Former President Ford said yesterday that it would be "dangerous and short-sighted" to use general tax revenues to make up Social Security system deficits, as suggested by President Carter.
In a Capitol Hill speech Ford also called upon business to oppose creation of a federal consumer Protection is a good place to start."
Ford did not mention either Carter or the Democratic Party by name in his speech to an audience of businessmen and diplomats at the Invest in America luncheon. But he changed the text of his speech to make it clear he is holding Carter responsible for the proposal to use general revenues to bail out Social Security.
Carter stopped short of flatly making this recommendation in a recent message to Congress but he did say it should be seriously considered as a remedy to continuing deficits.
Observing that Social Security payments in the last decade had increased from $28 billion to $104 billion, Ford said that using general revenues to help the system would add to long-term budget dificits, inflation and debt.
"Propping up the fund with general revenues may bring some short-term gains, but these will be far out-weighed by long-terms pains, both economic and social," Ford said. "We simply cannot go on this way. Budgetary sleight-of-hand can conceal the problems only so long - and then we will see them clearly enough in the prices we pay, in the strength of the dollar and in the deterioration of the American standard of living."
After the luncheon Ford flew in a private jet to Lansing, Mich., where he spoke at a Republican fund-raiser. He will be at his home in Palm Springs, Calif., only three days between now and June 22, an aide said, because of his many commitments.
Some of Ford's post-presidential conduct comes under fire, in the July-August issue of Free Enterprise magazine, from former presidential press secretary Jerald F. TerHorst, who said Ford and his family stand to make $3 million from publishing and broadcasting deals.
TerHorst called this a "huckstering and hustling and merchandising of the presidency" and said it gave Ford "a money-grubbing appearance."
He was not paid for yesterday's speech, according to his Washington office.