even the elimination of spending growth, but that the Republican plan allows for slower growth in spending.
Bush also attacked Carter for his criticism of both the Federal Reserve Board and private bankers for present high interest rates. This is "pure and simple election-year demagoguery," Bush said. Reagan would not politicize the Fed, nor seek scapegoats, Bush added.
He continued the campaign effort to present Reagan as an experienced executive, saying that the Republican candidate has governed California and has a proven record of "curbing the excesses of overbearing bureaucrats who throttle business growth and individual initiative."
Echoing the themes here of the need for fewer regulation, Bush said that when they could the Republicans would appoint people to federal agencies who "understood the need for balance" between the private and public sector.
The largely conservative audience enjoyed Bush's declarations that "government is not the answer, it's the problem" and that Reagan understands the need to encourage the private sector and to get "the professional federal regulators off the backs of American business."
The vice presidential candidate also criticized Carter for "showering tax money" now, using his presidential power to influence the election outcome.
Other speakers at today's session, included Walter Wriston, chairman of Citicorp, and Senator Proxmire (D-Wis.), chairman of the Senate Banking Committee. They differed on the question of foreign acquisition of U.S. banks, which Proxmire criticized, and on interstate banking.
In a letter to the president on Sept. 30, Proxmire said that he believed any attempt to relax the present laws on interstate branching or bank acquisitions across state lines would run into considerable difficulties.
Wriston concentrated in his speech on what he characterized as the inconsistencies and illogicality of present banking laws an regulations, describing them, with slides, as an Alice in Wonderland world.