The Heritage Foundation, a conservative Washington research group, today proposed an action plan for swinging the government to the right as fast as possible. In an extraordinarily detailed, 3,000-page report, it recommended that President-elect Ronald Reagan:
Abolish the Department of Energy by 1982.
Revoke all executive orders requiring affirmative action for minorities in government hiring and contracting.
Strip the Office of Surface Mining of most of its powers in order to "make an example" of the agency.
Return most functions of the Environmental Protection Agency to the states or other government offices.
Use U.S. agricultural exports as a weapon in foreign policy.
Downgrade the National Security Council to a foreign policy clearinghouse, moving the State Department "clearly out in front."
Impose a 90-day moratorium on exports to Eastern bloc countries while reorienting trade to politics rather than economics.
Boost the 1981 defense budget by $20 billion, develop a new strategic bomber, deploy the neutron bomb in Europe and raise military spending by $35 billion in each of the next five years.
Revoke the guidelines that tell intelligence agencies how to operate within the Constitution, crack down on domestic radicals and revive internal security committees in Congress.
Impose a 10 percent across-the-board personal income tax cut.
And convert the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Mine Safety and Health Administration to "cooperative roles rather than adversarial ones."
The foundation produced the 20-volume report independently, with no formal connection to the Reagan team, as "a blueprint for the construction of a conservative government," Heritage president Edwin J. Feulner Jr. told a press conference Friday.
Reagan transition team director Edwin Meese III got his copy Thursday night. "We were anxiously waiting to get our hands on it," said E. Pendleton James, personnel chief of the transition group. He said the team had not tried to influence the recommendations, "but if we agree with them we'll try to carry them out."
He praised the 6-year-old foundation as "a pretty good group of people. They know the departments." The report is "valuable because it is all concrete recommendations rather than generalities, something we can agree with or disagree or modify. We can get our teeth into it."
Feulner said Meese had told him the Reagan team "would be relying heavily on it."
The $100,000 study, entitled "Mandate for Leadership," considered individual programs in all the cabinet departments and independent agencies in nearly a year of volunteer labor by 250 present and former government workers, consultants, scholars, ex-administration officials and researchers, Feulner said. If its first objective was "to roll back big government," the second was "to show that conservatives do have new ideas," he said.
It is clearly a hope chest of the mainstream right wing, predictably coming down hardest on environmentalists and on minority programs, restrictions on the military, the intelligence communities and free enterprise. As a step-by-step road map to realization of most of Reagan's campaign promises, much of it could serve as a handy guide for a later check on his performance.
There are several noteworthy omissions. There is no call for constitutional amendments prohibiting abortion or requiring a balanced budget. "We took a departmental approach," recommending action within the executive branch, Feulner explained. Neither does the foundation call for elimination of the Department of Education, which had been demanded by some conservative groups, although it does propose stiff budget and program cutbacks.
Instead, the study pinpoints. For example, several administraions have called for acceleration of offshore oil leasing programs. The foundation's analysis of the Interior Department describes the existing Outer Continental Shelf five-year plan as "timid" and goes so far as to pick certain lease parcels -- Nos. 53 and 68 in California and No. 68 in the Gulf of Mexico, among others -- to be moved up in the schedule, outlining the various regulations on advance notice and spotlighting paper-shuffling bottlenecks.
Such detailed proposals are everywhere in the study and, if accepted, would save the incoming administration months of learning the bureaucratic ropes and deciding how best to achieve its goals. "This will be the first time a president has ever been this well prepared to take over," said Robert Terrell, a House Interior Committee staff member who chaired the Interior Department report task force.
There is realism. "The political fallout . . . will be great. Opposition will be savage" to the general downgrading proposed in the poverty program review, the analysis says. A civil rights division chief is needed in the Justice Department who can "take the heat" that will follow his proposed dropping of ongoing civil rights lawsuits.
Along with the repeal of affirmative action orders on minority groups and the handicapped, the analysis of the Justice Department would require "clear proof of intent to discriminate" and not just a headcount showing a pattern of past abuses in order for legal action to be taken. "It is inherently wrong to penalize those who have earned their reward by giving preferential treatment and benefits to those who have not," the report says.
The study advised Reagan to recognize "the reality of subversion and [to put] emphasis on the un-American nature of much so-called 'dissidence.'" Recommending abolition of many specific restrictions on domestic intelligence work, the report said, "It is axiomatic that individual liberties are secondary to the requirement of national security and internal civil order."
Some positions reflect division within the right. For instance, the Justice study calls for legislation to abolish the co-called exclusionary rule that prohibits use in criminal trials of evidence taken illegally, an idea opposed by the National Rifle Association. The Interior report would return to the states control over most mining, reclamation and water rights, but does not specifically endorse legal action to transfer land to the states, a goal of the so-called Sagebrush Rebellion that Reagan has applauded.
The Deprtment of Energy would be reduced to a form much like its predecessor, the Energy Research and Development Agency, with some of its functions reassigned to Commerce or Interior and others, like the Economic Regulatory Administration, simply dropped. All federal involvement in energy sales and distribution would end, and the department itself would be removed from cabinet status in 1982. "The mere existence of the department implies too much federal involvement in energy," said DOE study team leader Milton Copulos.
The Environmental Protection Agency would lose its enforcement function to the states and its research arm to other agencies, becoming mainly a coordinating and transmission point for policy recommendations and arbitration of interstate disputes.
A detailed approach to rewriting the Clean Air and Clean Water acts is outlined, while "zero emissions" goals would be dropped in favor of a "total human environment" guideline requiring equal consideration of jobs, recreation and other economic factors, according to EPA study chief Lou Cordia. "All programs and policies will have to be reappraised under a cost-benefit, risk-benefit analysis," he said.
The foundation called its report a draft and said it would be published as a book in January.