Leaders of some of the nation's biggest corporations support President Reagan as much or more than they did when he ran for office four years ago, despite increasing concern over the economic impact of the administration's inability to control the federal budget deficit.
Almost all of the leaders gathered here for a meeting of the Business Council who commented on the upcoming election said they strongly support Reagan because they believe his economic program will benefit the companies they run, as they believe it has in the last four years.
"What Mondale would do as president we don't know for sure, but with President Reagan we know he will continue with programs he has put in place that have worked," said Clifton C. Garvin Jr., chairman of Exxon Corp.
"Big business supports the president more this time around," said Walter B. Wriston, former chairman of Citicorp. "It [Reagan policies] worked. And what makes you think if we increase revenue [by raising taxes], that Congress wouldn't just spend it?" Wriston said, referring to Mondale's proposal to tackle the deficit problem by raising taxes.
The executives pointed specifically to the lower inflation rate, growth in the gross national product, favorable tax policies encouraging business investment and an increase in job creation during the last four years as significant economic achievements under Reagan. The perception that the Reagan administration is responsible for getting the federal government off the back of business was repeated several times by the busines officials, who spoke in individual interviews.
A failure to explain clearly how he will deal with the federal budget deficit was the main criticism of the president by several business leaders.