The political climate seems right for the President-elect to take decisive, perhaps emergency-type action to ease the economy. Congressional leaders of both parties are hoping for imaginative and swift presidential initiatives to curb inflation and stabilize the economy.
When asked at breakfast with reporters Dec. 17 whether Ronald Reagan faces economic problems similar to those Franklin d. Roosevelt encountered when he took office in 1932, White House chief of staffdesignate James Baker said:
"I'm not sure about the Roosevelt parallel; but we know this is a serious emergency and that the public is expecting quick action and quick results."
Said one Midwestern Republican who meets frequently with political leaders in his region: "The times are running both for and against Reagan as he takes over. The people are turning to him for answers. So, if he can come up with answers, he has a good chance of becoming an effective president, right from the outset. But if, after a while, it becomes clear that Reagan doesn't have answers, he's going to be in deep trouble with the voters."
A Far Western Democratic leader put it this way: "I've never been for Reagan. But he's my president, too. So I and other Democrats will be rooting for him to get this big job done. And he's really on the hot seat." A prominent politician in the South commented: "People I talk to are getting more and more worried about the company. Now they are hearing that another and deeper recession may be coming. So they are looking to the President to turn things around before they really get beyond control."
"I'll give him six months," said one Democratic congressman.
Added new House minority leader Robert Michel (R) of Illinois: Reagan must begin to make headway against the economic problems "by 18 months -- certainly by no later than two years."