From an interview with Virginia Gov. L. Douglas Wilder in the winter issue of Policy Review:

Q: You frequently criticize the federal government for fiscal irresponsibility. Are the current budget deficits primarily due to the 1980s tax cuts and other Reagan economic policies? Or are they due more to the federal government's inability to restrict its spending?

Gov. Wilder: The basic problem has been the failure to control spending. Legislation like the '86 tax plan and Gramm-Rudman were hailed as panaceas that would solve our problems, but they didn't address the fundamental issue of controlling spending.

The '86 tax plan wasn't just Reagan's plan; it was everybody's plan in Washington. Everyone said it would rev up the economy by giving tax breaks. But who got the tax breaks? Who created the bubble that forced middle-income people to pay more taxes than those at the higher level? More billionaires were created than ever, while at the same time parents with children were constituting the fastest-growing number of homeless people in our country.

Gramm-Rudman falsely led the public to believe that it would reduce spending automatically, because otherwise the government would shut down. Have you ever heard such nonsense! How does the government shut down? Gramm-Rudman turned out to be a recipe for ''spending as usual.''

We haven't seen any commitment in Washington to limit spending. ... Why not put the case before the American people by sending down a balanced budget, which has not been done in the last several years, and promising to veto any congressional budget legislation that differs substantially?