Reagan's branding iron putting its stamp on US
The Reagan spending-cut victory was more than a show of strength. Observers here now believe the President is on the verge of putting his mark indelibly on this country -- and in only about five months' time.
Approval of his $35 billion reduction in spending, which Mr. Reagan achieved at the end of last week, now must face the deliberations and final decision of a 150- member Senate-House conference committee.But the thrust of it is assured.
Then there will be a showdown on the President's proposal for deeply reducing taxes. Reagan may or may not get his full three-year, across-the-board tax cut. But he has the Senate behind him, and House Democrats, even while shouting their resistance, have come far in his direction.
Already the administration is claiming victory even while asserting that there is still a distance to go. "We've got 85 percent of what we set out to get," a top White House aide told the Monitor. "but we'd like to get 100 percent."
Office of Management and Budget Director David A. Stockman told reporters over breakfast June 26 that approval of this budget package by the House will have "a major favorable effect on attitudes and expectations around the country, particularly in financial markets." He said this vote would end the skepticism these markets had about the Reagan program.
As expert Washington observers see it, the President:
* Already has put his own twist on the bill. His administration is well launched on what amounts to a counterrevolution -- one that will cut deeply into social programs begun under President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
* Seems to have put together a conservative coalition in the House that, with his Republican majority in the Senate, should not only give him most of his economic program but also perhaps help him push through his effort to beef up the military.
Southern democrats, in this view, may even join the President in voting for some of his own social legislation, such as an antiabortion bill and measures backing school prayer and tax credits for private
* May be well served by his powers of persuasion -- which were so much a part of his budget victories -- in battles that lie ahead.
These observers also think the President's budget victory may presage a further drop in the inflation rate. Mr. Stockman sees inflation dropping possibly down to 8 percent next year.
Further, Stockman says there now is a good possibility that the federal budget will be balanced by the end of 1984.
"I think you can say now there is clearly a favorable momentum under way in the economy, both on inflation and on the interest rate," he says. "The major inflation rate last month, for the first time in several years, was below the double-digit level. In recent months, the wholesale price index has been coming down."
The view here -- in Congress as well as in the news media -- is of a President who knows how to get things done and i s likely to get things done in the future.