'Almost Resigned' to Record Deficit: Reagan

Associated Press

President Reagan says he almost has to be resigned to leaving office with a record of presiding over the biggest deficits in history but is still aiming to shape a permanent program of balanced budgets for the future.

In an interview in today's editions of USA Today, Reagan said: "I almost have to be" resigned to being the President whose deficits were the largest ever.

"Although if I also go out of office with having put us for the first time in 50 years on a declining deficit pattern to where we can target a date certain that the budget will be balanced and put us on a program that is of a permanent nature, so that that's the end of deficit spending," Reagan added in an incomplete sentence.

Asked if this would mitigate the high deficits, he said, "Yes."

Reagan has been working on a budget designed to reduce the federal deficit to $100 billion over a period of three years, although Administration spokesmen have conceded that it might not be possible to nail this down in the budget submitted in February.

On another subject, Reagan said some black leaders "are so committed politically to the opposite party that they don't want to hear" about the things he claims his Administration has done for black people.

"I have to come to the conclusion that maybe some of those leaders are protecting some rather good positions that they have, and they can protect them better if they can keep their constituency aggrieved and believing that they have a legitimate complaint," Reagan said.

More than a million blacks have left the unemployment rolls since he took office, Reagan said, and more blacks are attending college than ever before.

"If (blacks) ever become aware of the opportunities that are improving, they might wonder whether they need some of those organizations," Reagan concluded.

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