President-elect Jimmy Carter plans to put his Treasury Secretary and his chief economic adviser on the National Security Council, it was disclosed yesterday.
The move would be designed to keep the President better informed about the domestic economic impact of actual or projected military spending, according to Charles L. Schultze, Carter's nominee for chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers.
Schultze, in a television interview yesterday, implied that a similar involvement by the Treasury Secretary and othef economic counselors in the Vietnam era could have helped to avoid the economic woes that followed the Vietnam war.
Schultze, 52, served as budget director from 1965 to 1967 under President Johnson. On the interview program, "Meet the Press" (NBC, WRC), Schultze was asked if Johnson administration military advisers gave him accurate projections of the costs of the war so that he could advise the President on how to protect the U.S. economy.
He replied: "Yes and no. In terms of the actual calculations of the budget cost - as they gradually came in and gradually escalated - yes, we got them. But in terms of having a fuller appreciation of what the ultimate costs would be - no."
Schultze said it might have been his own fault for not being fully informed about the price tag of the Vietnam war. But he said Carter's plan to put him and Treasury Secretary-designate W. Michael Blumenthal on the security council "will make a big difference" in closing the communications gap that existed in the Vietnam era.
Congress created the NSC in 1947 to advise the President on a broad range of security problems and military matters. Since then, the council's membership has included the President, the Vice President, the secretaries of state and defense, and the director of the Office of Emergency Preparedness.
The expected inclusion of Schultze and Blumenthal in the NSC was seen by some economic observers as being in keepin with the Carter administration's intention to shift the center of its economic decision-making process from a formal White House organization to an informal Cabinet-level group.
That plan was disclosed lat week by Schultze, who said that he and Blumenthal will direct a "working group" of top Carter economic officials. The group is expected to replace the White House-based Economic Policy Board, which now coordinates the administration's economic decision-making.
On other matters yesterday, Schultze said the President-elect's two-year $30 billion economic stimulus package will help the country "move toward" Carter's goals of a 6.5 per cent unemployment rate and a national growth rate of 6 per cent by the end of this year.
The growth rate is a measurement of the Gross National Product - the sum of all goods and services produced by American citizens.
Schultze said it would be "irresponsible" for anyone to gurantee reaching the unemployment and growth rate goals because of "great (economic) uncertainties." But he said that Carter's plan - which would include up to $11 billion in tax rebates on 1976 federal income taxes for individuals - makes the chances of reducing unemployment and getting the 6 per cent growth "quite feasible."
Schultze also predicted a national budget deficit of $70 billion - "give or take a billion or two, one way or the other" - for the current fiscal year. Thomas B. (Bert) Lance, director-designate of the Office of Management and Budget, had feared that the deficit for fiscal 1977 would soar to $75 billion.