The AFL-CIO last night rejected President-elect Jimmy Carter's economic stimulus package, ahsailing it as a "retreat" from the goals he set in his campaign.
In a public break with the man they supported for the White House, the labor federation's leaders condemned Carter's tax cuts and public works projects as too small and too slow to "give the economy the stimulus it needs."
The statement from the AFL-CIO executive council's legislative subcommittee repeated George Meany's earlier call for direct expenditure of $30 billion to create 2 million additional jobs.
Referring to Carter's package, weighted more to tax cuts than direct-jobs programs, the labor leaders said, "We conhider this a retreat from the goals which we understood President-elect Carter to have set during last year's campaign."
The attack from Meany's headquarters was seen as a major complication to speedy action in Congress on the stimulus package, which Carter hammered out with congressional Democratic leaders only last Friday. The statement made it plain labor would lobby for its own program, not Carter's, on Capitol Hill.
Stuart Eizenstat, Carter's domestic policy assistant, said last night that "I respect the judgment" of the AFL-CIO officials, "but it's out feeling this is the most we could productively and efficiently expend."
Ironically, Eizenstat said the adviser whose judgment Carter accepted on the limits of direct public service employment and public works program is his Secretary of Labor-designate, F.Ray Marshall.
Marshall was named by Carter in face of Meany's recommendation of former Secretary of Labor John T. Dunlop. Federation officials also lost out in efforts to have former Secretary of Defense James R. Schlesinger reappointed and to block Theodore C.Sorensen from appointment as director of the Central Intelligence Gency.
In their statement last night, the unionists said, "We believe the two-year package is too small, takes too long and is too ill-advised . . . The stimulus from these tax cuts and rebates is far more costly and moves at a much slower pace then the program we recommended . . ."
The statement focused particular fire on the Carter proposal for a 5 per cent tax credit to businesses for their share of payroll taxes, calling it "a wage subsidy for already-pampered corporations."
Carter's program would spread a $30 billion stimulus over two years, with most of the first year concentrated in a one-time tax rebate. The AFL-CIO proposed $30 billion of added spending in 1977 - a sum the Carter staff rejected as unmanageable and inflationary.
The dispute erupted as Carter prepared to leave his home in Plains, Ga., for his final pre-inauguration visit to Washington.
Carter is scheduled to arrive at National Airport at 6:30 p.m. today. He will meet tonight at Blair House with Harold Willens, a California businessman who was active in the anti-war movement and was an early Carter supporter, and Leo Wyler, an associate of Willens.
Carter will also meet tonight with Zbigniew Brzexinski, who will be his White House national security adviser.
After a breakfast on Capitol Hill for new Democratic members of Congress Wednesday morning, the President-elect will spend the rest of Wednesday in a series of foreign policy meetings at the Smithsonian Institution.