President Carter intends to reject federal spending increases even if it means "saying no . . . to a lot of Democrats" and risking opposition from within the party in 1980, White House political adviser Hamilton Jordan said yesterday.
"It is impossible, given the economic conditions of this country, for the president to increase expenditures on programs, however attractive," said Jordan in asserting that inflation has caused a "whole new ball game" in dealing with budget deficits and their implications for inflation.
"So this president is going to have to be tough in the next two years and say 'no' to a lot of people, a lot of people in the Democratic Party," he added.
On another controversial issue that has raised hackles on Capitol Hill, Jordan said on "Face the Nation" (CBS. WDVM) that the administration is still considering whether to submit a new strategic arms limitation treaty (SALT) with the Soviet Union as an executive agreement rather than a treaty. A treaty requires a two-thirds vote of the Senate, while an agreement needs a majority of both houses.
Jordan said Carter will consult with congressional leaders before deciding which route to take. Many have objected the idea, and Sen. Charles McC. Mathias (R.-Md.) said yesterday he was "astonished to hear that the White House is still claiming an option to make an end run around the Constitution" and its two-thirds Senate requirement for treaty approval.
Jordan pledged the clampdown on spending in response to a question about how the administration answers cratic president who wants to put a lid Democratic liberals who want to know why they shouldn't challenge a Demoon spending for everything but defense.
"We have to only hope that these people will understand that the overwhelming desire of the American people - and of this president - is to get a grip on inflation" Jordan said. "We cannot have it both ways. We cannot continue to run huge federal deficits and continue to expect the other sectors of our country to cooperate inflation."
When asked if the adminstration a year from now could point to "any single piece" of liberal legislation, such as national health insurance, public campaign financing or labor law revision, Jordan said he didn't know but reiterated that he thought "we'll have to say no' . . . to a lot of our friends."
All such proposals - along with a suggested rollback of Social Security tax increases - are being reviewed in light of the presidents anti-inflation policy and his announced goal of reducing the federal deficit next year to $30 billion or less, half its 1976 level, Jordan said.
Only a "national emergency" will deter Carter from his deficit goal, said Jordan. He wasn't sure whether a "mild recession" would fit the definition of an emergency.
Many economists are predicting at least a mild recession next year as a result of higher interest rates and other moves to prop up the dollar. A recession could complicate the deficitshrinkage plan by reducing government tax revenues and increasing expenditures for jobless benefits.
Jordan said he expects that Carter, like most incumbents, will seek reelection in 1980, although the president has not yet said what he'll do.
Jordan also said he expects that Carter will be opposed for the Democratic nomination. "I always assume the worst," he said. "I assume we'll be challenged within our party for the nomination and we'll face strong opposition in the general election, if he chooses to run." But he said he thought Carter would win.
If Carter runs, Vice President Mondale will almost certainly be on the ticket, Jordan said, adding that he anticipates no Cabinet changes in the near future. He said he expects Treasury Secretary W. Michael Blumenthal, with whom the White House staff has had major policy differences, to continue as long as he wants.
As for Republican gains and other changes in Congress, Jordan said of the new members: "On some issues they are more in tune with the president's philosophy . . . I think on the question of fiscal responsibility this Congress has heard the message and will be more in tune with this president."
Meanwhile, conservative economist Milton Friedman predicted on "Meet the Press" (NBC, WRC) that Carter's anti-inflation guidelines will do "more harm than good" by distorting the economy. He said a recession is likely as early as next year, and controls are probable by 1980.
Friedman, a Nobel Prize laureate now at Stanford University's Hoover Institute, said the only solution is fiscal and monetary restraint, including across-the-board budget cuts. He said a constitutional amendment will be proposed next year by the National Tax Limitation Committee, which he helped found, to put an absolute limit on federal spending.