Republican and Democratic leaders and consumer advocate Ralph Nader said yesterday that President Carter's energy program would hurt economic recovery and increase unemployment.
The statements by Sen. William Proxmire (D-Wis.), chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, Republican National Committee Chairman Bill Brock and Nader came on the eve of Carter's nationally televised address, in which he is expected to outline in grim detail America's need for a strict energy conservation program.
The program - to be presented Wednesday by Carter to a joint session of Congress is expected to involve some type of a tax increase on gasoline and gas-guzzling cars. Proxmire, Brock and Nader - appearing in three separate television interviews - said such taxes would have to be inflationary and harmful to employment.
"The effect of it is going to be that it's going to diminish the amount of income that people have available and increase unemployment . . . particularly in the automobile and the housing industries." Proxmire said on "Face the Nation." (CBS, WTOP).
Carter's expected plan also would decrease capital investment by businesses and at the same time "it would tend to increase profits" for the oil industry, Proxmire predicted.
He added: 'The overall effect will be both inflationary and recessionary . . . exactly what happened when we had the quadrupling of world oil prices in 1973 and 1974."
Proxmire said he was not trying to "bad-month the program" because he said "we need something like" the plan Carter is expected to offer. "But I think we ought to have our eyes wide open to the consequences of any program to reduce [energy] consumption," he said.
Brock said on "Issues and Answers" (ABC, WMAL) that Carter's plan might have a "tremendously negative effect" on the economy and employment by increasing inflation without increasing energy production.
He said the Republicans "would rather leave as much money with the people of this country as we possibly can, rather than placing great new taxes and bringing the money to Washington where it can be squandered as it has in the past.
Brock said Republicans favor solving the energy problem by deregulating fuel prices and increasing production.
Nader, appearing on "Meet the Press" (NBC, WRC, said the nanion needs an energy conservation job corps that would "retrofit America" [insulate homes, for example] to save fuel.
Such a program would provide needed work while reducing fuel consumption and pollution caused by burning fuel, Nader said. Carter's program would achieve little conservation, but would produce "inflationary and other inequitable effects," Nader said.