Ronald Reagan's Republican Party believes that the solution to the country's pressing economic problems -- and its serious social ones as well -- can be reached primarily through an array of incentives to the private sector.
The GOP platform, a fair summary of mainstream Republican sentiment in 1980, advocates sharp reductions in government spending, lower taxes for business and a major program of deregulation.
"The Democrats," the platform asserts, "are now trying to stop inflation with a recession, a bankrupt policy which is throwing millions of Americans out of work. They say Americans must tighten their belts, abandon their dreams and accept higher taxes, less take-home pay, fewer jobs and no growth in the national economy.
"We categorically reject this approach . . . we believe inflation can only be controlled by monetary and spending restraint, combined with sharp reductions in the tax and regulatory barriers to savings, investments, production and jobs."
The core of the Republican program is:
Reduce tax rates to businesses and to individuals in ways that will encourage greater savings for investment, increasing output and productivity, thereby providing more jobs for American workers.
Modernize the nation's productive capacities by easing the business tax burden on capital expenditures for "facilities, structures, equipment and vehicles."
Restrict government spending to a smaller, fixed portion of the gross national product.
Balance the budget by spending less, allowing lower taxation.
It is the private sector, the platform maintains, that will solve the country's unemployment problem. But, it adds, in the case of joblessness among young people, "Republicans support the creation of comprehensive programs for disadvantaged youth which would offer pre-emplyment training, educational instruction, job placement and retention services" -- a partnership of business and government.
The second major pillar of Republican economic overhaul is deregulation. "An informed consumer making economic choices and decisions in the marketplace is the best regulator of the free enterprise system," the platform states. The party says consumer protection "will not be enhanced by the creation of a new consumer protection bureaucracy."
To counteract what is portrayed as unchecked growth of governmental power, the Republicans propose a temporary moratorium "on all new federal regulations that diminish the supply of goods and services and add significantly to inflation."
The platform is particularly critical of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration: "We believe that the arbitrary and high-handed tactics used by OSHA bureaucrats must end. OSHA should concentrate its resources on encouraging voluntary compliance by employers and monitoring situations where close federal supervision is needed."
The platform also deals with two other areas of national concern at opposite ends of the spectrum: agriculture and urban renewal.
The main goal for farmers is higher prices and expanded markets. The platform also pledges to expand efforts at development of alternative energy sources and to assure a priority allocation of existion fuel for farmers. The platform calls for ending a continuing irritant to farmers -- the embargo on grain sales to the Soviet Union.
The Republican perspective calls for greater local control of urban renewal: "The human scale of the neighborhood encourages citizens to exercise leadership, to invest their talents energies and and resources to work together to create a better life for their families."
The GOP recommends greater use of revenue sharing and block grants to foster local initiative and less emphasis on federally directed urban programs. "Transfer programs, along with the tax sources to pay for them, back to the state and local governments."
Significantly, the Republicans "remain fully committed to the fair enforcement of all federal civil rights statutes and to continue minority business enterprise and similar programs begun by Republican administrations but bungled by over-regulation and duplication during the Carter administration.
"Republican programs," according to the document, "will revitalize the inner cities. New jobs will be created. The federal government's role will be substantially reduced. The individual citizen will reclaim his or her independence."
The GOP message is that economic recovery should be the enterprise of the American people and not the government that leads them.