As the band played "On Wisconsin," Ronald Reagan promised today he would turn the economic policies of the federal government around if he is elected president.

Reagan said he would freeze federal hiring within 24 hours after taking office and that he would then ask Congress to cut income taxes across the board.

"I will ask for new depreciation rules for business to spur new job-creating investment," Reagan told cheering artisans at an Elks Club here. "I will root out wasteful government spending and bring inflation under control. I'll adopt policies which will bring interest rates down, so that the average family can once again afford to buy a home of their own."

When Reagan campaigned in Green Bay during the Wisconsin primary, representatives of the housing industry dominated a forum by repeatedly asking Reagan what he would do to spur home building.

The former California governor had few specific answers, then or now. But he did come armed today with an array of statistics showing how housing costs had steadily risen and how housing starts had declined during the Carter administration.

Reagan's solutions, beyond the tax cuts he said would revitalize the economy, are to eliminate various federal regulations which he said drive up the cost of housing and to ask Congress to increase the amount of federal land available for timber harvesting. He also said he would explore "the creative use of a variety of home financcing tools" to make it easier for low- and middle-income families to buy homes.

Reagan likes to describe himself before working-class audiences as a "job hunter." He was greeted here upon his arrival by Green Bay Packers football coach Bart Starr, whose job is believed to be in jeopardy because of the poor early-season perfomance of his team.

"Maybe the governor should give him his unemployment speech," quipped an onlooker.

But the Republican nominee already had delivered this speech earlier in the day at the Cyclops Steel Mill in Pittsburgh, where most of the younger workers have been laid off.

This week President Carter proposed a new program for reviving the steel industry. Reagan accused Carter of borrowing most of this program from a Sept. 16 Reagan statement calling for changes in depreciation allowances to encourage investment and for government actions intended to prevent foreign companies from "dumping" steel on the U.S. market.

Reagan made much of the fact that Carter offered his program at a non-union plant. Citing his record as a member and six times the president of the Screen Actors Guild. Reagan said: "Let's hope we also have a few new union steel plants in the years ahead."