The fiscal conservative in John B. Anderson reared its head here today as he charged Ronald Reagan's new economic plan would cause enormous deficits in the federal budget.
The independent presidential candidate said unless Reagan has abandoned his longstanding pledges to increase military spending and eliminate windfall profits in the state taxes, the Republican nominee's program would result in budget deficits of from $33 billion to $65 billion during the next four fiscal years.
This would mean the federal budget would remain unbalanced until fiscal 1985, he said. Anderson also charged that if Reagan were to make spending cuts he has promised, it would mean a 20 percent cutback in money available for Medicare, Medicaid, the Highway Trust Fund and welfare payments by 1985.
"Gov. Reagan's proposals defy common sense," added the Illinois congressman. "He promises to cut personal income taxes by one-third, increase defense spending by up to $40 billion a year, retain essential government services, balance the budget and restore price stability . . . Reagan's budget is constructed with mirrors."
Anderson's attacks were included in a critique of the economic program Reagan released this week and in the text of a speech prepared for delivery before a meeting of the Security Analysts of San Francisco in the city's Financial Women's Club.
The speech put Anderson clearly at odds with Reagan and President Carter on the economic issue in the campaign.
Anderson, however, never gave the speech. Instead, he delivered a rambling off-the-cuff thumbnail sketch of his own economic program along with some truncated criticism of Carter and Reagan.
But he said he stood by the remarks contained in the speech. His only explanation for not giving them was, "I am a textual deviant."
It was the second time this week that Anderson has scrapped a prepared text on a major issue, and ad-libbed a speech, baffling reporters following the campaign.
In addition to the two speeches, Anderson aides have tried to counter criticism that the candidate has become "just another politician" and an "idea candidate with no new ideas" by distributing portions of his 317-page platform each day. Anderson has given the issues discussed only a perfunctory treatment, however.
He has seemed sheepish in conducting the exercise. On Monday, the first time the platform excerpts were distributed, he quipped to reporters: "I hope you enjoy the somewhat more detailed presentation that you had to suffer through this afternoon. . . . We may have to do that more from now on."
Today's text was one of the toughest and most concise the campaign has issued since Anderson launched his independent candidacy last April. It described Carter's latest economic program, issued two weeks ago, as "a blueprint for more economic ruin."
Reagan's programs, it said, "are very similar to President Carter's."
The program "constitutes a sharp departure from the Republican platform issued just two months ago," the text said. "Gone from the new plan are the old Reagan defense proposals. Gone is any suggestion to eliminate the windfall profits tax. Gone is his commitment to eliminate the so-called marriage tax, and his pledge to increase veterans' benefits.
"Either Gov. Reagan has repudiated a large part of his program, or he faces an enormous budget deficit as the result of his tax proposals," said the Anderson text.
The campaign based its criticism on an analysis of the budget figures presented in the Reagan plan. The plan projected a budget deficit of $21 billion in fiscal 1982, a balanced budget in 1983, and surpluses of $28 billion and $39 billion in 1984 and 1985 respectively.
The Anderson campaign claimed these projections did not take into account a host of Reagan-supported national defense efforts, including deployment of the cruise missile and a new manned strategic bomber, or elimination of the windfall profits tax, the marriage tax (which forces couples to pay a larger tax than both would make if they were single), or estate taxes. t
When these items are figured into the Reagan program, the national budget falls into a $51 billion deficit in 1981, a $65 billion deficit in 1982, a $52 billion deficit in 1983 and a $33 billion deficit in 1984, according to Anderson aides.
As described today, Anderson's economic program includes the use of wage and price controls, increased investment in research and in rebuilding industrial plants. He also supports a reduction in the growth of the federal budget, regulatory law reform and the creation of an Industrial Development Administration.
Anderson opposes any immediate personal income tax cuts.
The essence of his economic programs, adviser Robert Walker said today, is "the nation is in trouble because as a society we haven't been saving or investing enough in our future." b