THE CANDIDATES ON THE ISSUES: #1 THE ECONOMY; CARTER
Coping with inflation Carter rejects any suggestion of mandatory wage and price controls. In 1978 he set up the Council on Wage and Price Stability and appointed an official White House "inflation fighter" to work with labor and industry to hold down the wage-price spiral.
The Carter five-point anti-inflation program includes: a balanced budget, restraints on certain types of credit, wage and price guidelines (not mandatory controls), energy conservation, and economic initiatives to encourage productivity, research and development, and savings.
Carter blames much of the inflation that has occurred during his administration on the dramatic rise in the price of imported oil. Therefore, conserving fuel, increasing domestic production, and cutting oil imports constitute a major part of his anti- inflation policy.
"My commitment," Carter has said, "is to hold firm and let our economy continue to progress." He sees the US economy beginning to recover from its slump and speaks of a tax reduction and other factors likely to stimulate it in 1981. "I don't want to revitalize, though, the inflationary spiral," he adds. Tax relief and reform
Specific Carter proposals to eliminate deductible business entertainment expenses and tax breaks on business income earned abroad were rejected by Congress. He signed bills extending tax credits for investment and reducing the capital-gains tax.
A major point of disagreement between Carter and Reagan is the windfall profits tax on the oil companies. The President considers it one of his major achievements; Reagan charges that it discourages industry from developing domestic oil reserves.
The Carter answer to tax inequities affecting married couples is to allow two-income families to take a tax deduction of 10 percent on the first $30,000 earned by the spouse with the lower income.
Carter proposes to send to Congress in 1981 legislation that would provide tax cuts for both businesses and individuals; the extent of these has not been specified, but the President indicates "at least 50 percent" would be to encourage business investments and 50 percent for tax relief for low- and middle-income families. Carter would again seek to cancel business entertainment tax breaks. Revitalizing US industry
The President announced in September an "economic revitalization program . . . creating a partnership among government, business, labor, and the public to deal with national issues that only cooperation can solve."
Carter established an Economic Revitalization Board with representatives of business, labor, and the public. The program will seek to simplify and liberalize tax-depreciation regulations for businesses, provide a tax credit to offset the increase in employers' share of the social-security tax, increase federal support for research and development, seek to increase exports, extend unemployment compensation to 52 weeks, provide an additional 10 percent investment tax credit, establish a countercyclical revenue sharing program for 1981, give new support to job training programs.
Declaring that "a healthy steel industry is vital to the nation's economy and national security," the President also announced a program to revive that particular industry which includes delay of costly air cleanup steps, tax breaks , and restoration of the so-called "trigger price mechanism" to safeguard domestic steelmakers against unfair foreign competition. Reducing unemployment
Carter says his recently announced economic renewal program will, by encouraging new industries and revitalizing old ones, "create more than a million new jobs for American workers." The plan includes $1 billion of extra investment credits to firms that provide new jobs in urban areas where the industrial base has eroded. It also would fund retraining of workers in declining industries for jobs in expanding fields.
His proposed Youth Act of 1980, passed by the House, would expend as much as youth employment and training programs and develop basic skills among disadvantaged youth. Seventy-eight percent of the funds would go directly to local school districts. Carter says the legislation would produce some 450,000 "new job opportunities" for young people.
The President agrees with the Democratic platform's call for implementation of the Humphrey- Hawkins Full Employment Act. He does not go along with the platform commitment, forced through by Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, to spend $12 billion for creating new jobs; however, the President has promised to pursue the "spirit and aims" of that plank. Balancing the federal budget
In the 1976 campaign, Carter pledged to balance the federal budget by 1981. This elusive goal was almost in sight early in 1980, but the President was stymied by the recession and the refusal of Congress to accept his $4.62 -a-barrel tax on imported oil.
Carter remains committed to the ultimate goal of a balanced budget, but this theme is not being emphasized in the current Democratic presidential campaign.
"We support the discipline of attempting to live within the limits of our anticipated revenues," says the Democratic platform. It adds: "We . . . will continue our policy of opposing drastic cuts in social programs which impose unfair burdens on the poor and the aged, on women, and on minorities."
Carter opposes a constitutional amendment requiring that the federal budget be balanced. Agricultural prosperity
Carter says the limited embargo on the grain shipments to the Soviet Union "impresses upon every Soviet citizen" that the Soviets are suffering a shortage of red meat and poultry because of the invasion Afghanistan. "I am not going to lift the farm restraints on the Soviet Union in the foreseeable future unless the Soviets make some tangible move" toward withdrawing their troops from Afghanistan. The President points out that while 17 million tons of grain were prevented from shipment to Russia, $3 million of federal assistance has been provided to compensate for farmers' losses.
The Carter administration in 1979 introduced legislation seeking "agricultural conservation initiatives" to counter the negative effects of land degradation through overuse, erosion, and conversion to nonfarm uses.
Avoiding use of the term "parity," the Democratic platform promises to "increase the level of support for farm prices . . . by increasing target prices to cover the cost of production." It also promises price supports for crops not covered by targeting, including cattle, hogs, poultry, soybeans, sugar cane, and sugar beets.
Carter pledges to protect family farms from "land speculators, giant farm combinations, and foreign buyers."