Colorado Senator Hart urges delay in President's tax cut
Washington — Observing that the President is attempting to "build up the military without raising taxes," Sen. Gary Hart charged that "Reagan, in effect, is the Republicans' Lyndon Johnson."
"You can't have both guns and butter," said Hart, who is considered by some a possible Democratic presidential candidate in 1984, during a breakfast meeting with reporters Sept. 23.
The Senator was particularly critical of the way the President is dealing with the economy.
He said that in order to reassure the business community the President should "defer the tax cut for 24 months."
He said this was the only way he could see that Reagan would be able to balance the budget in his first term without cutting deeply into military spending or social security and other entitlement programs.
The senator said he sees "some prospect" of a deferral of the tax cuts. There is already "a great deal of discussion" about it on Capitol Hill, he said, adding that the possible postponement applied only to personal tax reductions, not those being given to businesses.
Hart sees "great concern and anxiety" among Republican senators over the failure of tax and spending reductions to bring about desired effects in the market.
He suggested that the President should resort to "jawboning." That is, he thinks Reagan should "bring in about 15 business leaders" in an effort to get them to express confidence in his program.
Hart said that should this fail, the President then would be in a good position, politically, to postpone the tax cuts and blame Wall Street for this shift in his timing of economic policy.
Asked if his criticism of the President had hurt him politically in Colorado, Hart replied: "It hasn't helped me. Yes, Reagan is very popular there."
Asked if he were going to make the presidential race in 1984, Hart indicated that he was making absolutely no move in that direction. He said he had put no organization together -- nor did he have, at this point, any plans to do so.