In short (1)

Poor President Reagan seems to get it going and coming. Usually he is criticized for sinking the budget with too much military spending. Now Congress's General Accounting Office is clucking that he appears to ''have given priority to budgetary considerations over national defense-related needs.'' The issue is the national stockpile of strategic minerals maintained to draw on in time of war. The GAO suggests the stockpile is being mismanaged in a way to add money to the Treasury from the sale of excess materials instead of using it to buy more for the stockpile.

This is a complicated area. Some argue that private enterprise would naturally stockpile enough to meet future needs if it were good business to do so. But as long as the government is in the business it should be managed to the satisfaction of the legislators who set up the program.

The question is whether the President can persuade them to spend less on defense in this instance as he has persuaded them to spend more in virtually every other one.

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