Candidates for the United States Senate and House of Representatives were asked the following questions by The Washington Post:
Freeze: Do you favor a nuclear freeze? If not, do you support other forms of control?
Services: Should additional federal funds be appropriated for social services?
Social Security: Does Social Security need to be changed, and if so, how?
Budget: Do you favor a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget?
William P. Guthrie (R), 28, of 3130 Laurel Ave., Cheverly, is a doctoral candidate in public administration-American government at the University of Maryland. He has been active in state and local Republican organizations.
Freeze: In a word, no. American security is too vital to rest on worthless Soviet promises. No arms control agreement is possible without prior acceptance by the Soviets of on-site inspection and verification. Therefore, no freeze without inspection.
Services: No, for three reasons. First, the overwhelming necessity for a balanced budget is so great as to require cuts in existing social programs, even some that are useful, if not vital. Second, most social programs have in the past taxed all the nation for the benefit of a few interest groups. Third, because it is the consensus of all serious students of public administration that social programs have, through inefficiency, simple incompetence, program politicking and the sheer impossibility of their tasks, have failed to solve or even alleviate the problems they purported to confront -- they may have worsened them. I cite the studies of Pressman & Wildavsky, Nakumura & Smallwood and Mann & Ingram, among others.
Social Security: Yes. It should be set on a sound actuarial basis, like a real pension plan, instead of a phony government giveaway. Noncontributors should be excluded. Returns should be graded by contributions. Trust funds should be immunized from political tampering. The program would be ideally voluntary in nature.
Budget: Yes. Congress has over 22 years shown itself wholly incapable of fiscal responsibility and at the same time determined to prevent any effort by the presidency to exercise the needed balance. Yet, a balanced budget is vital. Financed deficits or tax increases must drain credit resources necessary for economic expansion, boost interest rates and increase unemployment. Outright deficits, such as we saw under Carter, leads to double-digit inflation and general economic ruin. Either way lies national bankruptcy, which is less distant than many of you care to believe. Program cuts and a balanced budget are not merely desirable but necessary.
Perry A. Smith III (R), 48, of 10312 Buena Vista Ave., Lanham, is minister of the First Baptist Church in North Brentwood. Previously, he was chaplain at the University of Maryland-College Park's black ministries program and associate director of the National Civil Service League.
Freeze: I support a nuclear freeze to the extent that we do not weaken the United States' ability to deter war. I would work not merely for a freeze of nuclear weapons, but an actual reduction in the numbers of nuclear armaments. In addition, I would strongly encourage continued negotiations between nuclear powers.
Services: While I believe that the long-term means for providing an adequate life style for each American citizen exists within the private sector, I believe that the federal government must share and assume its responsibility where the private sector is unable to do so. In assuming this responsibility, the federal government must require greater accountability in order to maximize the use of public funds.
Social Security: Unquestionably, there must be change to ensure a strong, solvent Social Security system. However, I would not suggest specific changes until a review of the bipartisan report of the National Commission on Social Security Reform, due in early 1983, is received. The major source of income to the Social Security system is "payroll tax," which is a composite of three separate tax rates, with each having a separate trust fund: 1) old age and survivors insurance program; 2) disability insurance program, and 3) hospital insurance program. In December 1981, the 97th Congress enacted stop-gap legislation which would ensure payment of benefits until mid-1983, by borrowing among the three trust funds during 1982. I believe such interfund borrowing ensures rapid deterioration of the Social Security tax fund. Therefore, I would aggressively seek other measures to replace this approach.
Budget: While I support the concept of a balanced budget, I feel an amendment to the Constitution is an inappropriate vehicle to accomplish this end.