Reaganomics: a chop, a freeze, then 'biggest-ever' budget cuts
Washington — Ronald Reagan used polished words in his first presidential news conference, but what he said sounded like a wrecking ball for some cherished programs of the former Carter administration.
The President scrapped the voluntary wage and price program by which Mr. Carter had struggled -- through the agency of the Council on Wage and Price Stability (COWPS) -- to put a lasso on inflation.
Appearing confident and brisk at the presidential podium, the new President also said he has asked key agencies of government to "freeze pending regulations for 60 days," until they can be reviewed by his administration.
Soon, the President said, he will propose budget cuts "probably bigger than anyone has ever attempted," because "the time has come for a change of direction" on the part of the US government.
"The clear message I received in the election campaign is that we must gain control of the inflationary monster," Reagan said.
"I do not intend to make wildly skyrocketing deficits and runaway government simple facts of life in this administration. But I want the American people to know that we have begun."
As an initial step in eliminating COWPS, the President said he was asking Congress to rescind the $1.5 million a year budget for wage and price programs.
Turning to foreign affairs, Reagan made the following points:
* He was "not thinking of revenge" against Iran, and he indicated that the United States will honor its obligations under the agreement that freed the 52 hostages.
Administration experts, however, are studying the agreements forged by the Carter regime to see if they are "in keeping with US laws."
* The President said he doubted that SALT II in fact could be called an arms limitations agreement, since it permits a buildup of arms on both sides.
When appropriate, he would hope to work for an agreement that would effect actual reductions of Soviet and US weaponry.
* Reagan appeared to cast doubt on the reliability of Soviet negotiating partners, when he said that he knew of no Kremlin leader who had not averred that Moscow's goal is world revolution.
On the Soviet Union and detente, Mr. Reagan noted:
"So far detente's been a one-way street that the Soviet Union has used to pursue its own aims. . . . I know of no leader of the Soviet Union since the revolution, including the present leadership, that has not more than once repeated in the various communist congresses they hold, their determination that their goal must be the promotion of world revolution and one world socialist or communist state, whichever words you want to use."