Ronald Reagan charged today that President Carter would "continue to take us into the economic dark ages" with a tax increase that would amount to $500 billion annually within five years.
Moments after Reagan spoke in the town square of this western Ohio automobile town, where unemployment is 15.5 percent, the GOP nominee's chief domestic adviser accused Carter of using "ridiculous figures" to "totally misrepresent" Reagan's own economic program.
Martin Anderson took point-by-point issue with a speech on the state of the economy that Carter gave Tuesday to the National Press Club.
In rebutting Carter's statement that various Reagan proposals would result in a $140 billion budget deficit by fiscal 1983, Anderson repeated estimates contained in a Reagan economic message made Sept. 9 in Chicago that the 1983 budget would be balanced.
As an example of Carter's "misrepresentations," Anderson cited the $6 billion to $7 billion annual price tag that the president placed on Reagan's proposal to allow elderly persons to receive full Social Security benefits without any limitation on earnings.
Anderson, using what he said were estimates from the Social Security administration, said the Reagan program would cost the Social Security trust fund $1.4 billion a year but would generate $1 billion annually in taxes on the expanded earnings of recipients.
Anderson also disputed Carter's cost estimate of $3 billion to $5 billion on the tuition tax credits advocated by Reagan. The Reagan adviser said that the funding level of the program advocated by Reagan would cost the Treasury about $500 million dollars a year in 1983. The difference in the figures apparently is because Reagan advocates tuition tax credits only for college students not for high school students. Anderson said Reagan's proposal calls for the program to begin in 1982 and to cost $2.7 billion a year when it reaches full finding in 1986.
And Anderson said that Carter was "simply wrong" when he said that the Reagan defense budget increase would cost $20 billion more than Carter's proposed defense increases. Anderson said that Reagan had relied on Senate Budget Office estimates of the cost of his defense proposals when he prepared his September economic speech.
He also commented on Carter's statement that repeal of the oil profits tax would mean a $10 billion giveaway to oil companies. Anderson said that Reagan, while he has been sharply critical of that tax, does not advocate its repeal.
In his speech to a crowd of several thousand in this staunchly Republican congressional district, Reagan also said that Carter had "totally distorted the proposals I have been making in this campaign." The Republican nominee then hammered away at Carter's August economic proposal, which Reagan said would result in an $86 billion tax increase next year, rising steadily over the next five years to a $500 billion tax increase.
Reagan asserted that Carter gave backhanded acknowledgement to his plans for a tax increase when he told the National Press Club that one of the reasons for the current inflation is "the failure to raise adequate revenues at a time of greatly increased public spending."
"We now know what Mr. Carter plans to do with four more years," said Reagan. "Catch your breath, hold on to your hats and grab your wallets because Jimmy Carter's analysis of the economy means that his answer is higher taxes."
As he did last week, Reagan called for an acceleration of automobile orders by the U.S. General Services Administration and modification of Export-Import Bank financing to encourage sales of U.S. cars in foreign countries.
"Remember when they used to promise you two cars in every garage?" Reagan told a large and friendly sundrenched crowd here. "Well, we've got them now -- both Japanese and out of gas."
It was Reagan's fifth trip to Ohio since the GOP convention in July, Reflecting the belief of his strategists that this key Midwest state and its 25 electoral votes can be wrested from Carter.
To accomplish this Reagan must cut into anticipated Carter Majorities in Cleveland and such staunchly Democratic cities as Akron, where Reagan spoke later today. Unemployment is 9 percent in Ohio, nearly 11 percent in Akron and 12.5 percent in nearby Canton.